How to Set Up a New iPhone

01
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Connect Your iPhone to Your Computer

Woman holding iPhone
Tara Moore / Getty Images

Whether you purchased your iPhone in the store or ordered it online, you still need to connect it to iTunes to get it up and running.

Doing so allows you to transfer information and data (including your music collection and more) to your new iPhone. And, if your new iPhone is replacing an old one, you can transfer all of the data (including music, photos, contacts, and apps) from your old iPhone to your new one.

You need iTunes installed on your computer before you begin. If you already have iTunes installed, you should make sure you have the most recent version. To check, open iTunes and then go to the "Help" menu. From there, select "Check for updates."

Once you've verified that you have the most recent version of iTunes running, you should connect your iPhone to your computer using its included USB cord. You'll see mobile device drivers install automatically, and then iTunes will launch automatically (if you don't already have it open).

If you're connecting a new iPhone, you'll see a message that says "Let's Get Started." The instructions tell you to register your phone and set up your iTunes account.

Click "Continue."

02
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Accept the iPhone Software License Agreement

You'll see the iPhone software end-user license agreement. You have to accept it in order to use the software.

Read the agreement, and then click "I have read and agree to the iPhone Software License Agreement."

Click "Continue."

03
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Enter Your Apple ID (or Create a New One)

You need an Apple ID to make purchases from the iTunes store on your iPhone. If you've used iTunes on your computer, you can (and should) use that same Apple ID on your iPhone.

If you don't have an Apple ID, you'll need to enter some basic info (name, address, iPhone number, etc.) to create one.

If you already have an Apple ID (which is an email address), enter it and your password.

04
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Register Your iPhone

Enter the information necessary to register your iPhone, including your name and address. Some of this information may be filled in for you if you've already entered your Apple ID.

Verify the information that you've entered and then click "Submit."

You may see an offer to try Apple's MobileMe free for 60 days; you can accept the offer (which will launch an external website) or skip it.

05
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Set Up Your iPhone

If you've never owned an iPhone before, you can set up the new iPhone from scratch. Or, if you already own another iPhone, you can restore the new iPhone from a backup of your existing iPhone; this allows you to transfer your existing apps and info over to the new phone.

If you choose to set it up as a new iPhone, you can give it a name (ie Liane's iPhone) and then decide which info to sync to the iPhone whenever you connect it to your computer. You can, for example, choose automatic or manual syncing and can decide to sync bookmarks with your desktop browser or your contacts and calendar with Outlook.

If you decide to setup your iPhone as a new phone, move on to step 6.

If you choose to restore your new iPhone from a backup, choose that option and click "Continue." Note that if you do so, your new iPhone will essentially take over for your old one in iTunes; it will have the same name, and all of the data from your old iPhone will be transferred to the new one.

If you decide to restore your iPhone from a backup of an older phone, move on to step 8.

06
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Setting Up a New iPhone in iTunes

Select a name for your iPhone. This allows you to identify it when it is connected to iTunes.

You can opt to sync contacts, calendars, browser bookmarks, notes, and e-mail accounts with your new iPhone on this screen. This will sync the information that is currently stored on your desktop. If you want to access a different e-mail account or contacts with the iPhone, you can set that up later on the phone.

Once you click "Continue," you'll see a message on your screen that the iPhone sync is in progress. Let this run, and do not disconnect your iPhone from your computer while it is running.

07
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Sync Information to Your iPhone

When the initial sync is complete, you'll see a summary screen in iTunes. Here you can see basic information about your phone.

If this is your first time using iTunes, you can add your music, video, and photo collection to the software, and then sync it to your iPhone. If you already have your media collection organized in iTunes, you can manage what information and files (including music, apps, photos, and videos) you want to sync with your new phone.

Once you've decided which information you'd like to sync to your new iPhone, press the "sync" button in the lower right corner of the iTunes window. You'll see a notification on your iPhone's screen that the sync is in progress; do not disconnect the phone from your computer while this is running.

Once the sync is complete, you can skip ahead to step 10.

08
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Begin the Restoration Process

If you decided to restore your new iPhone from a backup of an older iPhone, you should have already clicked "continue." Once you click continue, you'll see a message on your computer's screen that iTunes is restoring your iPhone from backup. Your iPhone screen will say "Restore in Progress."

This process can take several minutes. Do not disconnect your iPhone or close iTunes while this process is running.

When the restoration is complete, but before your music is synced with the new iPhone, you'll see a message asking if you'd like to share diagnostic information with Apple. This is voluntary; read the disclosure and decide whether you'd like to share this information. Click "Continue."

09
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Sync the Contents of Your iPhone

All of the applications, photos, music, and videos that you had stored on the old iPhone will now be transferred -- or synced -- to the new iPhone. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes to almost an hour, depending on how much data you're transferring.

Do not close iTunes or disconnect your iPhone while this process is running.

10
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Disconnect Your iPhone

You'll know the syncing process is complete when you see the message at the top of iTunes, and the "Sync in Progress" message disappears from your iPhone.

Once the syncing process is complete, your can disconnect your iPhone and are free to use it. Enjoy!