You got a new iPhone! Maybe it's a thumbprint-reading 5S or a pastel rainbow 5C. 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.
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 to 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 zeroonce, when you first get it, to calibrate the battery. From there on out try to keep it north of 50 percent 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 lamest way to murder your battery is by letting it get too warm. So don't like, leave it near the stove, you dingus.
A Quick iPhone Overview
The iPhone 5S and 5C's buttons, cameras, and knobs will be familiar to anyone who's owned—or seen—an iPhone in the last few years, but 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).
There are a couple of changes from previous models, though. Most of them are as obvious as they are easy to get used to. The 5C, for instance, is plastic (in case you hadn't noticed), and we all know about the Touch ID thumbprint scanner hiding inside the 5S's home button. But otherwise, both are still the same friendly iPhone with the same friendly iPhone layout.
The biggest change you'll get hit in the face with (if you haven't updated already) is the flashy new digs of iOS 7, 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 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 always change any of it later in Settings.
Then comes the fun part; filling up your phone with all your contacts, email, movies, apps, and more. You've got two choices here.
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 (we'll get back to that cable in a bit), 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 16GB 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.
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.
Load Up on Apps
You can download apps either directly from your iPhone (the App Store comes preloaded), or from iTunes. For a quick rundown of all the apps you need for iPhone, head over to our always-updated list of the best iPhone apps. And while your iPhone comes with plenty of pre-loaded apps, you're probably better off going with these alternatives instead.
Your Old Accessories
We're at the point where Apple's new Lightning adapters are pretty 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.
Your New Accessories
Who needs cables when you've got AirPlay anyway? AirPlay lets you wirelessly stream (read: no adapter needed!) your music and movies from your phone or tablet to speakers, or your TV if you have an AppleTV. It's great. And you should at least check out the Apple TV—the media streamer, not the still-not-a-thing HD TV—since it's going to probably be a big part of Apple's future.
Apple's getting into the case game itself this time around, so if you're into coddling your phone and defending it from every nick and scratch, you've got some options. You can outfit your iPhone 5C with a hideous neon-toddler-cheese-grater-thing, but you should probably just wait for a third party option if you really, really need a case for it. Your iPhone 5S, on the other hand, has some nice leather case options for $40 a pop. Just beware that this is real leather, designed to get scuffed up and distressed. Not for the OCD.
The iPhone 5 comes with new EarPod headphones, but they still aren't very good. Instead of getting by with those, you should at least think about getting a decent pair of headphones. We've got recommendations for the best bluetooth, the best noise canceling, and the best not-that-expensive ones out there.
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.
First, remove your SIM card. If you've got a Verizon or Sprint iPhone, you should be able to deactivate your phone through the carrier website, or you can call them and have it done over the phone. 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 even after you have erased and started using a new phone.
Lastly, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. There you can erase all of your content, and safely sell your device, or give it to your mom, without worrying about someone going through your messages.
Get the Most Out of iOS 7
Remember, you didn't just buy an iPhone, you bought Apple's fancy new operating system.
iOS 7 isn't just pretty, it's functional too, and with your brand new iPhone, you'll be getting all the best features it has to offer. But there a few things to worth tinkering with to fix. It's pretty easy to trick iOS 7 into not showing you those pesky, stupid default apps like Stocks, for instance. And if you don't want creeps to get past your lockscreen and into your photo, you might want to turn off Control Center on the lockscreen too.
For the most part though, iOS 7 is pretty explanatory. Some of the old functions are in new places, but they aren't hidden and you'll get used to it eventually. But if you really want to dig in and customize a little bit, there is plenty to do.
So that's about it! Your iPhone is fully set up, loaded up with all your favorite stuff, ready to download more with its blazing LTE connectivity. And if there are any helpful hints you've come across that we missed here, let us know!
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