Congrats on getting a new iPhone! Now that the holiday fervor has died down a bit, it’s time to move past turning it on and annoying all your friends with the requisite “everyone only uses it one time” animjoi Message.
So now what?
1. Delete Your Beta Profile or Enroll Your New iPhone
This tip is just for those of you who are on the Apple Public Beta program (if you’re not, you can jump right to number two). If you’re currently testing an iOS beta on your main device, and you’re planning on restoring a backup to your new iPhone, you’ll need to delete your beta profile before getting started with your new device. Because no matter how new that iPhone is, it’s definitely not running the Beta software.
Go to Settings > General > Profiles and, if it’s working (it’s not in the current iOS 12.1.3 Public Beta 2), delete the profile that you find there. Then proceed to Tip 2.
The other option is to set up your new iPhone like a new device. Once that’s complete, enroll it in the Apple Public Beta program using my steps here.
Once you’ve installed the profile, go to Settings > General > Software Updateand install the latest beta. When that’s complete return to Settings > General > Reset and select Erase All Content and Settings. This time, when you set up your new iPhone, you should be able to restore from the last backup on your old device.
2. Enable Find my iPhone
This should be enabled by default, but it’s always good to double check that it is before you need it. Find My iPhone is what’s going to save your butt from having to keep calling your phone over and over before the battery dies as you try to figure out where it’s gone.
Go to Settings > your profile > iCloud > Find My iPhone and toggle on the setting. Make sure you enable Send Last Location as well. That way, when your phone does die, you’ll at least know where it was when it conked out completely.
Once Find My iPhone is enabled, you can log in to your iCloud account from anywhere and search for your device, make it play a sound, even have it display a message or wipe it remotely when it’s turned back on. Especially if you’re prone to leaving your phone behind, you need to switch this feature on right away.
3. Make a Backup
I’m not understating things when I say a reliable iCloud backup is the most important thing you can do with your new iPhone. It turns losing or breaking a phone from a major disaster into a minor inconvenience. With a reliable backup, your new device will look and feel exactly like your old device in less than an hour. iCloud backups are so advanced now, about the only thing you’ll need to do is sign in to a few apps.
Speaking as someone who’s had to rebuild their iPhone apps and settings solely from memory, more than once, it’s not something you ever want to do.
As soon as you’ve finished initial set up of your new iPhone, go to Settings > your profile > iCloud > iCloud Backup. Make sure the option is toggled on. If it is, then check and see if there’s a “Last Successful” backup listed. If there’s not, then press Back Up Now. Your first backup will take a while, but believe me, it’s worth the wait.
4. Relearn How To Do Simple Things
If it’s been a while since you got a new iPhone, or if you’re getting one for the first time, figuring out how to do mundane tasks like taking screenshots or powering off your phone take a little more effort to figure out than you’d expect.
Without a dedicated home button, most tasks involve swiping from the bottom or corners of the screen, or pressing the side buttons on your iPhone in various combinations.
To access the Control Center, swipe down from the upper right-hand corner. To see your notifications when the device is unlocked, swipe down from the upper left. To kill and switch between apps, swipe up from the bottom and hold, then flick apps closed as usual.
For screenshots, press the Wake/Sleep and Volume Up buttons simultaneously (this is also why your Photo Library is littered with random screenshots of your lock screen). To activate SOS, send a medical alert, or turn off your phone, press and hold the Wake/Sleep and Volume Down buttons simultaneously.
That should be enough to get you started. If you want even more tricks, you can check out my post here.
5. Get a Case
This tip pains me because, as long as I’ve had iPhones, I’ve turned my nose up at cases on my devices (this snobbery does not extend to my son’s iPhones since he manages to damage those in new and innovative ways even with a case on). I believed Steve Jobs when he said iPhones didn’t need cases. Even though I have had mishaps here or there, it’s mostly worked out for me.
That is, it worked out for me until I got the iPhone XS Max.
Maybe the size of the device makes the glass more prone to breakage. Maybe it’s such a large phone, that it’s easier to mishandle and drop than its smaller iPhone X predecessor. Maybe it’s that I moved into a house with tile floors this year, and there’s no longer a “safe space” to drop my phone.
Maybe it’s all of the above?
Whatever the reason, I’ve broken the front and back glass on my iPhone XS Max in the few short months since I got it. It’s an expensive lesson (mitigated somewhat by the included AppleCare plan on the iPhone Upgrade Program), but I’ve finally admitted that I too need a case.
Otterbox is my case du jour right now. Not only are their cases easy to take on and off, they provide serious protection. From minor drops to full weatherproofing, you can decide how much, or how little, case you want. For me, though the only thing I’d even consider putting on my iPhone XS Max is one of their licensed Star Wars cases. Once I saw that their latest Vader case had lightsaber-red side buttons, I was sold. Honestly, I would have picked it up even if I hadn’t dropped my Max a dozen times in the past three months.
So even if you have AppleCare, get a case. You’ll be happier in the long run.