Before you get started, remember that every Android phone is slightly different from all the others, and manufacturers often add their own steps to the setup.

These steps cover stock Android (what you get with a Google Pixel 2 for example), with a few added sections on Samsung-specific steps for Galaxy smartphones. Don't panic if your screens look a little different; follow the prompts, and your phone will walk you through the rest.

In this process you'll sometimes see screens asking you to agree to Terms and Conditions, or click Next to advance. If you see one of these screens, just follow the instructions and click through it.

It's best to keep hold of your old phone until you’ve finished setup so you can automatically transfer all of your accounts and apps. Either way, make sure you take your SIM card out of your old phone if you're keeping the same wireless carrier and phone number.


1. Insert your SIM card

Whether you're starting over with a new phone number or transferring over your old one, you'll have to insert a SIM card into the phone. Consult your new phone's instruction manual to find out how to pop out the SIM slot, then insert your card in the correct configuration.


2. Connect to a Wi-Fi network

This step isn't strictly necessary, but considering that getting the phone up and running will take at least a few hundred megabytes of information, you're better off not wasting your precious mobile data. Use a Wi-Fi connection instead. Choose your network, input your password — you know the rest.


3. Import your backup data — or don't

You can choose to not transfer data and Set up as new. To transfer your data Select backup and follow these steps.

If you have a Pixel 2, you can transfer data using a specialised cable. For other devices you’ll have to transfer data wirelessly. Some devices let you transfer data from an Android device only; others also offer options for cloud backups and transfers from iPhones. Whichever option you choose, select the appropriate prompt and follow the on-screen instructions.

The most common scenario is transferring data wirelessly from another Android phone. This process uses the Set up my device command in the Google app on your old phone.


4. Sign in to your Google account

If you loaded a backup on to your new phone, then your new device will already have your Google account information - you'll still have to enter your password though. If you didn’t, you’ll need to enter your Gmail address first.

If you’re using two-factor authentication, you'll still have to confirm your login on your old device. If you've already got rid of your old device you can ask for a backup code via text as long as you’ve kept your old SIM card.

If neither of these options work, Google’s 2FA site gives you other ways to verify your identity.


5. Set up security options

The way you set up security options on your phone depends on what type of handset you have. The Pixel wants you to use a fingerprint scanner; the Galaxy S9 recommends using facial-recognition. Either go with the default choice or set up a more traditional option, like a PIN or password. Either way, using security measures is definitely recommended. You can always program your phone to bypass these protocols on trusted networks, but if your phone falls into the wrong hands, a simple screen swipe is not going to stop anyone from misusing your data.


6. Activate additional services

Your phone will now probably ask whether you want to set up the voice-activated Google Assistant. You don’t have to do this now (or ever), but it takes only a few seconds and it can be helpful. Depending on your handset model, you may also be able to choose some initial apps to install, or your preferences for notifications. Don't worry about this too much, as you can always go back and do it later.


7. (Optional) Go through your manufacturer's setup process

If you have a phone from Samsung, Motorola, HTC or another manufacturer that likes to put its own spin on the OS, you'll probably have a few more steps to complete.

On Samsung phones, you have to set up a Samsung account, which will allow you to customize your battery options, create secure folders, alter font size, get weather forecasts and more. Motorola phones will walk you through setting up gesture controls.

There's no one-size-fits-all directive to give here, save to fill out whatever information your phone requests and tweak the options until you find a solution that works for you.

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