How to Set up Your New iPhone the Right Way


iphone set up hello

So you’ve just got your new iPhone. Maybe it’s your first iPhone. In that case, welcome to the family, it’s going to be great (for the most part). If you’re new to this whole thing, you might be wondering how exactly to get started. Apple has a long and detailed setup wizard but they don’t provide important information or context. But that’s why we’re here.

Read on as we’ll help you on every step along the way, advising you on what to do and what not to.

How to Set Up Your New iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE

Note: You’ll need to insert a SIM card in the iPhone to activate it.

1. Turn on, Press The Home Button

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Once you’ve got your iPhone, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button. You’ll find it on the top/side depending on your model. Then you’ll be greeted with a simple “Hello” screen. Press the “Home” button to start the setup.

2. Set Language and Region

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Firstly, you’ll need to select your language and country from a long list. If you bought your device in your country, the presets here won’t need editing and you can just tap on “Next” to move on.

3. Connect to Wi-Fi

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From this page, you’ll be able to select a primary Wi-Fi network to connect your iPhone. Select the network and then enter the password to get started.

Should you?: This isn’t compulsory but you probably should connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network to make the rest of the setup process simpler.

No Wi-Fi Network? If you aren’t around a Wi-Fi network and your data isn’t working, but you want to enable the device, swipe down and tap on the option for using iTunes. Then connect your device to a computer and use iTunes to activate and sync the device (only do this if you’re going to sync your iPhone with this computer from now on).

4. Enable Location Services

Location Services allows apps like Maps to give you directions and for Find My iPhone to well, find your iPhone. It’s Apple’s name for GPS access (for the OS and apps). You can tap on “Enable Location Services” to enable it or “Disable Location Services” if you don’t.

Should you?: Yes. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to deny GPS access to apps when you first use them. And you can reverse the decision later from Settings as well. Location Services makes your life easier.

5. Activate iPhone

Once the Wi-Fi network is enabled, Apple will try to actually activate your iPhone. Make sure the SIM is inserted properly.

You’ll see the phone number on the screen. If it’s your number then tap “Next”. On the next screen, type the billing zip code and the last 4 digits of your social security number. This step is for US only.

6. Touch ID and Passcode

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You’re probably setting up an iPhone that has a built-in Touch ID sensor. This is where you’ll be able to scan a finger to enable unlocking your phone using your finger and for Apple Pay. Once you’ve done that, you’ll also need to create a 6 digit passcode that works as a backup to the Touch ID scan.

Should you?: Yes! Of course. If you’re not too keep on the fingerprint then you at least should create a strong passcode. Tap on “Passcode Options” for even stronger passcode options.

7. Setting It Up

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The next screen is called “Apps and Data”. From here you have to decide what state you want your iPhone to be.

Restore for iCloud Backup lets you restore a backup of your data and apps from a previous iCloud Backup (if you’ve had any).

Restore from iTunes Backup lets you restore a device from the iTunes backup you last made on your computer. For this, you will need to attach your iPhone to the computer using the Lightning cable.

Set Up As New iPhone lets you start with a brand new, clean iPhone. If this is your first iPhone, this is what you should do.

Move Data from Android lets you transfer things like contacts and photos from your Android phone. For this, you’ll need to install the Move to iOS app on Android and pair both devices. The transfer happens wirelessly. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this route because the Android app is pretty buggy and the process for transferring is annoyingly slow. It’s better to setup the iPhone as new and use third party utilities to transfer the important data.

8. Create Apple ID

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From this screen, you can either sign in with your Apple ID or create a new one if this is your first time in the Apple ecosystem. Creating an ID is pretty simple. You’ll need to enter your birthday, name and email account.

Should you?: Yes. Doing anything important, like installing apps or making FaceTime call requires an Apple ID.

9. Add a Credit or Debit Card

This screen allows you to add a credit/debit card and link it to your Apple ID. You can skip this process by tapping the “Set Up Later in Wallet” option. If you’re in a supported region, you’ll also be asked to verify the card to add it for Apple Pay.

Should you?: Yes, if you plan on purchasing apps, music from iTunes or using Apple Pay in your area.

10. Enable iCloud

From this screen, you can select to either use iCloud or not. iCloud is not the same as Apple ID. iCloud is Apple’s own online sync/backup service. It lets you do things like backup your photos, use data sync for apps like Pages and Notes, back up your phone over the internet, use Apple Music and more. It also lets you use iCloud Drive for storing all sorts of files (it’s similar to Dropbox).

Should you?: Yes. If you lead an active internet life, you’ll need to enable iCloud.

11. Enable iCloud Keychain

This step only shows up if you’ve ever enabled iCloud Keychain on another device using the same ID (from your Mac, for example). iCloud Keychain lets you share login details between different devices securely. If you have a Keychain, you can either approve from antlers device (a popup will show up) or enter your security code.

If you don’t want to enable and use this feature, tap “Don’t Restore Passwords”.

Should you?: Probably not. iCloud Keychain is a very high maintenance feature (as a security feature should be). But its elusiveness makes it hard to manage this feature between multiple devices. I would suggest you use a third party tool like LastPass or 1Password to store and sync secure information like logins and credit card details.

12. Enable Siri

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From this page, you’ll be able to enable Apple’s personal assistant, Siri. If you’re using an iPhone 6s or higher, you’ll also be able to set up “Hey Siri” that lets you use the feature without even touching the iPhone.

Tap on “Set up Siri” to get started or “Turn on Siri Later” to skip.

Should you?: Yes. Siri is nowhere as awesome as Google’s counterpart but it’s really useful for doing simple things like calling people, sending a message or just playing some music.

13. Share Diagnostic Information

This screen asks if you’re willing to share diagnostic information to Apple. It’s done securely of course and only happens when there’s a problem with the device – unexpected crashes for example. This is totally optional.

14. Enable Display Zoom

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Display Zoom is a feature available on iPhone 6 and up. Basically, using this feature, iOS magnifies everything on the screen, making text and UI elements bigger, easier to read. So on an iPhone 6s Plus screen you see the information you could on an iPhone 6. And on iPhone 6, the equivalent on iPhone SE.

Tap on the “Zoomed” button to see how it would look and enable it.

Should you?: If you have issues with reading text on screen, or weak vision then yes, enable it.

15. Configure the New Home Button

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This is the last step of the process and only shows up if you have an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. This is to do with the new, not-really-a-button capacitive Home button in the new iPhone.

As this is really a capacitive button, this screen lets you customize the feedback. Basically, how do you want the Home button to feel. 1 means you’ll get a light feedback from the Taptic engine. 2 is medium (the default and the “normal”). 3 means a high vibration feedback.

That’s It, You’re In

You survived the iPhone’s onboarding process and your reward is staring you, right in your face. You’ll see the Home screen now and this is where the fun starts. Explore the built-in apps, download awesome new apps from the App Store, anything you want.

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