How to set up your new iPhone or iPad

How to set up your new iPhone or iPad

Gone are the days when you had to plug a new iPhone or iPad into iTunes in order to get started. Whether you're setting your new iPhone or iPad up as brand new, or you need to restore from an iCloud backup, we can walk you through every step of the way!

How to set up a new iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad as new

When you turn on your new iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you'll be greeted with a Lock screen that simply says "Hello" in many different languages. This is where we start the setup process. If you don't have an iCloud backup and need to start fresh, you'll want to follow this set of directions. If you're wanting to restore from iCloud, skip to the next section instead!

  1. After your iPhone or iPad powers on, you'll see a welcome screen. Slide your finger across the bottom where it says slide to set up.
  2. Now choose your language from the choices presented to you.
  3. Select the country or region you are in.
  4. Now choose your wifi network and enter the password for it if there is one. If you don't have access to WiFi or no networks are found, you can choose Use Cellular instead or wait until you're within range of an accessible wifi network. Your iPhone should activate. If it doesn't and you receive an error, be sure you have a valid SIM card installed.
  5. On the Location Services screen, choose whether you'd like to have location services on by default. Make sure you read the description of what location services are before deciding whether or not you'd like to enable or disable them. Keep in mind that certain apps like Maps need location services to operate properly.
  6. On the next screen, tap on Set up as New iPhone.
  7. Now choose to either sign in with an existing Apple ID or create a new, free one. If you don't want to do either right now or you don't have an Apple ID yet, you can tap on Skip This Step. You can always go back and create one or sign in from the Settings app at any time.
  8. Log in to your Apple ID on the next screen — if you didn't choose to skip that step. If you use two separate IDs for iCloud and iTunes, you can choose that option as well under the login by tapping on Use different Apple IDs for iCloud and iTunes.
  9. Agree to Apple's Terms and Conditions on the next screen. The following screen will ask you to confirm that you agree one more time.
  10. On the next screen, choose whether or not you want to use iCloud to access data on other iOS devices and to store your photos, contacts, and calendars.
  11. Now choose whether or not you'd like to enable Find My iPhone. We highly suggest that you do.
  12. The next screen lets you choose what phone numbers and emails associated with your Apple ID that you'd like to use on your new iPhone on conjunction with iMessage. Simply tap on them to enable or disable them. You can always change these choices later in the Settings app.
  13. Agree to another set of Terms and Conditions. Oddly enough, sometimes I see this set of conditions and sometimes I don't. So if you don't, just move on and don't worry about it.
  14. Choose whether or not you want to set up Touch ID now or later — you'll only see this step if you have a Touch ID capable device.
  15. Next you can Create a Passcode for your iPhone if you'd like. If not, just tap on Don't Add Passcode above the keypad. If you set up Touch ID, a passcode is mandatory.
  16. Now choose whether or not you'd like to activate Siri. We recommend enabling Siri unless you really have a reason not to.
  17. Lastly, choose whether or not you'd like your iPhone to send diagnostic information to Apple. Read the description before making your choice.
  18. On the Welcome to iPhone screen, just tap on Get Started and your iPhone Home screen will be displayed for the first time.

How to restore your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad from an iCloud backup

  1. After your iPhone or iPad powers on, you'll see a welcome screen, Slide your finger across the bottom where it says slide to set up.
  2. Now choose your language from the choices presented to you.
  3. Select the country or region you are in.
  4. Now choose your wifi network and enter the password for it if there is one. If you don't have access to wifi, you can choose Use Cellular but keep in mind, only some things in your iCloud backup will be restored without wifi. Others won't be triggered until you're on wifi. Or you can choose to restore from an iTunes backup if you have access to one.
  5. Now on the Location Services screen, choose whether you'd like to have location services on by default. Make sure you read the description of what location services are before deciding whether or not you'd like to enable or disable them. Keep in mind that certain apps like Maps need location services to operate properly.
  6. On the next screen, tap on Restore from iCloud backup and enter your credentials when asked.
  7. Now agree to the Terms and Conditions. You will be asked to verify that you agree to them a second time.
  8. If you have iCloud backups, your iPhone will now show them. Tap on the backup name that you'd like to restore from.

That's all there is to it. Your iPhone will begin restoring from your iCloud backup. Keep in mind that the more data you have, the longer it will take. iCloud will start by just restoring your system settings so you can start using your iPhone as soon as possible but apps, photos, videos, and other types of media may take a while to finish coming down from iCloud. Just be patient and if you have to jump off of wifi, no worries, iCloud will pick up right where it left off next time you are connected to wifi.

Once your iCloud settings have been restored, your device may ask you to set up Touch ID and a passcode where supported, since Touch ID specifically is never saved in a backup.

Note: Originally published September 2012. Updated September 2014.

Allyson Kazmucha

Help and how to editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to set up your new iPhone or iPad

16 Comments

I have set up iCloud on my iPhone but the app icon does not appear on my screen. How can I download the icon shortcut? Please help.

Unfortunately, you are very limited in what you can do with that backup. In fact, there is literally nothing you can do with an iCloud backup unless you restore the backup. This can be done, however, on any iOS device (as in iPhone, iPod, or iPad), that is at least the iOS version that the stolen device was on. For example, if the iPhone 4 was running iOS 6, you will only be able to restore to a iOS 6, or 6.1 device.

If you are on a Mac, you should have easy access to Calendars, Contacts, Notes, Reminders, and such data. If you are on a PC, you can access most of that by going to iCloud.com. This isn't really the data that you've backed up, though, and it's really data that is just "synced" through iCloud. Either way, Contacts, are typically pretty important.

If you own a Mac, you should be able to get your Photostream pictures by installing and opening Photostream. This doesn't capture videos, though.

If you do have an eligible iOS device that you can do a restore on, be sure to back up that device locally before wiping. It might also be advisable to make sure that device doesn't do a backup of the newly erased setup to iCloud. If you keep that iCloud account disabled on that device, you should have an easy restore from iCloud, and a backup in iTunes should something go wrong.
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The How to restore your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad from an iCloud backup shows how to restore for new iPhone but not after activated one.
I restored first from my computer which did not restore my apps and their folder properly. How can I use restore from iCloud after activating?

Hi! I am having the same issue and was wondering if you figured it out. I restored it as a new phone because I didn't have wireless access and now can't figure out how to sync it with the cloud. I would greatly appreciate any help!!
Alyssa

Hey guys - you actually have to reset the device in order to bring down a backup. Settings > general > reset > erase all content and settings

Then choose restore from backup and you'll be good

I need to know if you restore from back up with a new iCloud back up (july 12) but you want to restore from an older one that is still on there (July 3) because when I restored on July 3rd nothing restored, but when I did today with the newer version I didn't loose anything. So, if I re restore from the July 3rd one will I loose my July 12th one? My concern is if the July 3rd doesn't load everything again then can I go back to the newest one...or will it be gone? I lost all my game data and would love to have the years worth back, but I'd hate to loose the weeks worth that I have now by trying! Thank you!

I've tried managing my apps that get backed up to icloud to try to sync certain ones between my iphone and ipod, but the app settings don't seem to be syncing at all.

I've tried managing my apps that get backed up to icloud to try to sync certain ones between my iphone and iphone5
, but the app settings don't seem to be syncing at all.

I have not backed up for months due to lack of space and am now in the process of trying to delete my previous back up to create space for new back up as about to upgrade my phone and would like to restore with iCloud. I have tried deleting the back up and I get a message saying 'unable to delete as iCloud is in use'. Please help

I'd suggest getting a new iCloud account every time you upgrade your device. Not that you'd really need more than one, but just in case. (Or for testing apps etc. if you're a developer.) Then just reset the device and set it up with your "main" iCloud account if you already have one.

Allyson,

Since I have about 32GB of data on my 64GB iPhone 5, when I “get started” with my iPhone 6 this Friday, should I connect (USB) it to my iTunes account to restore from iCloud for a faster set up or just let it use iCloud via wireless WiFi?