How to Setup Your New iPad Air, iPad mini or iPhone using iTunes

Was it an iPad Christmas for you or maybe an iPhone Christmas? Maybe Santa had you on his nice list and you scored both. We’ve covered how to setup your iOS device without a computer. That process is easiest, especially if you don’t have your computer nearby. If you’ve got your Mac/PC nearby, there are good reasons for using iTunes. For one, you’ll be able to sync music, movies, photos and more from your computer to your new iPhone or iPad.

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If you haven’t already, download and install the latest version of iTunes, available as a free download from Apple. Version 11.1.3 is the current shipping version.

Open iTunes and using the supplied USB to Lightning cable, connect your new iPad/iPhone to your computer. In the left hand column, click on your iOS device. You should see a notice within iTunes that says, ‘Welcome to Your New iPad/iPhone’.

Restore From Backup

Is this is a new iPad or iPhone, please skip below to Setup As New iPad. If this is replacing an older model, you have options? You’ll see an option to ‘Restore from this backup’. Essentially, this will restore all of the data that was on your previous iOS device. This includes all the apps, messages, settings that you had previously configured. The backups are listed by date, with the last known sync as the default option. iTunes will auto-select this option when setting up a new device, thinking you’ll want it setup in the same way as your previous iPhone/iPad. Once you select ‘Restore from backup’, iTunes will start the restoration process. Depending upon the amount of data, this can take anywhere from a 5-15 minutes or so. At the conclusion, you’ll see a message that your iOS device will now restart. This is normal and at the conclusion, the iOS device will display the ‘Hello’ screen.

Restoring from backup

Although you’ve restored from a previous backup, there are still a few steps to finalize the setup process.

WiFi
Select a local WiFi network and enter the password.

Choose WiFi

Location Services
Enable or disable location services. I’d recommend enabling as it is required for using a number of apps that will provide you with a better overall experience.

Enable location services

Enter iCloud Password
This is typically your Apple ID password.

iMessage and FaceTime
You’ll find a list of email addresses and phone numbers associated with your account. These are all ways that people with iOS devices can contact you using either FaceTime or iMessage.

iMessage Facetime

Welcome to iPad/iPhone

You’ve completed the setup process and can starting using your new iPad or iPad. Since we restored from a previous backup, the process of restoring all of your apps will begin. This can be a lengthy process. On your iOS device, you’ll see the apps have a dark shadow. One by one, they will move from ‘Waiting’ to ‘Installing’ to ‘Loading’. You can also monitor the status from iTunes. Music, movies and TV shows that you have set to sync to your device will also start to copy over.

Setup As New iPad

If this is your first iPhone or iPad, or you want a fresh start, select ‘Set up as new iPad/iPhone‘ and press ‘Continue‘.

Setup as new iPad
iTunes will now show you you an arrow where you can ‘sync music, movies, TV shows and more.’ These tabs are not enabled, instead you have to select ‘Get Started’.

Sync music

iTunes will now show you a breakdown of the device, backups and options. At this point, you can click on the tabs at the top for syncing options. For example, select the ‘Music’ tab. In order to sync music, you’ll need to check the box for ‘Sync Music’. You can set a number of options that span from ‘Entire music library’ to ‘Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres. The process is the same as you click on the individual tabs for Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Books and Photos.

 

As you put a checkbox next to media, you’ll see the storage bar at the bottom of iTunes that reflects the current amount of free storage. If you rollover the bar, it will illustrate how much is being used for music, apps and so on.

Storage and usage

Click back on the Summary tab and let’s look at the second grouping of options for Backups. You can set your iOS device to backup to either iCloud or ‘This computer’. If you opt for iCloud, all of your apps, music purchased from iTunes and up to 1,000 photos will be stored in iCloud and will not count against your free storage. Every iCloud account allows for up to 5GB of free storage. Additional storage can be purchased. Select either iCloud or This Computer.

Backups

At this point, you should have your preferred backup set and checked all of the boxes next to media to be synced to your device. Click on the Apply button to save your changes and select ‘Sync’ to start the syncing process.

Apply changes, sync

When it completes, you’ll need to finish a few steps on your iPad to complete the setup process. Here’s the short version of how to configure the following options. Check out our setting up an iOS device without a computer for more in-depth explanations of each setting.

WiFi
Select a local WiFi network and enter the password.

Location Services
Enable or disable location services.
Apple ID
Enter your Apple ID username and password. This is the account you use to purchase items from the App Store.

Agree to the Terms & Conditions/

iCloud
You can select to either use or not use iCloud. There are tremendous benefits of using iCloud and highly recommended that you use iCloud.

Find My iPad (iPhone)
By using iCloud, you can enable Find My iPad/iPhone. This is a free service to help you locate your iOS device should it be lost, stolen or misplaced.

iMessage and FaceTime
Review the list of email addresses and phone numbers where fellow iOS users can contact you via iMessage or Facetime. To remove a number, tap on the number to uncheck or deselect.

Create a Passcode
You can choose to protect your iPhone or iPad using a passcode. If you have a new iPhone 5s, please consult this guide on how to setup TouchID on an iPhone.

Create passcode

iCloud Keychain
This allows you to save passwords in Safari along with your credit card information making it easier to login to secure websites. For obvious reasons, a passcode is required to enable iCloud keychain. If you opted to not create a passcode, this section of the setup will be skipped. You can enable iCloud Keychain at a later date.

 

Siri
Enable or disable Siri.

Use Siri

Diagnostics
Do you mind sending anonymous data to Apple about usage and diagnostics? The information is to improve Apple products.

Welcome to iPad (iPhone)

Congratulations! You’ve setup your new iOS device. Have questions or need help, please consider becoming a member of our forums. Membership is free and you can get free help from our community of experts.