Android is different from iOS in that it comes installed on a huge variety of makes and models. What you could have on one Android phone might not exist on another. Hardly any Android devices are exactly alike, but there are things you can do on all of them to kickstart your smartphone journey.
Step 1: Google Account
First things first, you’ll want to log into your Google account to transfer over your data from your old phone.
There are different ways of transferring data across phones, depending on the makes and models. For most devices moving to an Android, you’ll need to use a Google account. This is because Android and Google go hand-in-hand in storing your smartphone’s data.
If you were using an Android before, it’s easy to transfer all of your contacts, documents, photos, videos, and files through Google. But, if you’re moving from an iPhone to an Android, you need to:
- Download Google Drive onto your iOS device
- Backup your data using this app
- Sign into your Google account on your new Android
- All content should transfer automatically
Step 2: Manage notifications
Once you’ve transferred over your data, you’ll no doubt receive notifications informing you about updates and changes. So you can focus on setting up the rest of your phone, we recommend you turn off any unwanted notifications.
You should also look at your notification sound settings. To do this go to:
Settings > Sound & vibration > Advanced > Other sounds and vibrations
From here, you should be able to see the noises your phone is permitted to make. Have a look through and turn off things that aren’t to your liking, such as vibrate or certain ringers. This will stop hundreds of banners and pings interfering with the rest of your setup.
Steps like this can differ depending on your model, so if the instructions above don’t work for you, you may need to refer to your manufacturer’s guide.
Step 3: Apps
If you didn’t move from another Android, chances are your apps might be a little muddled. Take some time to organise your apps, compile them into folders, and customise your home screen. A messy front screen might deter you from being able to set up the rest of your phone calmly and efficiently.
When you get an Android, you might see a load of applications already installed. Simply uninstall the ones you don’t want or need. This will free up space and help keep your Android running smoothly.
There are also Google-owned versions of common apps, rather than the ones installed automatically by the manufacturer (whether that be Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, Nokia, etc.). You can choose to delete the ones on your model and download Google’s version instead. For instance, Maps versus Google Maps are two different navigation apps, and you might prefer one over the other.
Step 4: Android Keyboard
On Androids, you can change and customise the appearance of your phone’s keyboard.
You might not like the look of the one installed by default, or want a keyboard with more shortcuts and larger letters. Whatever your preference, you can browse for a new keyboard style on the Google Play Store.
Once you’ve found one you like, simply download it and launch the setup.
Step 5: Create your shortcuts
If you know there are certain app features you’ll want to access more quickly, you can set them up as shortcuts. To add a shortcut:
- Hold an app. If the app has shortcuts, you’ll see a list
- Hold the shortcut you want
- Slide the shortcut to where you want it
- Let go to confirm
Step 6: Customise your home screen
Now you have most of what you need, you can start personalising your Android by customising widgets and apps.
To completely rearrange and reorganise your screens, you’ll need an Android launcher. Take a look on the Play Store to see which designs you like. A launcher acts as a replacement or second screen, so you can alter the interface of your Android to suit you.
Each device will have a different shortcut to allow editing of the homepage. Try holding down on your phone’s background wallpaper - this should allow you to alter the sizes, positions, and design of the apps on your screen.
Android tips and tricks
Your phone is basically ready to use now (except of course setting up Wi-Fi!). To get the most out of your mobile, here’s some of our top tips and tricks we bet you didn’t know you could do on an Android:
- If a friend or family member needs to use your phone for whatever reason, you can activate Guest Mode to block your emails and texts from coming through, so your private conversations remain out of sight
- Use your Android phone as a television screen by launching the Cast Screen feature
- If you forget to put your phone on charge and fall asleep, your Android will activate Doze mode, which automatically puts it into a sleep state so your morning alarm will still sound even if your battery is low
- You can set up notifications for when it’s time for you to leave the house. Whether this is for work in the morning or a reservation in the afternoon, your phone will use real-time traffic information to calculate your necessary departure time
- Use the Google Translate app and your phone’s camera to instantly translate text in more than 25 languages - signs, menus, books, and more
- You can use voice-commands for almost everything, from calling, dictating a text message, selecting music playlists, and organising your calendar
- Change the colour, text, font size, and more on your device to aid those with visibility difficulties
Check out some more features on Android’s most recent operating system, Android 11.
And that’s all for our beginner’s guide. Now your smartphone should be looking tip-top and personalised to your taste.