Setting up a new iPhone/iPad? A brief How-To…

Back in 2010, I had listed out some of the apps I was using and recommended the same. A lot has evolved since. It’s not just the apps, its also the devices that have changed giving rise to better and more powerful apps. I will try to cover the basic setup options for a new iDevice running iOS 7. iOS is currently at version 7.1.1 and, ideally, one should upgrade to this version, if not already on it.

I will focus on the iPhone here since that is the most commonly used iDevice. Most of the following also applies to the iPad. You can find tutorials for the iDevices on Apple’s site as well as YouTube, if needed.

Setting up the iPhone

The first thing you would need is an Apple ID. Without and Apple ID, you cannot download any content including applications, books, music etc.

The initial setup on any iDevice will guide you through the process of creating your Apple ID. In case you want to create an Apple ID without associating a credit card with it, then, do not create an Apple ID during the iDevice setup. There are 2 ways of creating an Apple ID without having to attach a credit card. Both approaches are similar and can be performed on the device or any Mac/Windows system running the latest iTunes. You can always attach a credit card later, if needed.

On the iDevice, run the AppStore application. Alternatively, run iTunes on your Mac/Windows system. Then, search for and try to download any free app like FaceBook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn etc. You will be prompted for your Apple ID to download the free app and will be given an option to create a new ID in case you do not have one already. This is where you can create a new Apple ID without associating a credit card. When you create an Apple ID while trying to download a free app, you will not have to associate a credit card with your ID.

There is one difference on any new iDevice. Apple has made its Office Suite, consisting of Pages (wordprocessor), Numbers (spreadsheet) and Keynote (presentations) as well as iPhoto and iMovie, free for all newly registered iDevices. So, when you run the AppStore on any new iDevice, you will be asked to download these apps for free. You can download them when prompted, or, do that later. These are large apps, around 200-300 Mb each.

A new feature that was added to iOS 7 is called the “Keychain“. This allows you to save credit card as well as login and password information in sync across all your devices using the same Apple ID. This is a fairly buggy feature and I would not recommend enabling or using it for now even if you have a single device.


Once you have your iPhone activated and have an Apple ID, run the Settings app on the iPhone and check the following settings to make sure they are in line with what you would want to have.


Connect to all the networks you have access to. Switch if off in case you are not using it.


In case you do not use it, switch it off


In case you have issues with the signal strength or calls dropping, switch off the “Enable 3G“. Remember to switch it on later!

Set your “Personal Hotspot” password as needed

You can also monitor and disable mobile data for apps as needed

Notification Centre

Notifications, by default, are not enabled for email. You can enable email notifications and customize them for individual email accounts, as desired.

SMS alarms, by default, sound twice. You can change the number of times you wish to be reminded of unread messages here.

Do Not Disturb

You can set a scheduled DND mode. For example, you can set it to start at 11 pm and end at 7 am. During these hours, the iDevice will make no sound. You can allow calls from all on your Favourites list or all Contacts during this period.


As the name suggests, the “General” option has quite a few sub-options that can be tweaked.


Turn off in case you do not use Siri.


Look at the options under this. You might want to customize or tweak some settings hidden here.

Background App Refresh

Unless you have a specific reason for using this setting, turn it off. It will cause battery drain and use mobile data.


Set as desired. I set it for 3 minutes on the iPhone and 5 minutes on the iPad.


You can add more keyboards. For example Emoji, and setup typing shortcuts here.

Do check the “Date & Time” and “International” options to ensure that they are set as desired.

Touch ID & Passcode

Ideally, make sure you have set a passcode. You can enable complex passwords from here besides some other related options.


Make sure your default iCloud account is setup here. Check the options and set them as needed.

Mail, Contacts, Calendars

This is where you can set up all your additional email accounts. By default, any Exchange and Outlook accounts will get email only for the past 1 week. You can change this once you have set up the email account. Push notifications are not supported for Gmail accounts (Apple’s engineers have yet to figure this out this complex issue). If all you really need is Gmail, then, don’t bother setting up the email account here. Just get the Google Gmail client or one of the many free ones that support Gmail push notifications.

Ideally, keep the “Contacts” sync option only on one email account, otherwise you might get duplicates in your address book.

Once you have setup your email accounts, check the “Default Account” to make sure it is the one that you want to send email from.

The other option to look at here is “Sort Order” under “Contacts“. Change to “First, Last” if needed.


Make sure “iMessage” is enabled. Ideally, also enable “Send Read Receipts” and “Send as SMS” here. The other options can be configured as needed.

The “block” option that you see here and two other places are actually the same.


Like with Messages, make sure that FaceTime is enabled. The other options can be configured as needed.

An important thing to keep in mind for users in India is that the Messages and FaceTime activation is done by sending an SMS to the UK. This means that you must have international SMS enabled on your SIM and you will be charged for these international SMSs. This is a one time process which will happen on a new iPhone or if you reset the iPhone as set it up as a fresh phone.

Twitter, Facebook, Flickr & Vimeo

Setup your logins for these integrated services as needed.

Recommended Applications

This is a short list of applications to get you started on your new iDevice. I will be talking only of free apps here and not any paid ones. The iTunes stores in India and the US offer a free single track every Tuesday. The US store also offers an eBook on a weekly basis for free. These freebies will allow you to figure out the quality of the music and eBooks that you can purchase.

Apps from Apple and Built-in Apps

  • FaceTime and Messages – These are built-in apps on all current iDevices. FaceTime also has an audio only mode since iOS 7. Keep in mind that FaceTime and Messages need to be activated, via Settings, before they can be used.
  • iBooks – iBooks is an amazing way to download and read books. iBooks includes the iBooks Store, where you can download the latest best-selling books or your favourite classics — day or night. Browse your library on a beautiful bookshelf, tap a book to open it, flip through pages with a swipe or a tap, and bookmark or add notes to your favourite passages.
  • iTunes U – The iTunes U app gives you access to complete courses from leading universities and other institutions — plus the world’s largest digital catalogue of free education content — all from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Whether you’re studying molecular biology at university, learning Spanish at school or just interested in European history, you now have a valuable tool to help you learn anytime, anywhere.
  • Podcasts – Introducing the all-new Podcasts app, an amazing way to discover, subscribe to and play your favourite podcasts. Explore hundreds of thousands of free audio and video podcasts in the Featured tab, or browse Top Charts to see what’s hot right now. Add your favourite podcasts to personal stations that stay up to date when new episodes become available. You can sync playlists from iTunes, or create an On-The-Go playlist to play just the episodes you want. iCloud keeps your subscriptions, stations and play position in sync across all your devices, computers and Apple TV.
  • Find My Friends – Find My Friends allows you to easily locate friends and family using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Just install this free app and sign in with the Apple ID you use with iCloud. Adding a friend is easy — just choose from your contacts or provide an email address to send an invitation. When your friend accepts your invitation using the Find My Friends app on their device, you can start following their location. Your friends can request to follow your location the same way.
  • Find My iPhone – If you misplace your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, the Find My iPhone app will let you use another iOS device to find it and protect your data. Simply install this free app on another iOS device, open it, and sign in with the Apple ID you use for iCloud. Find My iPhone will help you locate your missing device on a map, remotely lock it, play a sound, display a message, or erase all the data on it.
  • Apple Remote – Remote is designed to be in perfect sync with iTunes. With just a few taps on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, you can play iTunes Radio from anywhere in your home. Choose playlists, songs and albums as if you were in front of your computer or Apple TV. Or play them from iCloud with iTunes Match on Apple TV. Control your Apple TV with the flick of your finger or use the keyboard to quickly tap out a title instead of clicking letters on the Apple TV screen.

Apps from Google

  • Google Maps – Real maps from Google. Apple maps remain a disaster since iOS 6. The newly designed Google Maps app for iPhone and iPad makes navigating your world faster and easier. Find the best spots in town and the information you need to get there.
  • YouTube – YouTube your way. Get the official YouTube app for iPhone and iPad. Instantly become the DJ, learn Kung Fu and easily share with friends. Catch up on your favorite videos and playlists from around the world on the couch, in the kitchen or on the go.
  • YouTube Capture – Create videos worth sharing – on the go. Start recording in a snap, then edit and share videos of any length right from your device.
  • Google Search – The best of Google in one app. Say “Ok Google” and find everything from nearby restaurants to the calories in cheesecake. Google also shows you the info you need before you ask, like updates on your favorite teams and traffic alerts.
  • Hangouts – Google+ Hangouts is a messaging app that lets you send and receive messages, photos and videos, animated stickers, and even start free video calls – one-to-one or with a group!
  • Google+ – Stay connected and share life as it happens with Google+ for iPhone and iPad. Join a Hangout, post a photo or see what friends are sharing while you’re on the go.
  • Google Drive – Google Drive is one safe place for all your stuff. Upload photos, videos, documents and other files that are important to you, then access what you need wherever you go, on any device. Get going with up to 15 GB of storage. Free.
  • Google Docs – Create, edit & collaborate with others on documents from your iPod, iPhone, or iPad with the free Google Docs app.
  • Google Sheets – Create, edit & collaborate with others on spreadsheets from your iPod, iPhone, or iPad with the free Google Sheets app.
  • QuickOffice – This free app from Google lets you create and edit Microsoft® Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations on your iPhone and iPad. Once you sign in with your Google Account, work can be saved in Google Drive, which gives you up to 15GB of free storage and lets you access your files from any mobile device or computer.
  • Chrome – Browse fast on your iPhone and iPad with the Google Chrome browser that you love on desktop. Pick up where you left off on your other devices, search by voice and save up to 50% of data usage while browsing.

Apps from Yahoo!

  • Flickr – The current version can upload all your new photos at full resolution.
  • Yahoo Weather – Winner of an Apple Design Award 2013!   See the weather like never before – only Yahoo Weather combines stunning photos with accurate forecasts across iPhone and iPad.  The forecast is beautiful – Yahoo Weather’s immersive experience makes checking and sharing the weather inspiring and entertaining.

Apps from Microsoft

  • Skype – Say “hello” to friends and family with an instant message, voice or video call on Skype for free. There’s so much you can do, right from the palm of your hand.
  • Microsoft Office Mobile – Microsoft Office Mobile is the official Office companion optimized for your iPhone. You can access, view and edit your Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint documents from virtually anywhere. Documents look like the originals, thanks to support for charts, animations, SmartArt graphics and shapes. When you make quick edits or add comments to a document, the formatting and content remain intact. The iPad versions require a subscription.

Free 3rd Party Apps

  • AppTicker – The professional and reliable bargain-hunter for the App Store – Download the best apps legally at your ideal price (or even cheaper)!  Every day, AppTicker finds hundreds of price drops and free apps on the App Store.  AppTicker is already used by over 700,000 people, and is one of only a select few apps to be rated extremely highly. Most users make back the purchase price within just a couple of days, often even after the first use. There are absolutely no other hidden costs, this free app is ad-free.
  • Umano – Free news articles narrated by professionals. Listen to our ever growing catalog of articles from the world’s best publishers and bloggers narrated by professional voice-actors. Whether commuting, working out at the gym, or cooking at home, let Umano accompany you and enrich your day. This app is perfect for you if you like podcasts, listen to audio books or prefer to consume other audio content on the go.
  • TED – Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.   The official TED app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch presents talks from some of the world’s most fascinating people: education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus and music legends. Find more than 1,400 TEDTalk videos (with more added each week) on the official TED app — now for both iPad and iPhone.
  • Flipboard – Flipboard is your personal magazine. It is the most popular way to catch up on the news, read stories from around the world and browse the articles, videos and photos friends are sharing. To begin, pick a few interests and tap any of the tiles to begin flipping through your personal magazine.
  • Seed Mail – Seed Mail is the best iPhone email client, it’s designed to make working on mobile devices easier. We supports most of email service, including Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, iCloud, AOL and other IMAP, Exchange server. Utterly efficient movement and handling boosts ease, fluidity and performance, plus we’ve integrated iOS Calendar and iOS Contacts for seamless scheduling and relationship management. Seed Mail will be your ultimate mobile work companion.
  • Facebook – Keeping up with friends is faster than ever.
  • Facebook Messenger – Instantly reach the people you care about. Messenger is a fast, free and reliable way to stay in touch. It’s just like texting, but you don’t have to pay for every message (it works with your data plan).
  • LinkedIn – Opportunity is always within reach with the LinkedIn app for iPhone and iPad. Build your personal brand, network to create meaningful connections, and engage with professional content – right from your LinkedIn app.
  • Twitter – Twitter is a free app that lets you connect with people, express yourself, and discover more about all the things you love.
  • FourSquare – Over 40 million people use Foursquare to keep up and meet up with friends on-the-go.
  • Telegram Messenger – Telegram is a messaging app with a focus on speed and security. It’s superfast, simple, secure and free. Telegram is a secure messenger that you can switch to without having to say goodbye to any of your favorite features.
  • WhatsApp Messenger – WhatsApp Messenger is a smartphone messenger available for iPhone and other smartphones. WhatsApp uses your 3G or WiFi (when available) to message with friends and family. Switch from SMS to WhatsApp to send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages. First year FREE! ($0.99 USD/year after).
  • Dropbox – Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Access any file you save to your Dropbox from all your computers, iPhone, iPad, and the web. With Dropbox you’ll always have your important memories and work with you.
  • Truecaller – Have a missed call? Want to know who it is before you call back? The Truecaller app is FREE and helps identify who the unknown caller is – worldwide -, helps avoid unwanted spam calls, makes your phonebook complete and up-to-date, and helps manage your contacts. 50 million users worldwide love Truecaller! “Truecaller protects against the ONE RING SCAM!”
  • Documents 5 – Read, Listen, View, Download, Annotate almost anything you want on your iPad and iPhone. Files, documents, music, videos, books, any content is at home in Documents by Readdle.
  • WordPress – It’s easy to manage your WordPress blog or site from your iOS device. With WordPress for iOS, you can moderate comments, create or edit posts and pages, view stats, and add images or videos with ease. All you need is a blog or a self-hosted site running 3.6 or higher.
  • Tumblr – Post anything: Share photos, video, quotes, chats, links, and text with offline support.
  • Viber – My one time favourite. Does not pick up calls since iOS 7 including the latest update. The same applies to notifications. Might be an idea to keep this one in mind, just in case they manage to fix it someday.
  • Tango – Like Viber, this used to be one of the more usable messaging apps. Now, it has ads, in-app purchases and an interface which you would really need to figure out. Best avoided for now.
  • Line/WeChat – Both are relatively new messaging apps. I am mentioning them here since they both send ads by default and are not simple to setup for the first time user. Best avoided since there are better options as already mentioned.
  • TeamViewer – TeamViewer provides easy, fast and secure remote access to Windows, Mac and Linux systems. TeamViewer is already used on more than 200,000,000 computers worldwide.
  • eBay – Tap into the world’s largest marketplace with the Official eBay for iPhone app! Now you can buy and sell items, compare prices, access our powerful search tools and so much more all from the palm of your hand.

India Specific Apps

  • JustDial – Search Anything, Anytime ,Anywhere ! using the JD App by Justdial , India’s No.1 Local Search Engine. This app works as a one stop solution for all your daily needs whether its info about movies in your area , Restaurant next door , Hotels , Airlines , Resorts , Real Estate or as simple as the nearest ATM , it has it all . Above all , you get access to millions of ratings & reviews by Justdial users which helps you to make an informed decision.
  • Rail Yatra – Rail Yatra – Indian Railway Enquiry services anytime anywhere.
  • ClearTrip – The easiest flight, hotels and train bookings, and the best deals, all in a beautifully designed little package. The Cleartrip travel booking experience you know and love is now on your iPhone.
  • PayTM – All new Paytm is here. We bring you the all new mobile shopping app with a revolutionary concept to bargain for a product before you buy it. We also want you to do much more than recharging your mobile phones, DTH and have added many more categories to shop.
  • Saavn – Unlimited, free access to all your Bollywood, Indian regional, and even English music – wherever you go. Find your favorite songs and artists, create your own playlists and enjoy lists from our expert curators, or play radio from any song or artist and Saavn delivers the perfect music.
  • Flipkart – The Flipkart iPhone App is a Fast, Fun and Easy way to access the online megastore you’ve come to love. Shop from the same massive selection of 100% original products including mobile phones, shoes, watches, apparel, books and a lot more.
  • Tradus – Tradus – Online Shopping in India
  • Snapdeal – – India’s most popular online shopping destination is now available on iPhone. Download it today to grab your favorite products @ best prices & save the one thing that matters most to you – “Your Money”.
  • NDTV – Get the latest and biggest news and much more from NDTV — India’s most respected and largest private television network. The NDTV iPhone app brings you stories and videos live from the NDTV studios in India. Award-winning journalists and technology combine to report on Politics, Business, Cricket and Bollywood. You can also get live cricket scores and track the stock markets. With the new NDTV iPhone App for the iPhone and iPod Touch, you can also report for NDTV iWitness, just use your phone to send us what you’re seeing.

2 thoughts on “Setting up a new iPhone/iPad? A brief How-To…

  1. Excellent!!! You’ve made it easier for the new users. Often people switching from Android to Apple feel lost – this blog can be a simple guide.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s