So you just got a new iPhone and have no idea where to start? Don’t feel intimidated, Apple makes the process super easy. Just in case you need it, here is a complete guide to your iPhone’s initial setup.
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How to setup an iPhone

iphone-reboot

So you just got a new iPhone and have no idea where to start? Don’t feel intimidated, Apple makes the process super easy. Just in case you need it, here is a complete guide to your iPhone’s initial setup, including restoring from iCloud and iTunes backup files. We have even thrown in a few tips and tricks to get you started!

Getting Started

Before powering on your iPhone, it is helpful to have the following items. While not required, they can make setting up the device for the first time a much easier process.

You will need:

  • the latest version of iTunes for Mac or PC
  • a Lightning to USB cable (or 30-pin to USB cable for older iPhone models)
  • an Apple ID (and password)
  • WiFi connectivity
  • your old device (if transferring contacts and data)

How to setup as new iPhone

iphone-hello

Your iPhone will present a number of configuration options to you as part of the standard setup process that launches the first time the device is powered on (this configuration process will also be presented should you restart the phone after performing a factory reset). The walkthrough is relatively straight forward, but we’ll cover it in a little more detail to help clarify some of the options presented.

Note: if you are not setting up the device for the first time or have a backup from an older iPhone or iPad, some steps will be different. See subsequent sections in this tutorial for more details.

  1. After powering on, enter device setup by sliding your finger across the screen.
  2. Choose your device’s language. This default language will determine what language will be used in the system’s various apps, menus, and dialogs. [Note: choices made during initial setup are not permanent. Most can be changed easily via the iPhone Settings menu at a later time.]
  3. Select your country or region.
  4. Join your local WiFi network. Choose the name of the network you wish to join and enter the password. You do not need to join a WiFi network at this time, opting instead to use your phone’s cellular connection. WiFi, however, is recommended if you plan on restoring the device from an iCloud backup due to the large download size. Network settings can be adjusted after setup.
  5. Choose whether or not to enable Location Services by default. Location Services are important in the operation of certain apps like Maps, but opting in agrees to share certain information about your whereabout with Apple. Some consider such tracking a privacy issue and may wish to disable this option.
  6. Select Set up as New iPhone on the next screen. [skip this step and go to How to restore from iCloud backup or How to restore from iTunes backup if you wish to carry over settings and apps from an old device.]
  7. Sign in with your Apple ID or create a new one. If you have an iTunes account, you have an Apple ID. On the next screen you will be asked to enter the associated email address and password. Alternatively, you can skip this step entirely. The Apple ID is associated with your device for iCloud, messaging, authorization, and more. You can choose Use different Apple IDs for iCloud and iTunes if you wish to connect a separate iTunes account.
  8. You will be asked to agree to Apple’s Terms & Conditions. Do so, and confirm when asked a second time.
  9. Choose whether or not to sync the device with iCloud. Doing so will create share certain content and data with other devices synced to the same account, including photos, contacts, and calendars.
  10. Enable Find My iPhone. This service will help locate your device should it be stolen or lost. Note: Location Services and iCloud access will need to be enabled for Find My iPhone to work.
  11. Now you will be asked to choose which phone numbers and email addresses will be linked to your Apple ID. This will enable iMessage forwarding and FaceTime via the selected numbers and addresses.
  12. Choose whether or not to require a 4-digit passcode to unlock your phone, and create it here. iPhone 5s owners can additionally enable Touch ID to unlock their phone and authorize iTunes purchases via the phone’s built-in fingerprint scanner.
  13. Enable or disable Siri. Even if you don’t use the service frequently, it can’t hurt to have it turned on.
  14. Choose if you would like to allow your device to send diagnostic information to Apple. As with Location Services, this will send Apple information about your usage habits and other diagnostics. If privacy is a concern, be sure to read Apple’s policy, conveniently linked on the same screen.
  15. Tap Get Started on the following screen.
  16. Enjoy your new iPhone!

How to restore a new iPhone with iCloud backup

icloud-backup

If you wish to restore your device from an existing iCloud backup, it is easy to do so as part of your new iPhone’s main setup dialog. The instructions follow.

  1. Complete steps 1-5 in the above section How to setup as new iPhone.
  2. Tap Restore from iCloud Backup and enter your Apple ID credentials.
  3. You will be asked to agree to Apple’s Terms & Conditions. Do so, and confirm when asked a second time.
  4. You will be presented with a list of available iCloud backups. Choose the backup you wish to restore from.
  5. iCloud will begin downloading old devices settings to your new iPhone. This could take a while for apps and other media files, but the device should be accessible during this period.
  6. Enjoy your new iPhone!

How to restore new iPhone with iTunes backup

If you have no saved iCloud backups but have recently backed up an older device via iTunes, you can restore settings, data, and apps by connecting to you computer and choosing this option during initial setup. Here’s how:

  1. Complete steps 1-5 in the above section How to setup as new iPhone.
  2. Tap Restore from iTunes Backup.
  3. You will be asked to agree to Apple’s Terms & Conditions. Do so, and confirm when asked a second time.
  4. You will be asked to connect your phone to iTunes via your Lightning-to-USB (or 30-pin-to-USB for older models) cable if you haven’t already done so.
  5. Follow the walkthrough in iTunes to locate your most recent backup and load it to your device. This process could take a few minutes.
  6. Enjoy your new iPhone!

Android user? Transfer your existing contacts to your new device

android-to-iphone

The above setup process will get you started if you are a current iOS user or new to smartphones, but for those coming from Android the steps above will not address the transfer of existing contacts and data. While the process is not straightforward, it is easily accomplished via one of several available methods. See our full tutorial for instructions on transferring your existing Android address book to your new iPhone.

Additional Tips

  • When powering on your phone for the first time, it is smart to “train” the battery by running it through a complete power cycle. Allow the device’s battery to drain all the way to 0% before recharging it to 100% capacity. Doing so is known to improve battery life and longevity.
  • Coming from a Google ecosystem and want to get the most out of your iPhone? Check out our guide to Google apps for iOS.
  • iOS 7 contains many shortcuts and gestures that greatly improve the user experience. See our guide to get you started.
  • The iOS keyboard contains its own selection of shortcuts and secrets. Check those out too.

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