There’s a special type of geekish delight that comes with a new Android phone. While it may sound trite, your options for phones are truly better than ever thanks to a new phone from Google and solid updates to other models.
It’s also less hassle than ever to switch from the iPhone or an older Android phone. Yet we still have some insider tips to pass along, as you can’t have enough knowledge when it comes to setting up the optimal smartphone experience.
The shining example here is the Pixel, which comes with a Quick Switch Adapter to help you move everything over. It does an admirable job no matter which platform you’re currently on. I recommend using it if you want to keep your text messages and automatically download your existing apps.
I’ve tried several backup systems, and none of them has performed as well as what Google built here.
If your phone is made by another manufacturer, there’s likely to be some additional services or cloud solutions offered as part of your setup. Samsung offers its own cloud and data transfer tools, and there’s always the useless Verizon Cloud. Don’t get sucked into these, as Google’s integration is the way to go.
If you start fresh, make sure you sign in with a Google account (or create a new one if you’re starting really fresh) because you’ll need this and a credit card for Play Store purchases. As part of startup you should also activate fingerprint sign-on (if your phone has one) or at the very least a PIN. Your phone has an incredible amount of personal data that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands.
Speaking of fingerprints, if you have a Pixel go to Settings > Moves and check out what you can do.
You have the ability to swipe on your sensor for notifications as well as other hardware tricks like double-pressing the power button to launch the camera. These tools are essential and are among the first things you’ll want to get to know.
Get your Google On
This is Android, and you’ll want to take advantage of all that built-in Google integration. The first stop here is to make sure that Google is listening to you.
Open the Google app, then go to Settings, then Voice. Then choose OK Google detection so you can say, “OK Google” to perform a voice inquiry. If you have a Pixel, there’s an extra treat waiting for you with the Google Assistant. That’s because Google’s artificial intelligence powers are ready to answer numerous natural language questions and control smart home products.
If you have another phone, you can still get some of the Assistant’s smarts inside of the Allo messaging app. However, the real power won’t be realized until it becomes widely available on other phones outside of the Pixel.
Also, you’ll want to explore the service formerly known as Google Now on Tap. When you hold the home button, Google will scan what is showing on our phone’s display and offer you contextual searches. It’s slowly improved over time to where it’s a pretty handy aide. I use it primarily when I’m reading an article and would like to know more about the topic (example below) or want to quickly get a read on a restaurant or another venue a friend is talking about in a text message.