How to activate a new iPhone

How to activate a new iPhone

What does the new iPhone look like when you turn it on for the first time.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The first time I bought a new phone and activated it at home was about ten years ago, and I was amazed at how difficult the process was when I did it myself instead of going to the store. Since then, I’ve only had phones this way, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back.

Before the DIY era, setting up and activating a new phone was reserved for phone company employees.

Buying a new phone was about as close as buying a new car: You could save up for it, search for weeks (or months), then go to an authorized retailer, and spend the better part of an afternoon in between making small talk with someone. A sales clerk and signing agreements, to come up with something shiny new – albeit poorer.

also: Which iPhone is right for you?

Nowadays, the process is as simple as buying it online from a retailer and following a few prompts to set it up. We’ll walk you through the steps of setting up a new iPhone and how to troubleshoot any snags along the way.

How to activate a new iPhone

Well, get excited. Here’s the best part: unbox your new iPhone and discover all the goodies inside with your shiny new phone. Well, it’s just a charging cable.

also: How to tell if a Lightning charging cable is fake

Next, turn on your new iPhone by pressing and holding the Power button on the right side of the device. The word “Hello” in different languages ​​will appear on the screen. Simply swipe up on the screen to open the setup guide.

Hand holding phone with Apple logo

The Apple logo appears on startup.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

If you already have an iPhone that you’re trading in, Apple gives you the option to set up the new one automatically by holding the old one near the new one.

Option to quick start or setup manually

Quick start or manual setup.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Select your Wi-Fi if you are in range of one. If your iPhone has a SIM card, this is when it should successfully connect to your cellular network. The new iPhone 14 lineup Only eSIM is usedAnd, depending on the carrier, your phone may prompt you to activate your eSIM.

also: eSIM vs SIM Card: What’s the Difference?

Then, follow the instructions to continue activating your new iPhone.

My carrier is Mint Mobile, which supports eSIM. However, I had to skip the cellular network connection and activate the eSIM via the Mint Mobile app. When I did that the app said this service is not available. If you have Mint Mobile, you may have to contact customer service to have them send you an email to activate your eSIM.

You can also learn How do you transfer your number? To one of the new iPhones with eSIM only.

Data & privacy section in iPhone setup

After joining the Wi-Fi network, tap Data & privacy info.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Face ID uses facial recognition to unlock your iPhone, use Apple Pay, sign into apps, and make other purchases and downloads without having to enter your passcode, or password if signed into apps.

Setting up Face ID involves allowing your iPhone to use its TrueDepth camera mechanism on the notch or notch Dynamic Island on your iPhone to recognize your facial features.

At this point, you can also set up a passcode to unlock your iPhone.

Face ID section in iPhone setup

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Your new iPhone is a clean slate, so you’ll have the option to use a backup, another phone, or skip it altogether. Here are the options for transferring apps and data:

  • Restore from iCloud Backup: An iCloud backup can easily transfer most of your information, apps, and media.
  • Restore from a Mac or PC: Usually people use computer backup for iPhone media.
  • Transfer directly from iPhone: This option allows you to use your old iPhone to transfer data and apps to the new one, simply by allowing the action on your old phone and keeping them close together.
  • Transfer data from Android: if I were One of many who make the switch From Android phone to iPhone, select this option and follow the steps to Transfer your data from Android for your new phone.
  • Don’t move apps and data: This option allows you to start from scratch, without transferring any of your previous data to your new iPhone.

also: How to backup your iPhone using iCloud or Mac

Transfer data in iPhone setting

Choose a method to start using previously backed up data.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The Apple ID is how you sign into everything related to Apple. If you are a new iPhone user, you can click “Forgot your password or don’t have an Apple ID” to create an Apple ID. Everything you do on your iPhone, iPad, iCloud, and all Apple products will be associated with your Apple ID.

After signing in with your Apple ID, you can proceed to follow the prompts to allow automatic updates and set up iMessage, FaceTime, and Location Services.

Setting up Siri can help the intelligent voice assistant learn how your voice pronounces different phrases, so the new iPhone will prompt you to read out a few phrases to Siri, such as “What’s the weather like today?” and others.

also: How to change Siri’s voice

Move full popup for iPhone

Maria Diaz/ZDNET


Do I need to contact my carrier to activate a new iPhone?

You don’t usually need to contact your carrier to help you activate your new iPhone, but it depends on the carrier. When you buy a new iPhone from your carrier, like Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile, it will easily connect to the cellular network upon setup. If you purchased it directly from Apple, you’ll have the option to choose a phone company from a list of a few or choose to set it up later.

How do I activate an eSIM?

The eSIM can usually be activated upon setup, but if you were having problems connecting to your cellular network when initially setting up your new iPhone, you can skip this step and terminate it later.

As I mentioned above, I use Mint Mobile, so when I get iPhone 14 Pro Max From Apple, I chose to set up a phone company later, since Mint wasn’t an option. Once I received my iPhone and set it up, I was unable to activate the eSIM at setup, so I skipped this step and once the iPhone turned on I followed these steps:

  1. go to the settings
  2. Choose cellular
  3. tap on Set up the cell phone

I had to chat with Mint customer service because eSIM activation was disabled on the Mint Mobile app, but they sent me an activation email within 24 hours.

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