09/24/2012 07:39 pm ET

iPhone 5 Setup: Settings, Privacy Tweaks And More To Get Your New Phone Up And Running

An incredible 5 million people bought the iPhone 5 over the weekend, which means that, among other things, there are now more iPhone 5 owners in the world than there are people living in Ireland.

Yes, it's been a big sales week for Apple (and perhaps a humbling one for the Irish) in large part due to the appeal of the iPhone 5 to first-time iPhone buyers. If trade-in data and consumer surveys are accurate, a large bulk of new iPhone buyers are converts, those who have switched over from Android, BlackBerry, Palm Pilot, or (gasp!) phonelessness in favor of Apple's latest.

For those iPhone newcomers, the iPhone can seem -- despite Apple's ease-of-use claims -- a blank slate, a canvas where one can't know where to begin. For those struggling artists, we've put together this quickie guide to setting up the iPhone, along with some handy tips and tricks that iPhone veterans might find useful, too. This is by no means an exhaustive how-to -- Apple actually has a thorough section on its website for that -- but you will hopefully find a few neat tidbits that can help you get accustomed to your new iPhone.

With Ireland in the rear-view mirror, and Turkmenistan within sight, here are a few of the first things we would do with a new iPhone. Enjoy, and try not to waste too much of your time on Doodle Jumpy (I dare you).


Email setup is easy on the iPhone for almost every major service. Launch the "Settings" app, then flick down to "Mail, Contacts, and Calendars." From there, you can add several accounts; Apple automates the process for each different email provider, but basically you're going to have to enter your username, password, and a label for that mailbox that only you can see (I have two email addresses -- one personal, and one for work -- that I have labelled as "Personal" and "Work." Innovative, I know.)

There are a few other tweaks you might want to make in your email, too, while you're in the "Mails, Contacts, and Calendars" section of the iPhone. "Fetch New Data" will determine how often your iPhone checks for new emails: If "Push" is on, new emails will automatically load on your iPhone as soon as they arrive. While that's helpful for road warriors and email junkies (I'm looking at you, former BlackBerry owners), it can take a toll on your battery. If you don't need up-to-the-minute email, you can turn "Push" off and select "Fetch," which means that your iPhone will scan for new emails at regular intervals. If you choose "Manually" on that menu, your new email will only load when you touch the Mail app. That's a great boon to battery life, but you have to be prepared not to be the first of your friends to hear about the singles-only hot air balloon Groupon!

Speaking of which ...


The iPhone's iOS operating system now lets you sign in directly to your Facebook and Twitter accounts from a central location. That means you can share content from your phone to either social media service using the Share button you see on several core iPhone apps. You only have to log in to each service once to enable this function, and once you do, you can share your photos, videos, and interesting websites with a couple of taps.

To log in to either, open the Settings app and scroll down until you see the Twitter and Facebook island and then enter your account information. Both Twitter and Facebook will update the contacts in your address book with phone number and email information from friends on those services. You can disable that feature (which can, in fairness, clog up your address book if you have thousands of friends) by switching the Contacts slider in the Facebook pane to "Off."


"Find My iPhone" can be a godsend of an app if you lose your phone, and it's the first app you should download as soon as you get your iPhone. (Sorry, Doodle Jump.) With iCloud enabled (you should have created an iCloud account when you started your phone for the first time), Find My iPhone can track your phone to the cross street at all times, so that if you lose it, or it's stolen, or a magician makes it disappear and can't summon it back, you can just go online at and locate it on a map for easy retrieval. The New York Times' David Pogue recently used Find My iPhone to track his apparently stolen phone to a neighborhood in Maryland. I recently used the app to track my lost iPhone to the magazine rack next to my toilet. It's a life-saver, folks. (Read more about how to install Find My iPhone, and how it works, here.)


Don't want advertisers spying on your iPhone activity? A new feature on iOS 6 allows you to toggle off what Apple calls ad tracking. Go into Settings, then "About," then "Advertising," then switch the "Limit Ad Tracking" to the "On" position. Advertisers will no longer be able to serve targeted ads, nor will you be sending advertisers information about your movements and smartphone usage. Ad tracking isn't as nefarious as it sounds, but it is still a function that many privacy-conscious users will want to disable.


Speaking of privacy/security: You might want to "lock" your smartphone, just as you would your computer, so that busybodies, office gossips, and your mother can't go snooping through your photos and text messages whenever you put down your phone. Go to Settings, then General, then Passcode Lock to set one (just don't forget it!).


While you're in the General Settings section, you might also want to set your phone to auto-lock, which will turn off your smartphone's screen after a given interval of inactivity. (This is especially useful, I've found, if you put your phone in your pocket and forget to turn the screen off.) When your screen is powered on, it's eating up your battery, so it's wise to set up an interval that will power down the screen after a certain length of time. After accidentally leaving my screen on all night and missing my alarm clock in the morning because my iPhone's battery died, I set my auto-lock timer to two minutes.

That should give you a good start. Now run along and play with your new iPhone: You have neighbors to make jealous.



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