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Step-By-Step Guide to Setting Up a New iOS Mobile Device Using iOS 7

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Congratulations if you just purchased a new iPhone or iPad! In this article, Jason R. Rich offers a step-by-step guide to setting up and activating your new iOS mobile device, so you can begin using it quickly and easily.
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With the release of the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, and the pending announcement that Apple will soon release new iPad models, many people are becoming iOS mobile device users for the first time or upgrading their existing iPhone or iPad to a newer model. If you’ve purchased a new iOS mobile device, you need to activate and set it up prior to its first use.

Setting Up Your Cellular Service Plan

If you’ve purchased a new iPhone, it needs to be activated upon purchase. At this point, your Smartphone will be assigned a phone number and you need to select a service plan, which typically includes a talk, texting, and 3G/4G LTE cellular data component. Keep in mind that in most cases, after you choose a service provider for your iPhone, you can’t later switch providers without acquiring a new iPhone. You can, however, change your service plan to better accommodate your needs.

If you upgrade from another cell phone to an iPhone, or from an older iPhone model to a new one, you can transfer your existing phone number and account to the new device at the time it’s activated.

After the iPhone is activated, you still need to set up iOS 7 the first time you turn on the device. Likewise, if you’ve acquired a new iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular model, upon turning on the device and attempting to access the Internet using Safari via a 3G/4G LTE cellular data connection (as opposed to Wi-Fi), you’ll be prompted to set up a cellular data account with a service provider.

Unlike with most iPhone plans, activating an iPad with a cellular data plan does not require signing a long-term service contract. Instead, you pay month-by-month for the cellular data service, which is automatically billed to your credit or debit card until the account is canceled.

To set up your cellular data plan for your new iPad, turn on the device, launch Safari, and follow the onscreen prompts. You need to provide your name, address, and credit card information, and choose a data plan from the service provider of your choice. This data plan determines your monthly wireless data (3G /4G LTE) usage allocation.

The Hello Screen Welcomes You to Your New Mobile Device

The first time you take your activated iPhone or your new iPad out of the box and turn it on, you’ll discover that its battery is partially charged. It’s a good idea to plug the device into an electrical outlet to fully change the battery. You can continue the iOS 7 setup process as the battery charges.

Press and hold down the power button on the iPhone or iPad to turn it on. The power button is located near the top-right corner of the device. Within a few seconds, the screen will turn white, and the animated Hello message will display in a variety of different languages.

Make sure your iOS mobile device has access to the Internet. Then begin the iOS 7 setup process by swiping your finger from left to right across the Hello screen. A handful of separate setup screens display one at a time. To move to the next screen after making your selection from the menu, you’ll be prompted to tap the Next, Continue, or Skip option that displays.

During this process, you’ll be given the opportunity to turn on or off specific iOS 7 features as you begin to customize your iPhone or iPad. The setup screens you’ll encounter, however, will vary slightly based on whether you’re using an iPhone or iPad, and if it’s an iPad, whether you’re using a Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The iPhone 5S, for example, will display additional options during the setup process related to its Touch ID sensor, enabling you to securely scan and save your fingerprint.

Keep in mind, although you’ll make decisions about how you want your iOS mobile device to be customized, after this process is done, you can launch Settings at any time and modify any of the options.

Whether you’re setting up a new iPhone or iPad, the initial setup process needs to be done only once, and it won’t take more than a few minutes. What will take longer, however, is restoring a backup created from an old iPhone or iPad onto your new device. If you plan to do this, allow between 30 and 60 minutes to complete the process, based on how many apps and how much data needs to be transferred to your new device and restored.

If Applicable, Enter Your Apple ID and Password When Prompted

One of the first steps in the setup process includes deciding if you want to set up your iPhone or iPad as a new device, or if you want to restore data from a previously created iCloud or iTunes backup. You can then opt to restore an entire backup or opt to sync only app-specific data with information stored within your existing iCloud account.

If you’re an established Mac, iPhone, or iPad user who is activating a new iPhone or iPad, but you already have an established Apple ID account (which is free), enter this information. Otherwise, tap the option that enables you to set up a new Apple ID.

By using the same Apple ID and password as you’ve used in the past with your Macs, iOS mobile devices, and Apple TV, all your Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, and Safari data that’s been stored within your online-based iCloud account will automatically sync with their respective apps that come bundled with your new iOS mobile device. You’ll also have access to all your past iTunes Store, App Store, iBookstore, and Newsstand purchases.

This data syncing process will begin as soon as you enter your existing Apple ID and password. So, within a few minutes after completing the setup process, the various preinstalled apps will automatically be populated with your data from your other Apple computers and mobile devices.

Work Your Way Through the Setup Process

First, you are prompted to select your language. Tap your option from the extensive menu. Next, from the Select Your Country or Region menu, tap your home country, such as the United States. Next, select a Wi-Fi network or choose the Use Cellular Connection option (if applicable) or the Connect with iTunes option. Your new mobile device will connect to Apple’s servers and exchange some information.

As you continue, the Location Services setup screen displays. From here, turn on or off this feature, which enables your iOS mobile device to pinpoint your exact location at any given time and then share this information with specific apps you use, and potentially with other people if you turn on Facebook or Twitter integration.

Tap either Enable Location Services or Disable Location Services. It’s a good strategy to turn on this feature, and then if you choose to later, restrict specific apps from accessing and utilizing your location information. To do this later, launch Settings, tap the Privacy option, and then tap the Location Services option that displays near the top of the screen. From the Location Services submenu, turn off the virtual switch associated with each app that you want to prevent from discovering or sharing your location.

For example, if you turn on Location Services for the Camera app, anytime you snap a photo using the camera built into your iOS mobile device, the location where that photo was taken will automatically be recorded and saved along with the image. If you turn off this feature, only the photo will be saved, without the location (geo-tag) data.

Next, from the Set Up Your iPhone/iPad screen, choose between Set Up as New iPhone/iPad, Restore from iCloud Backup, or Restore from iTunes Backup. If you opt to set up your iPhone or iPad as a new device or restore from an iCloud Backup, you’ll be promoted to enter your Apple ID and password.

Here, you can create a new Apple ID and iCloud account, or enter your preexisting account information. If you enter your existing Apple ID and password, you’ll be promoted to turn on iCloud. To do this, tap the Use iCloud option.

Then, after you link your iCloud account to your new device, you have the opportunity to turn on the Find My iPhone/iPad feature. Tap the Use Find My iPhone/iPad to launch it. It’s strongly recommended that you do this.

Thanks to the new Activation Lock feature of Find My iPhone, if your smartphone is stolen, you can prevent the thief from activating the stolen phone using a new account, plus you can locate your lost or stolen device on a detailed map and then take steps to secure your data.

From the iMessage and FaceTime screen, you can activate your preexisting accounts for these services based on content stored within your Apple ID/iCloud account. Tap the Next option to continue.    

As you continue, you’ll be promoted to Create a Passcode. You can do this now or tap the Don’t Add Passcode option to continue. If you use the new iPhone 5S with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, you’ll have the opportunity to configure this feature instead of utilizing iOS 7’s Passcode feature.

When the Set Up Siri screen appears, you can opt to turn on and activate Siri, or tap Don’t Use Siri to deactivate this feature. As long as Siri is turned on, at anytime you can press and hold down the Home button on your mobile device to activate the Siri feature and then use voice commands to perform a wide range of functions while using your iPhone or iPad. If this feature is deactivated, pressing and holding down the Home button will do nothing.

The Welcome to iPad screen appears next. Tap the screen to start using your new iOS mobile device. The Home Screen appears, and on it are the app icons for all the apps that come preinstalled with iOS 7.

At this point, if you’ve set up a new iPhone or iPad (without restoring preexisting settings and preferences from an older device), launch Settings and continue to customize various features, functions, and apps.

For example, to customize the Notification Center and determine which apps this iOS 7 feature will monitor and then display alerts and notifications from, launch Settings and tap the Notification Center option. Then return to the main Settings menu and manually adjust options related to Control Center, Do Not Disturb, General, Sounds, Wallpapers & Brightness, Privacy, and iCloud.

If you have pre-existing email accounts that you want to use with your iPhone or iPad, tap the Mail, Contacts, Calendars option within Settings, and then tap the Add Account option. From the Add Account submenu, choose the type of email account you want to add, and follow the onscreen prompts. Repeat this process for each of your separate email accounts. This needs to be done only once per account.

From Settings, you can customize options related to the Notes, Reminders, Messages, FaceTime, Maps, and Safari apps. Before you begin purchasing content from the App Store, iTunes Store, iBookstore, or Newsstand, customize the settings associated with the iTunes & App Store option from within Settings.

Then, one at a time, tap the Music, Videos, Photos & Camera, and Game Center options, as well as the Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Vimeo options to customize related settings for these apps and their integration with iOS 7. For example, if you have a Facebook account, you can enter your Facebook username and password to turn on Facebook integration with iOS 7, and then download and install the official Facebook app without first having to visit the App Store.

Remember, you can always return to Settings at any time to change your preferences. Or as you add new apps to your mobile device, you can sometimes customize their app-specific options from within Settings as well. Menu listings for compatible third-party apps appear near the bottom of the main Settings menu as new apps are installed.

When you exit Settings (by tapping the Home button, for example), all your customizations will be saved and go into effect immediately.

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