Over the next few weeks, we will be running a series of “iOS Beginner Guide” articles that shows you all that you need to know about your iOS devices. This is the first article of the series.
You’ve just bought your new iPad or iPhone, and chances are it was within the last hour or two, as no one can let something that exciting sit too long. You just can’t wait to get started. You won’t need to wait long at all, because starting up your device for the first time doesn’t take any time at all.
This is the beauty of any new iOS product, and it’s no different whether it’s an iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, or iPod Touch. The setup process is very simple, just asking you to answer a few questions and make some quick decisions about your usage. If you already have another iOS product, it will make it that much easier to get started, as some of this will already have been done when you signed on previously.
It used to be that you had to plug your iPad or iPhone into a computer in order to initialize them and get them set up. That’s no longer necessary, as now your iOS devices are completely independent from a computer, or at least they can be. All you need to do to start your iPad or iPhone is click the button on the top right of the tablet, that is if you are holding it lengthwise, and the round “Home” button is towards the bottom of the device. You’re first greeted with a screen that asks you to “Slide to Start,” and this is followed by a screen with “Welcome” in several different languages.
The Setup Assistant launches and takes you through a series of questions. It will allow you to choose your language and region and will also ask you to choose your WiFi network. When it appears on the screen, select it, then put in whatever password information your network requires. If you are not under WiFi at the moment, you can plug the iPad into your computer and set it up through iTunes.
With the Wifi account set up, or with the device plugged into iTunes on your computer, the next screen prompt will ask you if you want to use the location services. This will enable apps such as Maps and Find My iPhone to work. There are many other apps that use the location services, and if you choose not to use location, you might not get the full benefit of these apps if you leave it turned off.
New Device vs. Restoring from Backup
At this point, you will be asked if you want to complete the setup as a new iPad or iPhone or from a previous backup. iOS devices can be configured to perform a backup of your settings, documents, apps, and photos. That way if your phone gets erased for whatever reason, you have the backup stored in either iCloud or iTunes. It can save you a lot of time if you have a previous device that you have set up exactly the way you like it.
Apple keeps track of you via an ID. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. This is just the easiest way for them to keep all of the information pertaining to you in one place. It helps you out as well. If you already have an Apple ID, you can enter it in at this point, or you can create one. It will keep track of your app and music purchases, your store purchases, and your iCloud backups. You will also get the opportunity after this to choose whether you want to use iCloud or not. It’s not a necessity, but can be very helpful. It will give you someplace to store all your data, photos, documents, etc. After this, you can also choose where you want your backups stored, iCloud or on a computer.
Find My Device, Facetime, and Siri
If you are backing up from a previous version, you will now be ready to sign on. If not, you will choose whether or not to use Find My iPad/iPhone, Facetime, and Siri. Find My iPad/iPhone can be a lifesaver. If your device becomes lost or stolen, this app will keep track of it using the GPS location. You will be able to sign onto another device or a computer, and it will show you where your device is, providing the location services are still on. You will also choose whether or not to use Facetime, which is very similar to Skype, but only works with others using Apple devices. Siri works as a personal assistant to find gas stations, check sports scores, and check movie info, all by simply using your voice.
This completes the setting up process and signs you into the new device. If you are starting from a previous backup, it may take some time to load all the information. While this seems like a lot of information to get through to get to this point, the entire process only takes a matter of minutes and is really quite painless. The Setup Assistant is designed to walk you through it and leave no room for questions. It will take you to the point of being able to use your new device very quickly, allowing you to spend the rest of the time having fun with it.
In the next article, we will go through the basic navigation in iOS. Stay tuned.