Want to know how to quickly and easily set up your new Android phone for the first time? Everything you need, from connecting to your Wi-Fi to creating a Google account, is right here.
Chances are if you’re finally making a jump from a bog-standard feature phone, or fed up with your knackered old iPhone, then you’ve got yourself a sparkly new Android mobile. You may not be familiar with Android, but we’ve got all the information you need right here to get your new phone up and running. And if you’re still asking yourself, ‘What is Android?’ then this article should help explain what’s what.
1. Switching on your device
Whether you’re unboxing your phone for the first time or you’ve just got your hands on a freshly reset hand-me-down from a friend or family member, it’s likely that your phone will already have a bit of charge. We recommend inserting your SIM card and charging your phone to full, but it’s not essential before proceeding.
2. Setting your language
The order of setup on your Android phone can differ from one manufacturer to the next, but in most cases the first screen you’ll see will be the language selection screen. This defines the language of your phone, from menus to settings to applications. Should you choose the wrong language, or want to change it at a later date, you’ll be able to do so from your phone’s Settings menu, usually under ‘Language and Input’
3. Adding a WiFi network
You can’t completely setup an Android handset without an active internet connection (although you are given the option to skip), which is why the next step on most devices is connecting your handset to your home’s WiFi network. Your phone will display every available network, simply look for your home network, tap it, input your WiFi password using the on-screen keyboard and press ‘Connect’. You can also tick the ‘Show password’ text box if you need to see what you’re typing.
4. Got Google?
Perhaps the most important component of setting up any Android device is your Google account. Google accounts serve as your passport to downloading apps (applications) from the Google Play Store, but even more importantly let you synchronise and backup your phone’s data.
Whether you’re taking pictures, making calendar entries, creating a bookmark in your web browser or adding a contact to your address book, all of these elements can be synced to your Google account.
Syncing lets you access content from any computer with an internet connection or push your content onto a new smartphone when you come to upgrade.
5. Google services
Once you’ve created or entered your Google account details and hit ‘OK’, your phone will offer you a set of tick boxes. The first under ‘backup & restore’ will ensure your phone’s features and apps are backed up on Google’s servers, giving you the previously mentioned ability to restore your handset should something go wrong, or you change phones down the line.
The first tick box in the ‘location’ section lets Google apps (and Google) use the location of your phone to better track location-based activities, whether that’s when using your phone as a satnav, or finding somewhere nice to eat. The second tick box in this section uses WiFi information to improve accuracy in apps like Google Maps.
Provided that all has gone to plan, you should for the first time see what’s called a home screen – the main part of your phone’s interface. Swiping around and tapping the menu icon will (on most devices) cue overlays explaining what different elements of the user interface are and how to best use them. From here you can tap and hold on a blank part of a home screen to change wallpapers (the background images on your device) or press and hold on applications to move or remove them.
7. Google Now
A nifty service called ‘Google Now’ can be accessed by swiping up from the home button on most Android phones, and this serves as a one-stop hub for upcoming calendar entries, favourite web pages, weather and sporting information and so on. Basically, it’s a collection of info which Google thinks you might care about, based on your interests and browsing habits
To set it up, access Google Now as we just mentioned and follow the steps until you’re given the option to hit ‘I’m In’.
8. Multiple users
If you have an Android Lollipop (version 5) phone, you can set up more than one user on your new phone or tablet. This is handy if you don’t want the other users prying into your emails, photos and so on.
To set this up, just drag down the notifications bar with two fingers and you’ll see the users icon at the top. It’s basically a blue circle with a head and shoulders inside. Tap this and you’ll have the ability to add a new user or a guest user (good if a friend is temporarily borrowing your device).
Each user can then set their own themes and arrange their desktops however they see fit, without worrying about others coming along and messing it all up (set your own password just to be sure).
For more information on the great features found in Android Lollipop, check out our nifty tips and tricks guide.
The setup process can differ a lot from one device to the next. The steps we’ve just described might show up on your phone in a slightly different order and depending on your device, you might find extra screens asking for your approval of licence agreements, adding additional account information for things like Facebook and receiving automated tours of additional features.
Hopefully, you now have a shiny new Android phones that completely set up and raring to go. If you have any problems or questions drop us a line down below, otherwise, we’d suggest heading to the Google Play Store where you’ll be able to browse from a catalogue of over one million apps, which you can download and use on your Android device.
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