How to Set up a Facebook Account and Secure Your Profile

Find the right cover photo and identify who can see your updates

An image of a Facebook profile on a smartphone screen.

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Facebook is the world's largest social network, with billions of active users. Whether you're new to Facebook or looking to spruce up your profile, there are several timeline features and privacy settings available.

You can set up your profile timeline from the web or from the Facebook app for iOS or Android. The following instructions include steps for both, using screenshots from the iOS app version.

Android app users should be able to follow along, although there may be some slight differences. For instance, while the main menu has the same options on both apps, on iOS it is found on the bottom of the screen, and on Android it is up top.

If you're signing up for a new Facebook account, you'll need to provide a valid phone number or email address. Facebook will send a verification code to you, which you'll need to enter into Facebook to complete the sign-up process.

How to Add a Facebook Profile Picture

Follow these steps to add a profile image to your new account.

  1. Sign into Facebook.

  2. Navigate to your profile by selecting your name in the upper-right corner on the web or tapping the profile icon in the app menu.

  3. Click or tap the big round profile picture to upload one.

    Facebook profile upload

    On the web, a window will appear where you'll be able to select Upload Profile Picture to choose an image file from your computer. On the app, a menu will slide up where you'll be able to tap Select Profile Picture or Video to choose a photo from your device.

    If you're on the app, you may need to select Allow Access to allow Facebook to access your device's photos.

  4. Select the photo you want to use and then use the slider to crop the image to your preferred size, then choose Save.

    Select the Make Temporary button to make this photo your profile picture for just one hour, one day, one week, or a custom timeframe.

    Facebook select photo

How to Add a Facebook Cover Photo

Follow these steps to add a cover photo to your profile page.

  1. On your profile on the web, select Edit Cover Photo.

    Facebook edit cover photo
  2. Choose Select Photo to choose an image from one of your Facebook photo albums. Choose Upload Photo to add a new one from your computer.

    On the app, tap the camera icon on the cover photo. Select Upload Photo to add an image from your mobile device. Choose Select Photo on Facebook to add an image that is already on Facebook.

    If you don't have a photo for your cover photo, select Select Artwork to view Facebook's cover photo library. You can also select Create Collage to combine several of your pictures into one.

  3. Use your cursor (on the web) or your finger (on the app) to drag the photo up or down in the cover photo area to position it the way you want. Then select Save Changes.

    The ideal Facebook cover photo should be 820 by 312 pixels for viewing on a desktop computer, and 640 by 360 pixels for viewing on the mobile app.

    Facebook drag to reposition

You cannot customize the visibility of your cover photos because cover photos are always public. So either use a picture you don't mind sharing with the world or delete it. On the web go to: Update Cover Photo > Remove... > Confirm. On the app tap Edit > three dots > Delete Photo.

How to Add Profile Info to a Facebook Account

Follow these steps to add info about yourself to your new profile.

  1. Navigate to your profile and select Edit Profile. On the app, select the three-dot icon, then choose Edit Profile.

    Facebook edit profile
  2. Under the Bio field select Add, then type out a short bio that will appear beneath your name on your profile.

    Your bio can only be a maximum of 101 characters.

    Facebook edit Bio
  3. If you're on the app, select Edit under the Details section to quickly add information like where you live, your workplace, education, hometown, relationship status and more. On the web, this information can be changed in the Customize Your Intro section of the Edit Profile page.

  4. On the web and app, scroll down to the Featured section and select Edit to create a thumbnail grid of up to nine photos.

    Facebook edit featured
  5. On the web and app, select Edit Your About Info to go to your About page and add information for each section. Once added, you can use the Edit button (web) or pencil icon (app) to customize its visibility.

    Facebook about

Secure Your Facebook Account and Manage Privacy

Follow these steps to set or adjust your privacy settings.

  1. On the web, select the down arrow in the upper-right corner, then select by Settings & Privacy from the dropdown list. On the app, select the menu icon from the main menu, scroll down the list and choose Settings & Privacy > Privacy Shortcuts.

    Facebook settings and privacy
  2. Under the Account Security section, select Use two-factor authentication to set up two-factor authentication. Under the Privacy section, review some of the settings that are available, including options to set the visibility for your activity and how people find or contact you. Select See more privacy settings to reveal the full list of settings and controls.

    Modifying your privacy settings on facebook.com
  3. On the app, select Settings and then tap any of the options under the Security section to secure your account. Do the same in the Privacy section to change the privacy or visibility of certain information.

When you post a status update, click or tap the drop-down menu beneath your name to select who can view the post. If you don't want it to be public, select Friends, Friends except..., Only Me, or a custom friend list.

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