10 Things To Do First With Your iPhone 5

BY Tris Hussey

Published 28 Nov 2012

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You just got your shiny new iPhone 5. What should you do first to make it yours? Here are 10 things we think you should start off with to get you rocking your phone.

If you’re starting off with a back up from another iPhone, then some of these settings will be all set for you, but they are worth touching and checking anyway. In fact, here’s how to set up your new iPhone 5 using iCloud backup to make things smooth and easy. If this is a new device for you (or you decided to just start from scratch), these are a few things to get you started off right.

Connect to the Internet and check for updates

By this point, an iPhone 5 you get today should have iOS 6.0.1 on it, but you never know. So, go to Settings -> WiFi and connect up to your network. Then go back to the main settings screen and tap General and then Software Update. If you’re updating to iOS 6.0.1, it will take an extra (simple) step and you’ll be done.

Make the homescreen your own

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Don’t just keep the default apps on the screen! Move them around! Make folders! Just press and hold any app until it starts wiggling (or dancing, whatever you’d like to call it) and then you can drag apps from one screen to another or drag one app onto another to make a “folder”. Here are some tips from Mike Vardy on getting custom to match with productive.

Set up Mail and Contacts

Make sure your’e getting your email on your device and then get those contacts in too! If you’ve been using Gmail you can import those contacts. If you’ve been keeping your Mac address book up to date and iCloud is turned on there, then your contacts will start populating on your phone automatically.

Set your Favorites for the Phone App

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Once your Contacts have been updated, the easiest way to set Favorites is to go to that contact’s card and tap “Add to Favorites”. It’s easier than doing it through the Phone app. This is important for setting up Do Not Disturb so that those people can call you and your phone will ring through regardless.

Turn on iCloud services

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You’ve signed in with your Apple ID, now go to Settings -> iCloud and turn on the various services to sync up Calendars, Contacts, Reminders, Safari tabs, and the rest across all your devices and your Mac.

Turn on Find My iPhone


This also in the iCloud settings, but it’s so important it gets a line of its own. You’ll have to download the app too, but this is a crucial step to take. Find your misplaced phone, remotely lock it, or remotely wipe it. A crucial (and free) security tool for your phone.

Turn on iCloud Backups

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Also under the iCloud settings, and also important enough to mention on its own. You get 5GB of space for free with your iCloud/Apple ID account, if you only have one iOS device, start it backing up to the cloud. It’s important to know that your phone will only back up when it’s plugged in and locked. Here’s everything you need to know about iCloud Backup.

Turn on Automatic Downloads of books, apps, and music

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Save connecting your phone to iTunes every time you buy an app, song, or book on your computer. With these turned on the new stuff will just automatically appear on your phone! Optional, depending on your data plan, letting things download over cell data.

Set your Do Not Disturb Automatic Schedule

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Go to Settings -> Notifications, then Do Not Disturb. Turn on the automatic schedule to have your phone not bug you in the middle of the night with the latest Facebook and Twitter posts your friends are sending (not to mention emails and other things you don’t need to know about). Make sure you turn on allowing calls from your Favorites so you don’t miss important calls. For more on Notifications (and the love-hate relationship we all have with them), we have the how to on Notifications here too.

Set up Twitter and Facebook

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Set up your Twitter and Facebook accounts on your phone and download the apps. Oversharing made easy! Just go to their sections of Settings and sign in.

Bonus 1: Change the default wallpapers, ringtone, and alerts

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Pick something new and interesting for your wallpaper and choose a different ringtone—or make your own!

Bonus 2: Set up iMessage

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Don’t forget, you can send SMS-like messages through iMessage (and pictures and video) over the Internet. You just have to get iMessage set up and you’re ready!

Updates…Siri and Jailbreaking

If you didn’t turn Siri on when you first turned on your phone, now is the time to try! Siri is found Settings -> General -> Siri. You can turn Siri on and off there, as well as a few other settings (there aren’t many).

Couple things related to Siri, if you don’t want Siri (or Passbook) to be available on the Lock Screen, this is how you can disable it. If you’re still unsure of what Siri can do for you, check out our post on bending Siri to your will.

This brings us to the subject of jailbreaking. We didn’t include it on the list, because right now there is no jailbreak for the iPhone 5, but keep tabs on our jailbreak section for all the latest updates. Remember, that if you want to jailbreak, it’s also recommended to avoid upgrading to the latest version of iOS until there is a jailbreak ready for it—and ready for your device. It is also recommended to take a back up your SHSH blobs using TinyUmbrella.

Anything I missed?