How to setup your new iPhone 4S

With the holiday season upon us, it’s a good time to revisit the basics. If you are the recipient of a new iPhone 4S or iPhone 4, here’s a visual guide on how to set-up your iPhone. If you have an iPhone that is acting up, you can also use this guide to set-up as a new iPhone. The process should not take more than 10 minutes and you can do so without a computer. We’ll outline all of the options presented during the set-up and how to make changes once you are up and running. Let’s get started on how to setup your new iPhone 4S!

Setup new iPhone 4S

First Steps

  • Slide to the right to begin setting up your iPhone. You should allow for 10 minutes or so to set-up your iPhone. However, if at any time you pause the process, your iPhone will let you pick up where you left off.

Set up iPhone 4S

  • Select your language.

iPhone setup language

  • Select your country or region.

iPhone set up select country

Location Services
Here you have two options. You either enable or disable location services.

iPhone setup location services

Location Services allows Maps, Camera, and other apps to use your location to provide you with a more personal experience. This extends to popular social apps like Twitter and Facebook. Your approximate location is determined using GPS along with corwd-sourced Wi-Fi hotpsot and cell tower locations.

Our Advice: While I’d recommend enabling location services, I’d use common sense when using this feature. When you publicly tweet your location or check-in, be cognizant of who might see that information.

WiFi Networks
You can select your home network and your iPhone will use WiFi when in range. Select your home network and enter your password. If you are outside of the area of your home network, you can bypass this in the set-up and select ‘Use Cellular Connection’.

iPhone setup WiFi

Our Advice: Current plans are capped, meaning you have a set amount of data usage per month. If you go beyond that number, you could incur additional charges. By enabling WiFi, your iPhone will use your WiFi network (when available). Not only will this result in faster download speeds, but it won’t count towards your monthly data usage.

Activating your iPhone
The next step requires no action on your part. Your wireless carrier will be contacted and begin the process of activating your iPhone. Note: This process could take up to 3 minutes.

Activating new iPhone

Our advice: On days when a new iPhone is launched, activations could take hours.

Options for iPhone Set-Up
There are three choices. New owners should opt for the first choice.

  • Set Up as New iPhone
  • Restore from iCloud Backup
  • Restore from iTunes Backup

New iPhone setup options

Our advice: If you previously set up your iPhone, the two restore buttons will bring back your apps, media and data from the last time you synced your iPhone. For new owners, it’s critical that you back-up your iPhone. Should you have a problem with your iPhone, this step will allow you to move to a new iPhone in a jiffy.

Apple ID
Your Apple ID is what you’ll use for your iTunes, iCloud and App Store accounts. An Apple ID is the login you use for just about everything you do with Apple. If you have previously setup an iTunes account, you’ll want to use that login ID here. You’ll use your Apple ID to purchase apps, music and books.

Apple ID setup

Our advice: If you’ve lost your password or need to manage your account, you can do so easily at this page on Apple’s website.

Set Up iCloud
iCloud stores your photos, apps, contacts, calendars and more. It will also push that content to your other devices and computers. By enabling iCloud, you can use Apple’s Photo Stream. Photos that you take with your iPhone will push photos over Wifi to other devices.

Set up iCloud

Our advice: Enabling iCloud allows for a stress-free life of syncing. Changes you make on one device are automatically synced to other devices, so you your information is always up to date. Photo Stream allows you to instantly enjoy your photos on other devices. With an Apple TV, it’s easy to see your latest photos on the big screen in mere sections.

iCloud Backup
You can select to backup the contents of your iPhone to iCloud. iCloud will automatically back up your iPhone over Wi-Fi when it’s connected to a power source. You should note that any purchased music, apps or books don’t count against your free 5GB of iCloud storage. Of course, you do have an option to back-up to your computer.

iCloud backup setup

If you select the backup to iCloud option, iCloud backs up the following:
Purchased music, books, and apps
Photos and video in your camera roll
Device settings
App Data
Home screen settings
Messages and iMessages

Our advice: This is a personal decision. I personally back up to my personal computer. If you have data that exceeds the 5GB free iCloud storage, Apple will allow you to purchase additional storage. You can purchase 20GB for $40 per year, 50GB for $100 a year. These quantities are in addition to your free 5GB. So your totals would be 25GB and 55GB respectively, depending on the plan you select. Additional storage can be purchased direction from your iPhone by selecting Settings > Storage & Backup > Buy More Storage.

Find My iPhone
Should you lose or misplace your iPhone, you can use a computer or iOS device to locate it using Apple’s free Find My iPhone service.

Find My iPhone

Find my iPhones

Our advice: Select ‘Use Find My iPhone’. It’s a great service if it were paid. The fact that’s it is completely free makes this selection a no-brainer.

Siri is Apple’s personal voice assistant. Scratch that, Siri is now your personal voice assistant. If you are setting up a new iPhone 4S, this is likely one of the reasons you purchased your new iPhone.

Siri setup

Our advice: Check out our guide on Siri Tips and Tricks for beginners. It’s a great way to learn some of the awesome features available with Siri.

This is where Apple is asking whether it’s ok to collect diagnostic and usage data which is used to help improve their products and services.


Our advice: This again is a personal decision. If you do select enable, you can always turn off diagnostics at a later date.

iPhone Setup Complete

That’s it! Your iPhone 4S is now set-up. If you need iPhone help or would like to learn more, please consider joining our iPhone community. It’s absolutely free, including the everythingiCafe companion app available in the App Store.

Have fun!


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