These are the first things you should do on Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, and other new Android phones
Between buying a new phone, activating it, and getting it started, there are a few important steps. Follow it to set up messaging, messaging, and even the home screen of your Android phone.
Before you begin, note that these recommendations are meant to be used after completing the initial setup that Android phones ask you to complete. Think of these steps as an extension of the initial setup, providing a foundation for your new device.
Find and install your apps on your new Android phone
When setting up a new Android phone, you have two options: perform a clean setup or restore a backup from another device. If you’ve decided to do a clean setup on your new Android phone, don’t worry. You can still find all the apps you previously installed on other devices.
If your old device was an Android phone, you will be able to see which apps have been downloaded in the past directly from your new device. If your old device was an iPhone, you will need to manually search for the apps you previously installed.
Here’s how to download your apps if your old device was an Android phone:
- Head to the Google play store on your device.
- Press your profile picture in the upper right corner.
- Find Manage apps and device and press it.
- Press the button that says “Installed” and choose Not installed in the contextual menu at the bottom.
- Go through the list and tap the checkboxes apps you want to install on this device.
- Once all the apps you want are checked, tap the download icon at the top of the screen.
- To note: This icon will appear as soon as you check one or more applications in the list.
Set up messaging apps and emails
Configure your favorite messaging services
More than ever, it seems like everyone is using a different messaging service. Some people like to use good old-fashioned texting apps like Google Messenger or other proprietary apps, while others like to use more encrypted messaging apps like Telegram.
If you can’t choose a messaging app that can handle both SMS and RCS messages, we suggest you grab Google Messages from the play store. The design is clean, simple and easy to use. When you install Google Messages for the first time, a pop-up window will appear asking if you want to enable Messages chat services. Go ahead and accept as this activates RCS messaging which adds another element to communication, allowing reading of receipts, reactions and other cool features. You can take advantage of this feature when you send messages to someone else with an Android device that has RCS messaging enabled as well.
You’ll also want to set Google Messages as the default messaging app. Here’s how to do it:
- Head in settings on your device.
- Scroll down until you find applications and press it.
- Look for a button that says Choose default apps Where Default apps and press it.
- Press on SMS application, and choose messages on the next screen.
- To note: On some devices like a Galaxy device, another Messages option will be listed. Look for the one that has the Google Messages icon.
Whatever you decide to use, make sure you have downloaded all of your email services and be sure to sign in to all of them. By doing this, you avoid missing the messages people are trying to send you while you are setting up your new device.
Configure and connect to email services
On a related note, you’ll want to stay in the know by making sure your email services are all set up and working on your Android phone. You can use Gmail and Microsoft Outlook or have multiple Gmail accounts. Either way, email accounts are easy to set up and work very quickly.
On newer Android devices, the required initial setup process usually takes care of signing in to your email accounts, although you can skip the next step without realizing it and miss setting up multiple email accounts. Here’s how to add additional Gmail accounts:
- Head to the Gmail application on Android.
- Tap on your profile picture in the upper right corner.
- Press on Add another account.
- To choose Google.
- To note: You can add other email services to Gmail so that you have all your emails in one place. To do this, select your preferred email service rather than Google from the list provided.
- You may need to Verify Your Identity by entering your lock screen PIN or other information. After that, enter your Google account credentials.
- To note: You may need to double-verify your identity. This time, you’ll need to choose a verification method to use, such as two-factor authentication.
Personalize your Android home screen
Your device’s home screen is one of the first things you see when you unlock your Android phone. That being the case, you have to customize your home screen however you like it. This is one of the easiest things to do on your Samsung Galaxy or Pixel device.
Right off the bat, you can easily move apps around your screen. You can do this by long pressing any app or folder. When the app indicates that it has been selected, you can slide your finger across the screen to place it elsewhere.
To create a folder, tap and drag one app onto another. This organizes your apps and keeps everything clean on your home screen.
Customize your app drawer
Many devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S21, will place all of your installed apps on the Home screen on a second page. Here’s how to change this setting on a Galaxy device:
- Head in settings by sliding down and pressing the cog parameters.
- To look for Homepage and press it.
- Press on Home screen layout.
- Replace this with Home screen and apps.
Google’s Pixel line automatically takes advantage of the app drawer, so you don’t need to change this setting.
Change the wallpaper
Another way to customize the home screen of your Android device is to change the wallpaper. On most Android devices, all you need to do is long press the home screen and search for “wallpaper”. Tapping this option will take you to a separate screen where you can choose from preinstalled wallpapers or download your own.
Familiarize yourself with the camera controls on your new Android phone
For me, this is one of the most important steps. Each manufacturer takes a different approach to camera software on new Android phones. For example, a Galaxy device is very different from a standard Android Pixel camera experience. And, depending on what version of the device you have, there may be additional controls for different cameras.
Familiarizing yourself with the camera controls on your device is extremely easy to do and just takes a little time to accomplish. Open your camera app on your device by using the device shortcut or by finding the camera app icon in the app drawer. On many devices, like the Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S21, you can double-tap the power button to instantly access your new Android phone’s camera.
The basics will stay the same, like a shutter button in the middle down and a few zoom options. On the Samsung Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 8, additional camera options like aspect ratio and flash can be found at the top of the screen, while on a new Pixel phone these options are hidden behind a settings cog. . Play and you’ll be feeling like it in no time. It won’t take you long to learn how to use the camera on your new Android phone.
To note: In the Pixel 6 camera screenshot above, the menu appears to cover the entire viewfinder screen. This is a drop-down menu that is open for illustration purposes and is normally hidden.
Generally, we recommend that you use a cloud service to back up your photos and memories. On most Android devices, including the Google Pixel, Google Photos is preinstalled. You may need to open Google Photos and agree to the terms that appear for it to back up your photos. Once completed, all of your photos will be safe in the cloud and can easily be shared with others. Not to mention that you can edit photos and get regular summaries of your past images, often in cool designs.
Most things tend to take time when setting up a new device. But these are the things you can set up and learn right away that will get you started with your new Android phone.
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