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Smartphones & gadgets

5 things to do when you buy a new smartphone

We recently got a great question from a listener who read our article on four things to do when you get a new PC; tap or click here to read it. This person really liked the piece (we do too!), and wondered if we could do one on things to do when you get a new smartphone.

Since people might be getting new phones or upgrades, this is a great topic to tackle. What are the best things to do when you first get a new phone? How can you best take care of it, particularly if you’re going from a cheap phone to a really expensive one?

Well, we can’t give you four things to do with a new smartphone — we have to give you five. Read on to see what five things to do once you get that shiny new phone in your hands.

1. Protect it!

Once you know the model of your new smartphone, you want to make sure to purchase a case and screen protector right away. Cases protect your phone from bad falls and scratches, and you can get one that will make your phone waterproof, if your device doesn’t already have that feature.

Screen protectors also help with falls, as they can prevent your screen from cracking. They act as barriers for oily fingers, scratches and messes. You can replace a gross screen protector easily and it’s much more affordable than having to replace a cracked screen.

If you know what smartphone you want, but haven’t purchased it yet, go online to see if you can find a good case and screen protector bundle, like this FlexGear clear case that comes with 2 glass screen protectors.

2. Get your important data

You’ll need your contacts list from your old phone, along with any login information for your email accounts and favorite apps. Back up your old device to a cloud service, or to your computer to easily get the data you need from your old gadget to your new one.

We recommend using a cloud service, as it’s by far the easiest and most convenient method to transfer data. Just save your information from your old phone into the cloud service of your choice (that’s compatible with both devices), then log into the service on your new phone and download your old data. Easy-peasy.

Many smartphone companies have their own cloud services for exactly this purpose, and they give you free storage with the phone. You might as well use it, and have it back up automatically just in case your device breaks. You’ll be glad you have an updated backup, which you can transfer to your next phone.

RELATED: Still saving files on your computer? That’s so 2009. Here are 6 options for cloud-based storage (+1 for backup)

If you got a new phone because your old one broke and you can’t get information off it, sign up for a cloud account now and set a reminder on your new phone to back it up weekly or monthly.

Of course, we’re talking about transferring information you need on your phone. A new phone is a new start, so to avoid bloatware on your new device, you should really…

3. Leave out what you don’t need

Think about your app usage. If you have your old phone, you can probably check your settings to see which apps use up most of your battery and which ones take up a lot of memory space.

Unless it’s something like your email, you can probably leave the worst offenders off your new phone, as apps that take up a lot of memory and battery power slow down your device and can make it wear down sooner. Tap or click here for quick fixes to speed up your slow Android phone.

For many people, photos and videos are the big memory-eaters. Keep the old stuff, except maybe a handful of favorites, off your new device. Store them in a cloud service, on your computer or even on social media platforms.

You’ll want to have room for new pictures, after all, and not slowing down your new phone with 10GB of pictures and videos will make that possible.

4. Get adaptors for your favorite headsets and hardware

It’s an unfortunate reality that many new phones lack headphone jacks, but you may have an expensive pair of noise-cancelling headphones that need the jack to work. If your new phone doesn’t come with a headphone jack adapter (though thankfully, many do), you’ll need to get one.

A new phone could be an excuse to get some new phone accessories, like a nice pair of Bluetooth headphones. But if you have accessories and hardware you already like, it’s worth investing in a few small adapters to make them work with the new phone.

Ideally, you should buy these adapters straight from your phone manufacturer. They could be more expensive than third party brands, but they’re unlikely to damage your phone (which third party cords and adapters can do).

Plus if your phone is damaged, you’ll still be under warranty, which won’t be the case if you use third party pieces.

Unsure how to get an accessory to work with your new phone? Google is your friend, as are Amazon Q&A sections where people ask if an adapter works with a particular device, and verified buyers weigh-in.

Do your research and, if in doubt, reach out to the company that made your phone. They may have a product you can purchase.

Here are a few affordable options for iPhones and Androids, though whether they are compatible with your device will depend on your smartphone’s specs:

5. Adjust your settings

Your new phone is encased, it has your information on it — but only the essential stuff and you have the bits and pieces you need to work with your favorite phone accessories. Now you just have to adjust your settings a little, then you’ll be good to use your device however you want.

Android and Apple both have new security features that allow you to limit your location sharing, and you should customize those as quickly as possible.

You should also make sure apps can’t abuse data and battery usage by adjusting when they can update. Set them to Wi-Fi only or manual, not Wi-Fi or data, and adjust whether they can run or update in the background.

Set your phone to automatically adjust its own brightness as well, as that can help save battery by not forcing your phone to wake at full brightness every time you get a notification. Play around with dark themes to be gentler on your eyes, and customize your wallpaper and lock screen to images you like.

Doing the 5 things above should get you started on the right foot with your new phone, and help keep it in good condition for a long time. You want your new device to last, after all, and with just a little effort, your device will be good to go.

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