How to Set Up Android: Activate Your Phone

So you’ve got a new Android smartphone or tablet and you want to keep downloading apps and making calls. If the setup process seems a bit daunting, don’t worry as we’ll walk you through it step-by-step, explaining what to do.

Most phones and tablets will guide you through the setup process step-by-step. The experience may be slightly different, depending on the brand of your device and the version of Android it is running on. They are all very similar, but here we are using stock Android.

Also check out: Essential Android apps and best Android games for a new phone or tablet.

How to set up a new Android phone or tablet

  1. Insert the SIM card and turn on your phone, make sure it is fully charged
  2. Choose a language
  3. Connect to Wi-Fi
  4. Enter your Google account details
  5. Choose your fallback and payment options
  6. Set date and time
  7. Set up a password and/or fingerprint
  8. Voice assistant
  9. Start downloading apps and content

Step 1

Insert the SIM card into the new device if it is a smartphone or tablet with a mobile data connection. If it has a removable battery (which is increasingly rare), it is also possible to snap this slot into place and attach the back cover.

Turn on your new Android device with the power button, which is usually located on the right side. Keep in mind that it may need charging before turning on.

Step 2

The first thing you need to do after the device is booted is to select a language. Choose from the list that you want to use and click Get Started.

Android language setting

You’ll be prompted to insert a SIM if you haven’t already, although you don’t need to insert a SIM to set up your phone. Insert your SIM or click Skip.

Set up Android sim

Depending on the device you’re setting up, you may be asked if you want to restore from another device (which will copy your apps and data) or set up as new.

New Android Setup or Recovery

The first option, to keep your apps and data, lets you choose Another Android device, your Google account, or iPad or iPhone.

Android Recovery Setup

The second option gives you a fresh start and is the route we’re taking here.

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Step 3

Next you will be prompted to connect to Wi-Fi, so find and select your network in the list, enter your password and click Connect.

Android Wi-Fi Setup

Step 4

If you already have a Google account, you should enter your email address and password now. If you don’t, click ‘Or create a new account’ and sign up for a free Google account. Press next.

Set up a Google account on Android

You need to agree to Google’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy – just click Accept to continue.

Setting up Android Ts & C

Step 5

The setup process will ask you if you want to enable or disable various Google services, such as the ability to automatically back up device data (recommended), using Google location services to help other services. the app determines your location (totally of your choice and you can allow location access to specific apps when required), improves location accuracy by allowing the device to scanned for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth even when they’re turned off (recommended, as long as battery life isn’t a big deal) and to help improve the Android Experience by automatically sending diagnostics and data to your device. device and app usage data to Google (totally of your choice).

Turn these options on or off, then tap Next.

Set up Google services for Android

Step 6

Adjust data and time zones as needed (if you purchased your phone outside of the UK it may be set to a different time zone by default). This is worth doing not only so you know when is the exact time, but also because it can cause conflicts with your wireless router. If you’re not prompted to adjust the time, you can access these options from your device’s Settings menu.

Setting Date and Time on Android

Step 7

If your device has a fingerprint scanner, you’ll be prompted to set it up now. You can skip this step and add one later or click add fingerprint. Before setting a fingerprint, you will be asked to enter an unlock pattern, PIN or password that can be used to override biometric login. We have chosen a PIN.

Set up Android screen lock

You may then be asked if you want to enable secure boot, which requires you to enter a PIN to turn on the phone. This is entirely your choice as to how secure you want your phone to be, although we personally find it a bit annoying. Select Require PIN to start the device or No thanks, then tap Next.

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Enter a PIN you will remember with at least four digits. 1234 can be one of the easiest PINs to guess, as is 0000, so avoid those along with things people might guess like your date of birth. Press the arrow key to continue when you’re done.

Now, Google will ask you to confirm your PIN to rule out the possibility that you made a mistake, so re-enter your PIN and press the arrow key.

Android Fingerprint Settings

You are now ready to set up your fingerprint. Locate the fingerprint scanner on your device. It will usually be integrated into the Home button, or located below the camera on the back of the device. If you’re unsure, check out the user manual, read a review of the device, or simply check the image shown on the screen – in most cases it will be customized to fit your location. location on your device.

Hold your phone naturally, as you want the fingerprint scanner to work quickly and efficiently without having to do any clumsy finger acrobatics. Then start touching the sensor. You will need to do this several times and try to move your finger to a slightly different position each time so it can better scan your fingerprint. A progress bar running around the graphic is displayed on the screen and when the bar is full you will be able to move on to the next step.

Most phones and tablets will allow you to enter up to five fingerprints. This can be useful if you sometimes hold your phone with another hand or you switch between using your phone with your index finger and thumb. Also, consider whether anyone else in your household will be using the device and will need fingerprint access. But you don’t have to enter all five fingerprints now – you can add them later if you want.

Step 8

If your phone has Google Assistant built-in, you’ll be introduced and asked to help your phone recognize your voice – just follow the prompts.

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Set up Android's Google Assistant

Step 9

That should finish the setup but, as we mentioned earlier, different devices will have different steps. For example, a Samsung device will ask if you want to sign in to your Samsung account and use things like the Bixby assistant.

You may be greeted with your new device and may be shown a brief tutorial on how to do things like customize wallpapers, widgets, and settings. Attention should be paid to this if applicable, but you can also jump straight to the home screen.

You should check if there are any updates available for your phone or pre-installed apps by going to Settings, About phone or tablet, System updates and by how to launch the Google Play store app (probably on the home screen), tap the three line icon in the top left, select My Apps & Games and tap Update All.

You can configure things like your wallpaper and ringtone in the Settings menu – take a moment to look around and get familiar with Android.

Once done, you can start installing apps from Google Play. Just open the app store, search for the app or game – such as WhatsApp – and select Install. You will be prompted to accept any permissions and the app will start installing in the background.

Read next: How to restore WhatsApp messages on a new phone

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