How to activate a new iPhone

How to activate a new iPhone

This is what a new iPhone looks like when it is first turned on.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The first time I bought and activated a new phone at home was about ten years ago and I was amazed at how painless the process was when I did it myself instead of going to a store. I’ve only gotten phones this way since then, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back.

Before the DIY era, setting up and activating a new phone was the job of phone company employees.

Buying a new phone was akin to buying a new car: you would save for it, do weeks (or months) of research, then go to an authorized dealer and spend the better part of an afternoon making small talk with a sales rep and contract signer, to walk out with a shiny new thing – albeit a little poorer.

Likewise: Which iPhone is right for you?

Nowadays, the process is as simple as buying online from a retailer and following a few set up instructions. We’ll walk you through the steps to set up a new iPhone and troubleshoot any roadblocks along the way.

How to activate a new iPhone

OK, be happy. That’s the best part: unpack your new iPhone and discover all the goodies packed into your shiny new phone. That’s right, it’s just a charging cable.

Likewise: How to tell if your Lightning charging cable is fake

Next, turn on your new iPhone by pressing and holding the power button on the right side of the device. The word “Hello” appears on the screen in different languages. Just swipe up on the screen to open the setup guide.

Hand holding phone with Apple logo

The Apple logo appears at startup.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

If you already had an iPhone that you want to replace, Apple gives you the option to automatically set up the new one by holding the old device near the new one.

Option for quick start or manual setup

Quick start or manual setup.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Select your Wi-Fi network when you’re within range of one. If your iPhone has a SIM card, this is when it should successfully connect to your cellular network. The new iPhone 14 range only uses eSIM, and depending on your carrier, your phone may ask you to activate your eSIM.

Likewise: eSIM vs SIM: what’s the difference?

After that, follow the prompts to proceed with activating your new iPhone.

My phone operator is Mint Mobile which supports eSIM. However, I had to skip the cellular network connection and activate my eSIM through the Mint mobile app. When I did this, the app said that this service was not available. If you have Mint Mobile, you may need to contact customer service to have them email you for your eSIM activation.

You can also learn how to transfer your number to any of the new iPhones with eSIM only.

Data & Privacy section of iPhone setup

After joining a Wi-Fi network, tap through the data and privacy information.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Face ID uses facial recognition to unlock your iPhone, use Apple Pay, sign in to apps, and make other purchases and downloads without having to enter your passcode or, if you’re signing in to apps, your password.

Setting up Face ID requires your iPhone to use its TrueDepth camera mechanism on the notch or dynamic island on your iPhone to learn your facial features.

At this point, you can also set up a passcode to unlock your iPhone.

Face ID section of iPhone setup

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Your brand new iPhone is a clean slate, giving you the option of using a backup, another phone, or skipping altogether. Here are the options to transfer apps and data:

  • Restore from iCloud backup: An iCloud backup can easily transfer most of your information, apps and media.
  • Recovery from Mac or PC: People usually use computer backup for iPhone’s media.
  • Transfer directly from iPhone: With this option, you can use your old iPhone to transfer the data and apps to the new one simply by allowing the action on your older phone and keeping both close to each other.
  • Move data from Android: If you are among the many who are switching from an Android phone to an iPhone, choose this option and follow the steps to transfer your data from Android to your new phone.
  • Do not transfer apps and data: This option allows you to start over without transferring your previous data to your new iPhone.

Likewise: Here’s how to back up your iPhone to iCloud or Mac

Transfer data in iPhone setup

Choose one of the ways to start with your previously backed up data.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

An Apple ID is the way to sign in to all things Apple. If you are new to iPhones, you can tap “Forgot your password or don’t have an Apple ID” to create an Apple ID. Everything you do on your iPhone, iPad, iCloud and all Apple products is linked to your Apple ID.

After signing in with your Apple ID, you can follow the prompts to allow automatic updates, set up iMessage, FaceTime, and location services.

Setting up Siri allows the intelligent voice assistant to learn how your voice says different phrases, so your new iPhone will prompt you to read Siri a few phrases, such as: B. “How is the weather today?”. and other.

Likewise: How to change Siri’s voice

Transfer Complete popup for iPhone

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

frequently asked Questions

Do I need to call my carrier to activate a new iPhone?

You usually don’t need to call your phone provider to help you activate your new iPhone, but it depends on the provider. When you buy a new iPhone from your phone company like Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile, it simply connects to the cellular network during setup. Buying it direct from Apple gives you the option to choose a phone carrier from a list of a few companies, or set one up later.

How do I activate an eSIM?

An eSIM can usually be activated during setup, but if you’re having trouble connecting to your cellular network when setting up your new iPhone for the first time, you can skip this step and complete it later.

As I mentioned above I use Mint Mobile so when I got mine iPhone 14 pro max from Apple I decided to set up a phone provider later as Mint wasn’t one of the options. After receiving and setting up my iPhone I was unable to activate the eSIM during setup so I skipped that step and once the iPhone was up and running I followed these steps:

  1. Go to settings
  2. Choose cellular
  3. Tap on Set up cellular

I had to chat with Mint customer service because eSIM activation was disabled in the Mint mobile app, but they sent me an activation email within 24 hours.

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