Despite the fact that I’m spoiled for choice, my job hasn’t dulled my desire to unbox and play with a new Android phone. But, before I get to the good stuff, I have to go through the arduous process of configuring and migrating my data to the new device. However, if you have a reliable data backup routine in place (and with some assistance from Google), you should be able to restore phone in a matter of minutes. Here’s everything you need to know about how to set up Android phone from the ground up.
How to back up Android?
We already have a detailed tutorial on various methods to back up your old phone and how to setup new phone by restoring the data on the new one. But, in this section, I’ll go over the things I back up to ensure that nothing important is forgotten. Android’s built-in backup tool does a good job of backing up the basics — contacts, call history, SMS, apps, and device settings. However, I also use the SMS Backup & Restore app as a backup for my phone numbers and SMS messages. Photos and videos are equally important to me, and I use both Google Photos and Synology Photos for them. WhatsApp chats are another thing that must be transferred to the new phone, so I start a new cloud backup right before the switch.
While most mainstream apps save a copy of your data to the cloud, some privacy-focused apps, such as my 2FA app Aegis, require an offline backup. Remember to keep such backup files somewhere safe, away from your old device, before switching to a new phone, so that you can restore them later. Everything in my music collection is already on Spotify or YouTube Music, so I don’t have to worry about it. But I still have to make sure that all of the files on the device are transferred to the new phone; if Google Drive for Android supported folder syncing, I wouldn’t have to worry about this. But I still have to make sure that all of the files on the device are transferred to the new phone; if Google Drive for Android supported folder syncing, I wouldn’t have to worry about this. To learn more, visit an article on how to set automatic backups and how to backup photos and videos.
How to set up Android phone?
To set up new Android phone, follow the below process. The instructions for configuring an Android device are for a Google Pixel phone running Android 12. The screens on other phones and older Android versions may look different, but the options will remain the same. If necessary, you can look through the OEM section at the bottom for more information on non-Google devices.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the setup procedure:
- When you first turn on your phone, you’ll see a welcome screen with options to select your preferred language and region, as well as some vision settings. These assistive options include basic features such as font and display size, as well as more advanced tools such as TalkBack and Select to Speak to assist people with vision impairment. This is the first step to set up Android.
- On the following screens, the phone will prompt you to configure the networks. At this point, you can insert a physical SIM card or download an eSIM (the process may vary depending on your country and carrier). Connect to a Wi-Fi network here as well to restore any backups in the following step.
- The phone will take you to the data restoration page once you have a working internet connection. You can transfer your data wirelessly or using a data cable if you have your old phone handy, but pulling a recent backup from Google Drive is the simplest option. Sign in to your Gmail account and then tap Can’t use old phone? You should now see the most recent backup from your old phone. Tap it, confirm your old phone’s lock screen PIN/password/pattern, and choose what you want to restore to your phone. When you’re finished, click Restore. For a step-by-step guide, see our dedicated data transfer tutorial.
- While your data is being restored in the background, it will continue to setup Android. Google will then ask for your permission to use its various services, such as backup, location history, and diagnostic data aggregation. Even though they are enabled by default, all of these are optional, so you can allow only a few or turn them all off before accepting.
- In the final step to set up new Android phone, you’re advised to add a security lock to your phone by entering a PIN or password, which usually works in conjunction with your registered fingerprints as backup unlocking methods. The most common combination is fingerprint + PIN, but it’s fine if you prefer the old-fashioned pattern lock.
That’s it! While the Play Store restores and updates your apps in the background, your phone should be ready to use. Google may still want you to test out some of its extra features or complete any remaining tasks in the initial setup. You’ll receive a notification to finish up the last few details. In my case, it was my fingerprint, as well as the option to enable Google Assistant and other basic features like Pixel’s Now Playing, always-on display, and adding another Gmail account.
Other OEM alternatives
There’s a good chance your new Android phone was not manufactured by Google. During the setup process on a Samsung, OnePlus, or Xiaomi phone, you may see additional screens and options than on a Pixel. They could range from creating a user account to automatically signing you into first-party apps to tricking you into agreeing to display ads on the device.
As a general rule, you can skip anything optional without fear of damaging something on your phone. And be wary of all the pre-checked (often promotional) options that brands like Samsung and Xiaomi may include (as highlighted in the screenshots below) to capitalize on your ignorance. With Google’s robust backup mechanism, the entire process to set up Android new phone has become fairly simple, and Android has also gotten smart enough to do the heavy lifting in the background while you ecstatically play with your new phone.