iOS 8: How to Set Up Your New iPad or iPhone - Those Questions!

Introduction for the Beginner

When you take that new iPhone or iPad out of box, it's very exciting. The device is amazingly thin and beautiful. But then, when you first turn it on, you'll face a multitude of possibly challenging questions. I'll walk you through those questions with a beginner perspective and a very conservative approach.


Of course, if you're an experienced Apple customer or you've already configured an iPhone or iPad, you've done this before. This tutorial is aimed at those who are new to the Apple world. Perhaps all you've ever used is a PC and/or an Android smartphone, and the many questions Apple asks during the set up will be new to you.

Not to worry. Just about all these settings can be changed after your iPad or iPhone is up and running. Even so, you may make a choice and never revisit it again, so it's good to know what these questions imply out of the box.

In the sequence below, I am showing an iPad. Everything is pretty much the same for an iPhone. To make getting started easy, you must be within range of a Wi-Fi network and also have an account with Apple, called an Apple ID. If you don't have an Apple ID, create one now from a Mac or a PC. It's a very easy, safe and secure process. Make sure you preserve the user name and password you create.

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Let's Play 20 Questions! Well, Almost

The iPad on/off switch is on the top right. Press it and hold for just a few seconds and let go. You'll see a white Apple logo on the display, then a welcome greeting in multiple languages. At the botton of the display, swipe (slide) your finger to the right to get started.

1. Language Choice. Pick the language you want to use with your iPad. This is one of the easiest questions you'll get. Don't tap the word. Instead tap the small gray ">" symbol on the right.

2. Select Your Country or Region. The United States is at the top, likely because you bought the iPad in the United States. Otherwise touch the display on the left edge and drag it upwards to see more choices.


Next page: Choose a Wi-Fi Network

Page 2 - Choose a Wi-Fi Network


3. Choose a Wi-Fi Network. An iPad cannot be used without some kind of network connection. Typically, you'll be setting it up at work or at home, and the iPad initially expects to see a Wi-Fi network. (Typically, home users have, say, a wireless router.) The iPad will look for a local network automatically and display what it found. (Even those iPads with a cellular capability need to be configured later.) Make sure you know the Wi-Fi network name you want to use and its password.

This is necessary because most of the iPad's activity is on a network, and the first order of business is to get connected.

4. Location Services. You should "Enable Location Services" for starters. It allows the iPad to locate you on a map, it allows itself to be found with "Find my iPad," and is useful for many important services. There's no need to be so paranoid that you don't want your iPad to know where it is. Apple is trustworthy here.

5. Set Up iPad. For customers buying their first iPad, the top option will be the one to select. "Set Up as New iPad." Down the road, you may have occasion to restore an iPad from a backup. You can ignore those restore options for now.

7. Sign in with your Apple ID. Here's where you'll sign in with your Apple ID and password. You get a note that says it may take a few minutes to set up your Apple ID. Be patient.

Next page: Terms and Conditions

Page 3 - Terms and Conditions


8. Terms and Conditions. It's always a good idea to be aware of a company's Terms and Conditions that you are agreeing to. But you're eager to start using your iPad, so the best advice I have is to scan briefly if you wish, click the words "send by Email" in blue at the top, and read them later. Then click "Agree" at the bottom right. Apple is reasonable and isn't known for deceptive language.

9. iCloud. Go ahead and select "Use iCloud." It's used for various syncing tasks. For example, if you have a Mac, you can sync your calendars, contacts list, notes and reminders. If you only have a PC with iTunes, you can still sync music. If you elect to back up your iPad to Apple's iCloud, this must be on. Perhaps most importantly, this allows your iPad to be found if it's lost or stolen.

10. iCloud Drive. I recommend this be left off for now. The technical reasons are beyond the scope of this tutorial. Later, when you know more about iCloud Drive, you may elect to turn it on. Respond "Not Now."

Note that Apple, the master of the unambiguous dialog boxes, hosed this one up. To confirm that you DO NOT want iCloud drive, select "Continue" when prompted.

11. iMessage and FaceTime. This page is just a confirmation page of the information you provided when you set up your Apple ID. If it's not right, you'll have to log on to your Apple ID (later) and correct the contact information. It specifies how you can be contacted with FaceTime and messages. Tap "Next" at the top right.

Next page: Create a Passcode

Page 4 - Create a Passcode


12. Create a passcode. You should absolutely create a passcode for your iPad. The iPad will ask you to enter it twice for confirmation. Do this because if the iPad is lost or stolen, your sensitive information in the contacts list, calendar and perhaps credit card information will be protected. If you plan to use Touch ID and Apple Pay (only on iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2), a password will be required. Start with four digits and seriously consider making it stronger after the set up is complete.

13. iCloud Keychain. I don't recommend this for beginners. Later, when you've studied the iCloud Keychain and understand that all your sensitive, perhaps financial, passwords are stored on Apple's servers, (albeit encrypted) you may want to turn it on for convenience across multiple devices. For now, select "Set up Later."

14. Siri. You'll want to turn this on. "Use Siri." There's very little risk yet there are significant advantages. Siri is a voice recognition assistant that can save you lots of typing. Siri is fun and helpful to use. (Later, you can change Siri to a male voice if desired.)

15. Diagnostics. This is completely optional for new users. Apple tracks software bugs and how we use our iPads (without invading privacy) to make its products better. There is no known harm when sharing diagnostics, but if you're on the paranoid side or just not sure, set it to "Don't Send" for now.

16. Welcome to iPad. The last screen you'll see is "Welcome to iPad." Tap "Get Started" and you'll be dropped into the iPad's or iPhone's home page. There you can explore the various pre-installed applications (apps) and review all the choices you made in the "Settings" app. That's the one with the gear icon.

Now that you've run the gauntlet of not quite 20 questions, you're ready to enjoy your iPad.

iOS 8: the default home page after first setup. (iPad)

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