How to Set Up Your New iPhone the Right Way

By Gizmodo on at

You got a new iPhone! Maybe it's a slightly bigger iPhone 6 or a bigger-still 6 Plus. Either way, what now? Here's what you need to get started with your new iPhone, whether you're a first-timer or an iOS pro.

Charging Tip

As with any smartphone, the iPhone's weakest link is its battery. Treating your Li-ion with respect will not only extend the life and usefulness of your new phone, but also boost its resale value — just in case you decide to dump it back on the market prematurely.

There are a couple of different ways to give your battery the respect it deserves, but it boils down to three main points:

  • Let your phone get all the way to zero once, when you first get it, to calibrate the battery. From there on out try to keep it north of 50 per cent as much as possible.
  • Top it off whenever you can. Li-ion batteries do well with little bursts of charge now and then, so don't be afraid to charge in fits and starts whenever you get the chance.
  • Don't let it get too hot. The crappest way to murder your battery is by letting it get too warm. So don't like, leave it near the stove, duh.

How to Set Up Your New iPhone the Right Way

A Quick iPhone 6 Overview

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus buttons, cameras, and layout will be pretty familiar to anyone who's owned — or simply held — an iPhone in the last few years. Just so you can be better acquainted with your new pocket buddy, here's a quick look at where everything is (and what everything does).

How to Set Up Your New iPhone the Right Way

There are a couple of changes from previous models, though. First and foremost, the power button migrates from its iPhone-traditional top-right corner down to the side of the phone. And then, of course, no matter which iPhone you got, it's going to be bigger than previous models.

The biggest change you'll get hit in the face with (if you haven't updated already) is the flashy new digs of iOS 8, but more on that a little later.

Start Up, Sync Up

The easiest part of owning an iPhone is activating it. But making it actually do what you want can be a little trickier.

The first thing you'll see when you start your iPhone will be a Setup Assistant, which walks you through the process of making your iPhone yours. That's where you'll indicate your preferred Wi-Fi network, enter or create your Apple ID, set up iCloud, and decide whether you want to activate Find My Phone (yes) or Location Services (probably). Don't sweat this part; you can go back into Settings and adjust your choices whenever you want.

Then comes the fun part: filling up your phone with all your contacts, email, movies, apps, and more. You've got two choices here.

How to Set Up Your New iPhone the Right Way

The Old-Fashioned Way: If you've already got an iPhone — or another Apple device like an iPad or iPod — all of your settings and preferences, contacts, apps, and content are already stored on iTunes on your desktop. Easy! So pop over and download the latest version of iTunes if you don't already have it. Then, connect your phone to your computer with the Lightning cable that came with it, and start syncing.

The New-Fangled Way: You can also simply sync up your iPhone over iCloud. During setup, you'll need to connect to Wi-Fi, and select whether you want to set up as a new device, restore from an iCloud backup, or restore from an iTunes backup. Whatever you choose, you simply enter your Apple ID login information (you have to pick just one if you have multiple, though you can change it later). If you're restoring from a backup, your phone will restart, and all of your previous settings will be in place.

If you haven't used iTunes before, you'll want to add your media to it: that's a simple click and drag operation, or you can assimilate entire folders quickly by going to File > Add to Library.

Remember, you probably don't need all of your stuff, since you can listen to most music through services like Rdio or Spotify (subscription required), and your phone can access a lot of videos or other docs that live on your hard drive through iCloud, Dropbox, SkyDrive, and other cloud services. It's good to save as much storage space as you can, especially if you have a 16 GB model; you'll find that you fill up on apps pretty quickly.

If you're already set up with iTunes, note that it will sync everything in your account to your phone by default. To be more selective, you can switch over to manual mode by clicking on the iPhone icon that shows up in the upper righthand corner of your screen. Scroll down to the bottom of the options page, and select Sync only checked songs and videos.

How to Set Up Your New iPhone the Right Way

This is especially useful for music if you've got a massive music library, and the controls are granular enough that you can include (or exclude) specific artists, genres, albums, or playlists. In other words, you don't have to click through song by song. To save space on videos, you can opt for the much smaller standard definition versions of files, rather than their hefty HD counterparts.

If you're switching to an iPhone from Android, you can check our our guide to making the switch and getting your contact info, pictures, movies, and other data from your old phone or Google account onto your iPhone.

Load Up on Apps

How to Set Up Your New iPhone the Right Way

You can download apps either directly from your iPhone (the App Store comes preloaded), or from iTunes. Every week, we round up the best new or newly updated apps on the App Store — there's plenty of good stuff in there, and you can bet that the app developers of the world are revamping their offerings for iOS 8. And while your iPhone comes with plenty of pre-loaded apps, you're probably better off going with these non-Apple alternatives instead.

Your Old Accessories

We're at the point where Apple's new Lightning adapters are essentially ubiquitous, but if it's a been a while since you've updated, you've probably got some 30-pin cables around. Don't worry! There are adapters, of course. Really expensive ones. But you can save some cash by buying the non-stupidly-expensive-Apple versions.

Wiping Your Old Phone

This one's important. If you are selling your old phone, you need to wipe its data. And not just that. If you are selling an iPhone, you've got to make sure that iMessages stop getting sent to that phone. Here's how you do that.

How to Set Up Your New iPhone the Right Way

First, remove your SIM card. This next step is a big one: Go to Settings > Messages > iMessage and turn off iMessage. This will stop your messages from going to your old phone, which, puzzlingly, can still happen even after you've erased and deactivated that phone.

Lastly, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. There you can erase everything on your phone, and safely sell your device, or give it to someone as a hand-me-down, without worrying about them going through your messages.

Get the Most Out of iOS 8

Remember, you didn't just buy an iPhone, you bought Apple's fancy new operating system.

iOS 8 holds some pretty big changes compared to iOS 7. For the first time, Apple is letting third-party apps offer widgets, meaning your apps can now send updates to your notification bar. Here's everything you'll need to know about getting your widgets running on your iPhone.

In fact, that's just one of a whole bunch of new capabilities for iOS 8. Here's a rundown of the 25 best capabilities Apple added with this new software. And if you really want to go deep inside iOS 8, here are some hidden capabilities of the brand-new OS.

So that's about it! Your iPhone is fully set up, loaded up with all your favourite stuff, ready to fill its bigger (perhaps huge-er) screen with even more goodness. And if there are any helpful hints you've come across that we missed here, let us know below!