You’ve just lifted your new Android device from its packaging, and you are beaming. Perhaps your hands shiver with anticipation. Your mouth is dry and your pupils are dilated.
Okay, maybe you’re not that excited, but a new phone is certainly cause for celebration.
What comes next though?
The customization that makes Android so adaptable and powerful is the same thing that can make it a little intimidating at the beginning. Because so much customization is possible, it’s hard to know where to start! Fortunately, we have a list of the first things every Android owner should do with their phone as soon as they take it out of the box. These little exercises will ensure that you are getting the most out of your device from Day One.
Check Out Your Device
First of all, take a moment to really appreciate what you’re holding in your hands. You are now the casual owner of a portable device so staggeringly futuristic that no science fiction writers saw it coming. If you touch this thing’s screen in the right places, pizza will arrive at your front door. Or a man in Morocco will start talking to you. Or it will play videos of cats jumping into cardboard boxes. You are the all-powerful God of this tiny screen.
However, don’t let all this power go to your head. You need to keep your composure long enough to make sure your device came with all the correct parts.
Go through all of your phone’s packaging and take stock of everything you own. Review any warranty information, and take note of any extras that came with your device. Some Android phones come with a disassembly tool, so be sure not to throw that out in case you ever want to change the battery (if you have one of the few phones with a removable one) or install a new SIM card. You probably also got a micro-USB charger and maybe even a nifty set of earbuds.
Prep For Data Downloading
Go ahead and plug the phone in to get that battery charging. You’re going to be playing with your new toy for the next couple of hours, and you don’t want it dying on you right in the middle of a crucial process.
Also, you’ll probably want to connect to a wireless network if one is available. After all, not all of us have unlimited data, and you’re almost certainly going to be downloading a ton of data during your first day with your phone. It might be a good idea not to start eating into your limited mobile data right away.
Log Into Google and Let the Magic Flow
When you turn on your device for the first time, a walkthrough will guide you through the setup process. One of the first things it will ask you to do is log into your Google account.
You can skip this step if you want, but we seriously don’t recommend it. Logging into Google connects your device with a ton of other services, and it’s the first step you will take toward personalizing your phone. Activating this account will set up your email, calendar, and contacts list automatically, and it will prepare your phone to synchronize your identity across devices. It’s also required for the Play store.
If you’ve owned an Android device before, then you’re about to witness some magic. After you log into your Google account, your phone will connect with the Google Play Store and attempt to download all the apps you are accustomed to using. Before your very eyes, this stock device will transform into a faster, sleeker version of your old phone.
If you got your phone through a major carrier, odds are it came with some apps on it that you didn’t ask for and can’t get rid of (unless you decide to root). These apps take up space and can slow your phone down. To maximize your phone’s capabilities, you may want to ditch this stuff.
When you are going through your device’s initial setup, it may ask you to register for additional malware protection or other extra services. Feel free to skip these offers. You really shouldn’t have to sign up for anything beyond your Google Account during setup.
Once your phone is up and running, go to the Apps menu under your Settings and locate any apps that came pre-loaded on your phone. You might not be able to uninstall them, but you can disable them and uninstall any updates, which will keep the space they occupy to a minimum. A word of caution, if this is your very first Android device, you may not be completely familiar with all the pre-installed apps and might want to keep them around until you are sure you won’t need them, that they won’t break a key part of your phone’s experience, or until you’ve found suitable alternatives in the Play store.
Set Up Your Space
Now, just because your phone is installing all your old apps, it doesn’t mean you have to keep doing things the same way. Getting a new device is an excellent opportunity to kick some bad habits and start making some better life decisions. Or at least some better app decisions.
Still using Apex or Nova Launcher? That’s endearingly 2012 of you, but these days Google Now is pretty hard to beat. It helps along voice commands, which are better than they’ve ever been, and it regularly provides you with “cards” that anticipate your searches and interests. Pretty spiffy. Also, instead of using your phone’s default browser, try giving Chrome a spin. It links up with any other devices you use Chrome on, and it’s lightning fast.
If you’re really feeling adventurous, a lot of users also like to grab a custom keyboard like Swiftkey or Swype. These can pay attention to your typing habits and make texting a breeze.
It’s also important to remember that just because your apps automatically re-installed themselves, it doesn’t mean you’re done. You’ll still need to sign into Facebook, Whatsup, Netflix, and whatever other services you have.
Be sure to check out some of the best apps and games that we recommend giving a try now that you have your new phone:
Secure Your Device
Your phone contains a lot of sensitive information, especially if you use it for banking or shopping or pizza delivery. For that reason, it’s important that you set up some solid security measures to protect your privacy and identity.
Access your phone’s security settings, and setup a PIN or pattern lock. This can be a little irksome, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. A number of phones these days also come equipped with fingerprint scanners, which are a bit more convenient than traditional pins, patterns, and passwords.
See if your device has Smart Lock capabilities. Smart Lock is a pretty cool feature that lets your phone bypass the lock screen in certain situations. For instance, you can set up your phone to remain unlocked if it’s in the vicinity of a particular Bluetooth device, like your car stereo. It may also be able to sense whether it has been set down or passed to a new user since the last time it was unlocked.
Make sure everything is up to date!
There’s a pretty big chance that your device might have a few updates waiting for you. Sometimes they will be minor fixes or speed improvements, sometimes whole new versions of Android – especially if your new phone has been on the market for a little while. You can check for the latest software updates by going to Settings > About Phone > System Updates.
Get to Know Your Device
Take the time to investigate your phone’s settings. Sift through the menus and submenus, and make mental notes about where various features reside. This can save a lot of time later on, and you might discover some things about your new device that weren’t available on your old one.
The Ancient Greeks (and also the Oracle from the Matrix) had a saying: “Know thyself.” Since you put so much personal information on your phone, and since you will probably use it for so much of your interpersonal communications, your phone is a little bit like an extension of yourself. Don’t let it be a stranger!
Think of setting up a new phone like you would moving into a new place. Don’t just leave those rooms empty. Move in your old familiar furniture and hang a few new pictures. Spruce the place up, and give it a thorough cleaning. After all, you’re going to be living here for a while.
Setting up an Android device might seem overwhelming, but it can be nice to settle in and enjoy the process. What do you do first when you get a new phone? Did we miss anything crucial? Let us know in the comments!