10 things to do when you get your new iPhone

You’ve got a new iPhone, you went through the initial setup process. What do you do now? While there is no right or wrong way to get to know your new smartphone, here are 10 essential things to do when you first get your iPhone.

Setup iCloud

icloud

During initial setup of your iPhone you will be asked to enable an iCloud account. If you didn’t do so at that time, you can link your Apple ID to iCloud via the setting menu. Do so by navigating to Settings > iCloud. Tap Account to create a new iCloud account. 

The iCloud menu is also where you will be able to choose what information is shared between devices via Apple’s cloud service, including options such as ContactsCalendarsPhotos, and passwords via Keychain.

Under the iCloud settings is also where you can enabled Find My iPhone, which we highly recommend. It will help you locate or track your iPhone if it is lost or stolen as well as perform a remote wipe of system data.

Speaking of data, enable iCloud system backups by navigating to Settings > iCloud Storage & Backup. From this menu you can manage iCloud storage and purchase additional space (the first 5GB is free) and choose to have your phone systematically backup important data and settings info to the cloud.

Setup email and messaging

mail-messages

Add email addresses and change settings for how the Mail app handles incoming and outgoing messages by navigating to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

From this screen, you can now alter options that change the way mail is displayed, composed, and handled in Apple’s default Mail app, as well as add additional email accounts for Gmail, Outlook, and more. You can add a Signature to be tacked onto the end of all email messages from here as well.

You can edit settings for Messages and iMessage by navigating to Settings > Messages. From here you can enable iMessage, Apple’s free messaging service, and choose which numbers and email addresses are associated with your iMessage account. Do so by navigating to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. Other options, such as group messaging and picture messaging, can be toggled under SMS/MMS.

Create a passcode and enable Touch ID

passcode-touchid

Another option that you might have skipped during initial setup, if you have decided that you would like to protect your device from easy access, you can add a passcode. For iPhone 5s owners, a further degree of security comes in the form of Touch ID.

To add a passcode, navigate to Settings > Passcode Lock (Passcode & Touch ID for iPhone 5s users). From here you can configure a 4-digit passcode lock for your phone. If you have already created one, you will be asked to enter it before proceeding.

iPhone 5s users can further enable Touch ID, which will allow you to use a fingerprint to unlock the device and authorize purchases from the app store. Check out our Touch ID tutorial for full instructions.

Setup system sounds and ringtones

sound

To choose a new ringtone and edit other system settings for sound and vibration, navigate to Settings > Sounds.

From this screen you can choose from Apple’s selection of ringtones by tapping Ringtone. Within this menu you can also choose a vibration pattern (or create your own).

You can further refine ringtones and alert sounds for individual notifications such as mail and messages as well as choose whether to play sounds when unlocking your iPhone and when typing.

If you wish to silent all sound on your device, you can enter silent mode by flipping the switch located above the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone to the red position.

Add your contacts

contacts

What good is a phone if you can’t call or message anybody? Add contacts by navigating to Phone and tapping Contacts along the bottom of the screen. Tap the ‘+’ in the upper righthand corner.

For each contact, you can add multiple numbers and email addresses as well as set specific ringtones and/or vibration patterns. Add a photo to personalize or choose a nickname for your contact, as well as other info such as address, birthday, website URL, and other notes.  You can edit the way contacts are displayed and sorted by navigating to Settings > Mail, Contacts, and Calendars.

Pro tip: change the way contact names are displayed in email and messaging.

You can choose favorite contacts for quick access by tapping Favorites at the bottom of the Phone screen. Tap the +’ to add favorites from your contact list.

If you are coming over from an Android device, it is possible to transfer your contacts in bulk via one of several available methods. See our full instructions to quickly add your existing address book to your iPhone.

Customize your homescreen

homescreen

The homescreen is where it all happens in iOS, it’s the gateway to apps, games, and services that make the iPhone one of the best mobile devices on the market. This doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own.

You can customize the iOS 7 homescreen by rearranging app icons and the dock. Long-press an icon until it begins to shake. You can now click the ‘X’ to delete it from your homescreen (some Apple apps cannot be deleted) or drag it to a new position (or second or third homescreen, for that matter). Dragging an icon on top of another creates a folder. Folder are useful for organizing similar apps and cutting down on homescreen clutter.

The dock can also be arranged to include any apps of your choose. The dock remains static no matter which homescreen you are one, so use this area for your most used apps. A total of four apps can be kept in the dock. Some good choices include Messages, Phone, Mail, and your preferred web browser. To add or remove an app from the dock, simply long-press and drag it to its new position.

Change your background

wallpaper

You customized the apps and icons on your homescreen, but how about the background? You can change the homescreen background by navigating to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness > Choose a New Wallpaper

Apple provides a number of dynamic and still backgrounds to choose from, but if you want to really stand out from the crowd, you can choose a custom photo from your library.

You can choose to use a different background for your lockscreen and homescreen, offering an even greater degree of customization.

Discover gestures and shortcuts

gestures

Lurking below the surface of the already powerful iPhone are some neat usability tricks that will make the experience even better. From multitasking to Spotlight Search, Control Center and more, knowing a few simple shortcuts and gestures will make navigating the iOS 7 interface a breeze.

Check out our full rundown of shortcuts and gestures, but here are a few highlights:

  • Slide up from the bottom of the screen to access Control Center
  • Double-tap the Home button to access multitasking
  • Swipe down from the center of the screen to open Spotlight Search

Similarly, a number of shortcuts exist for iOS 7’s software keyboard. Knowing them will have you typing messages faster than you ever thought possible. Check out our guide to the iOS 7 keyboard’s secrets for the details.

Get to know Siri

Siri

Siri is the iPhone’s personal voice-activated assistant. You can open Siri by long-pressing the home button.

Try asking Siri a question like “Where is the best pizza near me?” or to perform a task such as “Remind me to call mom later tonight.” You will be surprised at how smart she can be.

You can edit settings for Siri by navigating to Settings > General > Siri. From this screen you can choose between male and female voices for Siri, adjust settings for voice feedback, change Siri’s language, and enable the helpful Raise to Speak gesture.

Get apps and games

app-store

You have a new phone, you need some new apps and games to go with it. Thankfully you now own an iPhone and have access to the App Store, which contains over 1 million apps and games. So where to start?

The Featured tab is as good as any place. Here you will see the latest apps and games, editor picks, deals, and special collections. Its a treasure trove of software to begin filling the empty space on your home screens.

Beyond the Featured section, you can explore the Top Charts to see what free and paid apps and games are hot right now, or see popular apps for other iPhone users in your area with the Near Me tab. If you have something particular in mind, go ahead and Search. 

Downloaded apps and games will be synced to your Apple ID and available across all devices that support them. If you pay for an app and later delete it, you can download it again at any time at no extra charge.