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Here are the first things you should do with your new Android smartphone

LG V20 Box

If you happened to just get a new Android phone, there are a couple of things that you should do to get the most out of it. While some of these tips are pretty simple and straightforward, some will help you make sure everything is backed up and protected against the worst…

– Setup lockscreen and fingerprint security

In this day in age, securing your smartphone is probably one of the most important things that you can do. Not only do you have private text message conversations on your handset but you will probably also have your email accounts and other secure data stored on your device that you might not want others seeing.

Although you should have been walked through these steps when setting up your new phone, you can follow the below guide on how to enable lockscreen security as well as setting up fingerprint security:

  1. Go to your phone’s Settings menu
  2. Scroll down to the Security option
  3. Select Screen lock (this name might vary from device to device)
  4. If it asks you to input your password, PIN, or pattern, it means you have already enabled this type of security
  5. If you haven’t set anything up yet, select which of the three security types (password, PIN, or pattern) you would like to enable and follow the onscreen instructions

An added layer of security and one that can’t be copied by others is setting up your fingerprint to unlock your phone. Follow the steps below to enable it:

  1. Go to your phone’s Settings menu
  2. Scroll down to the Security option
  3. Select the fingerprint security option (this name might vary from device to device)
  4. Input your lockscreen security
  5. Tap on Add fingerprint and follow the onscreen instructions


– Download applications

This is a rather obvious step but is still important. If you’re new to Android, you can find and download applications from the Google Play Store. Here you can search for pretty much anything you might want. Additionally, you can use the Play Store to purchase movies, TV shows, music, books, and even magazines.

You can check out our guide on some of the first applications that you should download here and follow our monthly segment that tracks new applications for you to download here.

– Setup device and photo backup

Although you have just received your new phone, it is important to start backing up everything just in case something happens to it. While you won’t be able to save your login details or your progress within a game, Google’s built-in backup service will help you download all of your applications and more when you get a new device.

Follow the below steps to enable backup:

  1. Go to your phone’s Settings menu
  2. Scroll down to Backup & reset
  3. Select Backup and make sure you have the correct account associated with the backup
  4. Toggle backup on and off at the top of the menu

One thing that you will probably find with your new phone over time is that your photos and videos will use most of your available storage. With a little help from Google Photos, you can backup everything that you’ve captured to the cloud. This way, in case anything happens to your phone, your photos and videos will still be assessable from anywhere in the world. Additionally, you can have Photos delete everything that you have already backed up so that it is no longer taking up space on your physical device.

The full tutorial on how to backup your photos and videos can be found here and the guide on deleting backed up content and clearing storage space can be found here.

Google Photos Assistant

– Organize your homescreens

One of the best things about having an Android phone is the ability to customize your homescreens. This can mean something as simple as placing a shortcut to an application somewhere on your homescreen to adding a widget. With your new phone, you have the ability to set it up however you like.

How to add app shortcuts:

  1. Open your app launcher
  2. Find the application that you want to place on your homescreen
  3. Long press on the application until the phone takes you back to your homescreen
  4. Move the item to your desired location and lift your finger from the screen

How to add widgets:

  1. Long press in an empty area of your homescreen
  2. Tap on the Widgets button found either at the top or bottom of your display
  3. Find the widget that you would like to place on your homescreen
  4. Long press on the widget until the phone takes you back to your homescreen
  5. Move the item to your desired location and lift your finger from the screen
  6. Some widgets allow you to adjust their size. To do this, long press on the widget once it is on your homescreen until your phone vibrates and then lift your finger. If you can change its size, a box will appear around the widget which will allow you to manually adjust its width and height

How to rearrange items:

  1. Once your application shortcut or widget is on the homescreen, long press on the item
  2. After a moment, the interface should change slightly
  3. While still holding your finger down on the screen, move the shortcut or widget around the screen to your desired location

– Find yourself a case and screen protector

Lastly, you might want to look into finding yourself a screen protector or case for your brand new phone. These can be great for not only protecting your device but also changing the look and feel of it. While we have gone hands-on with cases and screen protectors for devices like the Google Pixel, you can easily find a bunch of great accessories over on Amazon for your new phone.


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Avatar for Justin Duino Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at Tips are always welcome.