iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad starters guide

Just get a new iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad? TiPb's here to help you get updated, get up to speed, get apps and games, get accessories, and get going as fast as possible!

Did you just get a new iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or even Apple TV for Christmas? Did that someone special leave it under the tree or in the stocking, or did you just decide you were giving yourself a present this year? Either way, once you're powered up and ready to go you might just be wondering what to do next? Don't worry TiPb's got your back!

Before we start, if any of the terms below are unfamiliar you can find descriptions in our handy glossary:

Get unpacked

If you've never had an iPhone before there are a few very useful accessories that come in the box, and a some buttons and ports on the iPhone 4 itself that you should become familiar with.

Get set up

Once you've unpacked, grab the Apple USB cable that came with your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and plug the dock connector into your device and the USB connector into your Mac or Windows PC. If iTunes doesn't launch automatically, launch it by clicking on the icon.

If your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad wasn't activated for you at an Apple or carrier store, it won't even boot up completely until you do this. (Lame, we know.)

Once plugged into iTunes your device will be detected and displayed in the sidebar, and you'll be asked to register it with Apple. If you have a MobileMe, iTunes Store, or other form of Apple ID you can log in with it and your information should pop up for you to check over. Either type it out or accept it and you're good to go!

If you're upgrading from a previous generation iPhone or iPod touch, iTunes will detect any backups you might have made and offer to restore your data for you. For example, if you're moving from an iPhone 3GS to an iPhone 4, iTunes can setup your new phone to pretty much match your old. If you don't want to do this, or if you don't have any backups, iTunes will set up your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad as new.

iPad note: If you're setting up an iPad we don't recommend using an iPhone or iPod touch backup as a restore point because in our experience it can make things glitchy. Set it up as new now and save yourself some headaches later.

Get updated

Depending on when exactly your new iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad was manufactured and shipped, it's possible that it may have an older version of the software, iOS. The current version is 4.2.1 so if iTunes detects iOS 4.1 or earlier it will offer to update it for you.

Jailbreak note: If you intend to Jailbreak your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad you probably don't want to update the software. Jailbreaks typically work better and more easily on older software. If Jailbreak is something you're interested in, skip this step and check out our Jailbreak Starter Guide, and then come back here and continue.

iOS 4.2 for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV now available!

Get informed

If you're brand new to iPhone or iPod touch take a moment and check out our iOS 4 walkthrough. It covers all the basics about multitasking, folders, etc. If you're upgrading, check out our iOS 4.2 walkthrough for highlights of what's new in the latest software. For new iPad owners, our iOS 4.2 for iPad walkthrough is a must-read. If you're in a rush and just want to get started now, now, now, check out our "everything you need to know in 10 minutes" videos.

Get tips and tricks

Whether you're a beginner, a techie, or a flat out ninja, there are always new tips and tricks coming out for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Out daily tips cover everything from the most basic features to most advanced hacks, and our how-tos provide in-depth video and screenshot walkthroughs to help you get more out of your device. We've also got weekly podcasts, iPhone Live! and iPad Live! if you prefer audio, and a new video show, TiPb TV if you prefer to watch along!

TiPb TV 8: Is MobileMe worth it?

Get apps and games

There are hundreds of thousands of iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad apps in the iTunes App Store and more and more of them have now been updated to really show off things like the new Retina Display graphics, iPad screen size, and multitasking. We're keeping track of them in our Apps section which is full of the latest news and reviews. We've also broken down our top 10 best apps apps and games for both iPhone and iPad to get you started.

Best iPad apps: Angry Birds HD

Get accessories

Every Apple device looks the same and every Apple Store sells the same stuff. If you're wanting something different -- a splash of color, a bit of style, a new look, check out the TiPb iPhone + iPad accessory store, and regardless of where you shop, check out our accessory reviews for all the pros, cons, and ratings. We've also put together our top 10 best accessory lists for iPhone and iPad.

Get talking, get help

If you just want to talk about your new iPhone 4, iPod touch, iPad, or Apple TV and all those apps and accessories, or if you need help getting started (or to trouble-shoot bugs), or advice and recommendations, we have the best community on the web waiting for you (yes, you!): TiPb Forums. We've even got a Jailbreak Forum if you're curious and want to more about taking your iPhone into expert mode.

Get more!

Still not enough? Check out the other posts. We've got contests and give-aways, polls and award votes, bug fixes and how tos, and much, much more. Bookmark TiPb now and come back often, we want to hear from you!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 9 comments. Add yours.

Luis says:

how comes sometimes, u make me click "read more" for very short stories and u just posted a whole page in the main menu

Chip chipperson says:

Merry christmas. I had a new iPad under the tree this morning!

TX Mike says:

How to redeem that gift card on your device:
Through iTunes Store app on your device:
Select the Music tab on the bottom menu.
Scroll to the bottom of the featured Albums and you will see a Redeem icon (as the last album on the list).
Click on Redeem.
Type in the promo code or iTunes gift card number in the text field and click redeem in the top right corner.

Marksy says:

New iPod touch 4G! Woop Woop!

jane says:

new ipod make me easy to for surf, go go apple

Dewan says:

Hi I have a factory unlocked iphone 3gs 8gb and it's brand new. It's my first iphone so I am wondering if it is ok if I update my iphone using IPSW restore file. I mean is it safe to update iphone using IPSW restore file? I have downloaded the new iOS 4.2.1 IPSW file from the internet. Thanks.

Brian says:

I am converting from Ipod Touch to IPAD. Can I up-convert my apps to the IPAD version with out having to pay for the app a second time? Most of my IPOD Touch paid apps are available in IPAD version.HELP!!

Mike Lee says:

I got IPhone, yesterday. Can i use Korean Word? Iphone set only
English, Spainsh.