How to Set up a New iPhone

Use this tutorial to set up and activate your new iPhone

What to Know

  • Turn on your iPhone, select a language, connect to Wi-Fi, and activate your iPhone.
  • You can then restore data to your iPhone from another device or an iCloud backup.
  • Finally, enter your Apple ID to set up Apple Pay, iCloud, iCloud Drive, Keychain, and more.

This article explains how to set up a new iPhone running iOS 10 and later. Specific steps may differ based on the version of the operating system you're running, but the basic process will be the same.

How to Do the Initial Setup of an iPhone

Once you've unboxed and charged your new iOS device, follow these steps to get it up and running.

  1. Begin by turning on/waking up your iPhone by holding down the sleep/power button in the top right corner or on the right edge, depending on your model. Swipe the slider to the right to begin iPhone activation.

  2. Next, enter some information about the location where you'll be using your iPhone. That involves selecting the language you want to be shown onscreen and setting your home country. Tap the language you want to use. Then, tap the country you want to use the phone in and tap Next to continue.

    The option you pick in this step won't prevent you from using your phone in other countries if you travel or move to them, but it determines what your home country is. You can change it later if needed.

  3. At this point, you have the option of using Quick Start, which is available in iOS 11 and later. This feature wirelessly imports information from another iOS device, if you have one.

    To use Quick Start, place the old phone next to your new one. You'll use the new phone's camera to link them, and then follow the instructions until you get a "Finish on New iPhone" message. Enter your current phone's passcode on the new phone, and then skip to Step 6.

    If you aren't using Quick Start, select Set Up Manually and continue.

    iPhone startup and Quick Start
  4. Next, you need to connect to a Wi-Fi network. This step isn't required if your phone is connected to your computer while you set it up, but if you have a Wi-Fi network in the location where you're activating your iPhone, tap its name and then enter its password (if it has one). Your iPhone will remember the password from now on, and you'll be able to connect to that network any time you're in range.

    If you don't have a Wi-Fi network nearby, you can also use cellular data.

    Tap Next to proceed.

  5. Once you've connected to Wi-Fi or iTunes, your iPhone will attempt to activate itself. This step includes a trio of tasks:

    1. The iPhone will display the phone number associated with it. If it's your phone number, tap Next. If not, contact Apple at 1-800-MY-iPHONE.
    2. Enter the billing zip code for your phone company account and the last four digits of your Social Security number and tap Next.
    3. Agree to the Terms and Conditions that pop up.
  6. On your iPhone, configure the security features that you want to turn on, including Touch ID, Face ID, and/or a passcode. They are optional, but we strongly recommend you use at least one, though we recommend using both.

    Screenshots of Choose Security Features like Touch ID or a Passcode
  7. In the next step, you can transfer or restore data including photos, contacts, and apps. You can do so from an iCloud backup, a Mac/PC, another iPhone, or an Android device.

    You can transfer from another device wirelessly, but to restore from a backup on a computer, connect them with the charging cable that came with the phone.

    If you have no data to transfer or restore, select Don't Transfer Apps & Data.

  8. Next, sign in with your Apple ID. If you have an existing Apple ID that you've used with a previous Apple product, enter it here.

    If not, you'll need to create one. Select "Forgot password or don't have an Apple ID?" and follow the onscreen prompts. You'll need to enter information like your birthday, name, and email address to create your account.

    iPhone backup restore and Apple ID
  9. The final steps involve setting up other, optional services. You don't have to do these right now (or ever), so you can click through them if you want by selecting Set Up Later in Settings.

    These services include:

    • Apple Pay: Add credit and debit cards to turn on wireless payments at stores that support them.
    • Automatic Updates: If you turn this on, your phone will automatically download and install updates to apps and iOS.
    • Developer Sharing: This feature shares some of your usage data with developers to help them improve services.
    • iCloud: Using iCloud lets you use Apple Music, the iCloud Keychain password manager, backups, and other options.
    • Location Services: Activating this one lets apps like Apple Maps, Find My iPhone, others see and use your location.
    • Screen Time: This option is Apple's parental control setting, letting you restrict apps and set limits on when the device is available.
    • Siri: Turning Siri on lets you use Apple's virtual assistant to use voice control. This step will have you choose a voice for Siri and teach it your own.
  10. Select Get Started to finish setting up your phone.

  • How do I connect my Apple Watch to my new iPhone?

    When you restore a backup of your old iPhone, it will ask if you want to connect your Apple Watch to your new iPhone. Tap Continue, put the new iPhone near your Apple Watch, and then follow the onscreen instructions.

  • How do I set up a new email account on my iPhone?

    To set up a new email account on your iPhone, go to Settings > Mail > Accounts > Add Account. Choose an email client, enter the login info, and follow the instructions to add the account.

  • What should I do after I set up my new iPhone?

    The first thing you should do when you get a new iPhone is set up Find My iPhone in case you lose your device. Then, you can set up Apple Pay, Touch ID, Face ID, and Medical ID.

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