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It’s Christmas! Did you get a brand new Android phone or tablet? You’ll need to know the basics of getting started with your new device and finding your way around it.
Please note that there are many different skins for Android devices, so it’s impossible to give very specific instructions. However, the devices could be close enough to at least offer the same features in roughly the same locations.
Activate SIM Card
Congratulations! You’ve unpacked your brand new device, but now what? If your Android device comes with 3G, 4G, or LTE connectivity (in other words, not a WiFi-only model), then you’ll need to take the included SIM card and follow the instructions to activate it. This usually consists of calling the carrier and entering in some information into an automatic system. If you didn’t get a SIM, you should get one soon, but it’s not critical for setting up your device as long as you have WiFi available.
If you happen to have a CDMA device, you’ll need to follow the respective instructions to activate your device. This is usually Verizon or Sprint, but that’s not always the case as a few of their devices even offer SIM card support now.
Most devices are usually halfway charged when you first open it, so it doesn’t hurt the battery’s capacity by storing a full charge for a long period of time. Most manufacturers recommend charging your device fully as soon as you get it out of the box, though you can use it while it’s charging.
Go ahead and turn on your device, and let it boot up. Since it’s the first time it’s starting, it might take a while as it creates some system files. Eventually, you should reach the setup wizard. Among little things like choosing a language and entering your name, you’ll need to sign into your Google account or create one. This is necessary to gain access to the Play Store, which is where you get all of your apps.
Depending on the manufacturer, there may be a couple other steps as well. For example, Samsung asks you to create an account with them so that you have access to their own app store which includes updates for various bundled apps on the device. In any case, the entire process should take 5-10 minutes tops, depending on whether you have to create new accounts or just log into existing ones.
Customize Your Home Screen
Now that you’re ready to use your device, it’s time to take advantage of one of Android’s strengths: customization. You can do various things to customize your home screen, such as change the wallpaper, change the icons on the screen, and add widgets.
To add icons to the screen, open the app drawer, then mentally pick an app that you want to put on your home screen. Now put your finger on the icon for that app and hold it, and then rest of the app drawer will disappear and let you place the icon wherever you want on the home screen.
To change the wallpaper or add widgets, just put your finger down in an empty area on your home screen and hold it there for a second or two. Then you should see an option to change your wallpaper or manage widgets. Changing your wallpaper and adding widgets should be straightforward from there.
Of course, you can also replace the launcher (the software that provides you homescreens) entirely to give you an entirely different experience, but that’s something to keep in mind for later consideration. If this seems a bit intimidating, try some of these simplified launchers instead.
Battery Management and Toggles
Lastly, before you go installing all your apps, there’s one more thing you need to keep in mind: battery management. This means that you should try to turn off certain hardware features when you don’t need them. This can usually be done in the quick toggles that you find when pulling down from the notification bar, or within the Settings app.
For example, it’s good to have WiFi on when you have a WiFi network to connect to — it’s more energy efficient than using mobile data. However, it’s better to turn off WiFi when you’re unable to connect to a WiFi network, as otherwise you’ll be using energy for mobile data and searching for WiFi networks.
If you know there isn’t one you can connect to, it’s better to turn it off so it stops searching for networks.
It’s also a good idea to go into the WiFi advanced settings menu (by going into the WiFi settings, tapping on the three dots in the top right corner, and choosing Advanced) and disable the ability for your device to search for networks even when WiFi is turned off.
It’s supposed to help make your location more precise, but the whole point of disabling WiFi is to turn it off, right?
The same can be done for Bluetooth, as keeping Bluetooth enabled will suck up more juice as it keeps looking for known devices to connect to. If you’re not around any of them or don’t have them turned on and don’t plan to, then disabling Bluetooth saves power.
Thankfully, Bluetooth doesn’t have a hidden setting you need to find like WiFi does.
Finally, location services on your device also take up a lot of power, especially when you use GPS functionality. If you don’t require such a precise location, you can change the location mode to battery-saving so it’ll only use mobile towers to approximate your location. Alternatively, you can disable location services entirely as well if you just don’t need them at all.
Enjoy Your New Android Device!
An Android device is a great thing to use, and it can be a powerful and long-lasting tool if you know how to use it. The advice above should get you going to the point where all you need are more apps. Once you have all the apps you want, you’ll be a pro in no time!
What other tips would you suggest for people when they first receive their device?
Let us know in the comments!