How to Set Up a New Android Phone

14 quick steps to get your new phone ready to use

What to Know

  • Your new Android phone will automatically start the setup process when you turn it on. 
  • Internet access via Wi-Fi or cellular data and a Google account are required for set up. 
  • Some Android phone manufacturers add custom options or feature demonstrations during basic setup.

This article explains how to set up a new Android phone. These instructions will also work if you have factory reset your Android phone and have to set it up again from scratch.

How to Set Up Your New Android Phone

Once you’ve unboxed your new Android phone and charged it up, you can follow these steps to set it up:

Android phones that aren’t made by Google sometimes have additional steps, such as Samsung’s custom data transfer feature and Motorola’s demonstration of their Moto Actions and Gestures. In most cases, the basic steps will appear in the same order as they do below.

  1. Start by holding down the power button until the phone turns on.

    Most Android phones have the power button on the right side near the top. If there are two buttons, the power button will be the smaller of the two.

  2. The phone will boot up, and you will be greeted by a welcome screen. Depending on the manufacturer of your Android, you may need to select your language on this screen. When you’re ready to proceed, tap START.

  3. Insert your SIM card if prompted. If you don’t have one yet, or you plan on only using this phone with Wi-Fi, you can tap Skip.

  4. Select a Wi-Fi network, or tap Skip if you don’t have a Wi-Fi network. You need to connect your Android to Wi-Fi or cellular data to proceed, so make sure you connect to one or the other.

    If you select a secured Wi-Fi network, you’ll need to provide the network’s security key or password.

  5. The next screen will give you the option to copy data and apps from an old device or start fresh. If you want to start fresh, tap Don’t copy. If you want to copy the apps and data from an old phone, tap Next.

    If you choose Copy, then you will be presented with three restoration options on the next screen. You can transfer apps from your old Android phone either directly or from a cloud backup, or transfer data from an iPhone.

    Make your selection, and follow the on-screen prompts to proceed. Depending on your choice, you may have additional options on step seven.

  6. You will now be asked to log into a Google account. You will need to provide the email or phone number that’s associated with your Google account to proceed.

    If you have set up two-factor authentication on your account, you will need to have another device that is logged into your Google account as well.

    You can tap Skip if you don’t want to log into Google, but doing so locks out a lot of your phone’s functionality.

  7. If you chose to copy apps and data on step five and opted to use a cloud backup, you will now have the opportunity to restore a backup image.

    Select which phone or tablet you want to restore apps and data from, and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the process.

    If you selected Skip on step five or set up your device using an iPhone or Android on step five, you can move on to the next step at this time.

  8. On the next screen, you will be presented with a list of optional Google Services. Each service has an associated toggle that you can tap to turn it off if you don’t want to use it.

    Disable any services you don’t want to use, then tap Accept to proceed.

  9. At this point, you may be asked to set up Google Assistant. You can tap Continue to set it up, or No Thanks if you don’t want to use it. If you don’t see this screen, that means Google Assistant is enabled by default on your phone.

  10. You will now have the opportunity to secure your phone. Depending on the capabilities of your phone, you will be presented with a variety of options including a password, four digit PIN, fingerprint sensor, pattern, and face recognition.

    For each option, either tap Skip if you don’t want to use it, or follow the on-screen prompts to set it up. If you change your mind later, you can add and remove screen unlock methods in the phone’s security settings later on.

  11. When you’re done setting up unlock methods, you will have the option to set up Voice Match. This feature lets you use Google Assistant even if your screen is locked. Tap I agree to use Google Assistant’s Voice Match if you want to use this feature, or Skip if you don’t.

    If you opt to use Voice Match, your phone will download your existing voice model if you’ve set up this feature in the past. If you haven’t ever used it before, follow the on-screen prompts and provide the requested voice samples to continue.

  12. You will be presented with a handful of additional setup options at this point, like adding another email address, adjusting the default font size, adjusting the information on your lock screen. Tap an option and follow the on-screen prompts if you want to use it at this time or tap No thanks to finish setup.

    These options are all available later on in Android Settings as well, so they are optional at this time.

  13. At this point, some phone manufacturers have additional agreements or settings that they will present first. The manufacturer may also want your email or to demonstrate unique features of the phone.

  14. When setup is complete, your phone may check for updates and install them as necessary. After that, you're ready to start using your new Android phone. The setup process is officially done when you see the Android home screen.

Do You Need a Google Account to Set Up an Android Phone?

You don’t need a Google account to set up an Android phone, and if you opt to not log into one you’ll skip several steps in the setup process. Your phone will still operate without a Google account, and you’ll be able to send and receive calls and text messages.

Other features will not work without a Google account. You won’t be able to download apps from Google Play, Google Services won’t work, and you won’t be able to restore a backup from an Android device. For the best Android experience, a Google account is recommended.

Do You Need to Use Gmail on Android Phones?

While a Google account is required to get the most out of your Android phone, you don’t need to use Gmail. Your phone is automatically set up to use the Gmail address that’s associated with your Google account, but you can also add multiple Gmail addresses to one phone.

If you have an email account from a different provider, you can also set up other email services on Android. You don’t even need to use the built-in Mail app if you don’t want to, as there are a number of Android email apps available from Google Play.

  • How do I set up voicemail on my Android phone?

    You can set up Android voicemail in the Phone app. Select the dial pad, and then press and hold 1. After a second or two, you can set up a PIN and a greeting.

  • How do I set up Wi-Fi calling on Android?

    To turn on Wi-Fi calling, go to the Phone app and tap More (the three dots) > Settings > Calls > Wi-Fi calling and turn on Use Wi-Fi Calling. If it isn't available, be sure your phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

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