How to: Set up your Android phone

by nicole on October 20, 2011

Did you get a new Android phone?  Still wondering if you’re setting it up to work the best it can for you?  I’m going to go over the basics of set up to get you on your way to Android bliss.

My own lovely Home Screen, main one of 7.

1. When you first turn on your phone you should be prompted to go through set up.  Don’t blow this off unless you don’t have a Gmail account or any social accounts like Facebook that you want to link to your phone.  And if you don’t have a Gmail account, you may want to get one.  It will make your life so much easier and keeps all your contacts, emails, and more in one place.

If the Setup wizard doesn’t automatically start up, go to the drawer at the bottom of your home screen and tap to open in.  Inside will be all of your installed apps as well as software pre-installed by your carrier.  You’ll have an icon with a magic top hat labeled “Setup”.

Another option is to click “Menu” and then “Settings” and sign in to your accounts under “Accounts & sync”.

2. Your phone should also be configured with little prompts/pop ups/instructions on the home screens.  But if not, here’s how to maneuver through your phone.

    • Slide – all Android phones unlock with a slide of your finger, usually up to down but I have used left to right as well.  There’s also a notification drawer at the top of your screen.  Touch it and slide it down to see all your notifications including voicemail, email, download/upload status, text message, missed calls, etc.

    • Swipe – swiping your finger from left to right, right to left will take you through your home screens.  Different phones will have a different number of home screens.  For example: HTC EVO has 7, as do all HTC Android phones I believe.  An alternate way to switch home screens at least for me is to press the home button and all home screens can be seen at once.  This is limited to Android 2.1 and above.

  • Press & hold – If you want to add anything to your home screen, one way to do it is to press & hold an empty part of the screen.  This should bring up a menu with a choice between widgets, apps (icons), shortcuts, or folders.  You will most often choose to add widgets and icons to your screens unless there’s something really specific you need to get to fast.  My must-have widgets include “Power Control” or separate icons for wifi, GPS, etc, photo album (for HTC Sense users), clocks, weather, and calendar.  This is typically where you will find differences among the manufacturers of the Android phones.  I am partial to my HTC widgets (is it obvious?), they just look so much prettier than the stock Android ones.  And more options too.  Play around, you’ll find ones you’ll just love.  To get rid of an icon or widget, press & hold it and then drag it to your trash can at the bottom of the screen.                                                            

3. Apps can be downloaded from the Android Market.  Go to your app drawer and click on “Market”.  In there you can browse and search for anything you might need or want.  When an app includes a widget, just go through the steps above to place it on one of your home screens if desired.

You should be ready to use your phone and get to know it a bit better.  Have fun!

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