When you get a new iPhone--especially if it's your first iPhone--there are literally hundreds (maybe even thousands) of things to learn how to do. But you need to start somewhere, and that somewhere ought to be the basics. Read on for suggestions and instructions on the first 9 things you should do when you get a new iPhone (and a 10th if the iPhone isn't for you, but is for your child). Though these tips only scratch the surface of what you can do with an iPhone, they'll start you on your path to becoming an iPhone pro.
If your new iPhone is your first iPhone, iPad, or iPod, follow the instructions in the article linked to above. If you're upgrading from an earlier device, read on.
This difference exists because iPhones running iOS 5 and higher don't have to be connected to a computer to be set up; they can be set up and used without ever being synced to iTunes. If you're upgrading, though, you'll probably want to connect to follow the steps below and connect to iTunes to restore your old data onto your new phone.
If you use the iOS 5 activation, when you're done, skip to item 7 below.
2. Install iTunes
When it comes to the iPhone, iTunes is much more than just the program that stores and plays your music. It's also the tool that lets you add and remove music, video, photos, apps, and more from your iPhone. It's also where a number of settings related to what goes on your iPhone live. Needless to say, it's pretty crucial to using your iPhone.
If your computer didn't come with iTunes pre-installed, you can get it as a free download from Apple. Get instructions on downloading and installing iTunes:
If you want to use the iTunes Store or the App Store--and you must, right? Why would you get an iPhone if you didn't want to take advantage of its hundreds of thousands of amazing apps?--you need an iTunes account. These free accounts not only let you buy music, movies, apps, and more at iTunes, they're also used as part of iCloud, Find My iPhone, FaceTime, and many other awesome technologies on the iPhone.
Using your iPhone gets much easier when you have iCloud--especially if you've got more than one computer or mobile device that has your music or apps on it. ICloud collects a lot of features together into a single tool, including the ability to back up your data to Apple's servers and re-install it over the Internet with one click. ICloud also allows you to redownload anything you've bought at the iTunes Store, so even if you lose or delete them, your purchases are never truly gone. And it's free!
You may also want to consider signing up for iTunes Match.
This is crucial. Find My iPhone is a feature of iCloud that lets you use the iPhone's built-in GPS to pinpoint its location on a map. You're going to be glad you have this if your iPhone ever goes lost or gets stolen. In that case, you'll be able to locate it down to the part of the street it's on, which can be important information to give to the police if you're trying to recover a stolen phone. But in order to use Find My iPhone when your phone goes missing, you first have to set it up. Do that now and you won't be sorry later.
7. Learn the Built-In Apps
While the apps you get at the App Store are the ones that get the most hype, the iPhone comes with a pretty great selection of built-in apps, too. Before you dive too far into the App Store, learn how to use the built-in apps for web browsing, email, photos, music, calling, and more.
8. Get New Apps
Once you've spent a little time with the built-in apps, your next stop is the App Store, where you can get all kinds of new programs. Whether you're looking for games or an app to watch Netflix on your iPhone, ideas on what to make for dinner or apps to help you improve your workouts, you'll find them at the App Store--and usually just for a few dollars.
If you want some tips on what apps you may enjoy, check out our picks for the best apps in over 40 categories.
After all the uproar about Apple's new Maps app, and its perceived deficiencies, one app that may be on the top of many people's list is to get is the new Google Maps app (link opens iTunes).
At this point, you'll have gotten a pretty solid handle on the basics of using the iPhone. But there's so, so much more to the iPhone than the basics. It holds all kinds of secrets that are fun and useful. The link above will take you to all the iPhone how-to articles on this site, but here are a few highlights you may find useful:
If you're a parent, and the new iPhone in your life isn't for you, but instead belongs to one of your kids, you need to read this article. The iPhone gives parents tools to protect their children from adult content, prevent them from running up huge iTunes Store bills, and insulate them from some online dangers. You may also be interested in how you can protect or insure your child's iPhone in case it gets lost or damaged.