Set Up Your New Android Smartphone in a Snap

Restore your apps, customize settings, and choose your accessories

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
charnsitr / Shutterstock.com

So you have a new Android smartphone. Maybe it's the Google Pixel or the latest model from Samsung, Motorola, or OnePlus. Whichever one you choose, you'll want to get it up and running as fast as possible.

Setting up a new Android smartphone used to be rather tedious and labor intensive, but if you haveĀ Android Lollipop, Marshmallow, or Nougat, there are ways to avoid manually downloading your favorite apps one at a time or building your contact list all over again.

First, there's Tap & Go, which uses NFC (near field communication) to transfer data between your new and old phone. All that's required is that your new phone runs Lollipop, Marshmallow, or Nougat and that your old phone has built-in NFC, which was introduced to Android phones in 2010. If your old device doesn't have NFC (or you just don't have it handy), a second option enables you to restore selected apps from any of your registered devices. Of course, if you choose, you can still set-up your Android device from scratch.

Google Pixel owners have yet another alternative, using an included quick switch adaptor. Simply connect the new and old devices, choose what you'd like to transfer, and you're good to go. You can connect the adaptor to devices running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or later and iPhones running iOS 8 or later.

Android Tap & Go

When you start up your new device, you're first given the option to use Tap & Go, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Just enable NFC in both phones, tap the backs together, and the data, including your Google accounts and apps from your old phone, will begin transferring to the new one. If you use Google Now, your home screens will also be restored.

Restore From an Old Android Device

But what if your old phone doesn't have NFC?

During set-up, if you skip Tap & Go, you can choose the restore option, which enables you to choose which of your devices you want to restore from, and what, specifically, you want to carry over to the new phone. Any device associated with your Google account can be restored.

Start From Scratch

You can also make a fresh start, and simply "set up as new device," if you'd like to manually install your apps. If you have synced your contacts with your Google account, those will carry over once you sign in.

Once you've installed your apps, you should check for updates on built-in apps, such as those from Google. Next, you'll want to set-up Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and then customize your notifications, which continues to be improved with Marshmallow and Nougat updates.

Should You Root Your New Phone?

Next, you should consider whether you want to root your phone. If you have the OnePlus One, there's no need; it already runs a custom ROM, Cyanogen. Rooting means you can access advanced settings on your phone that are typically blocked by the manufacturer. When you root your phone, you can remove "bloatware" (unwanted apps installed by your carrier) and access high-powered apps, such as Titanium Backup, that require root access.

Android Accessories

Now that you've got the software covered, think about the hardware. Do you need a case? I know I'm clumsy, so I always look for something to protect my smartphone from frequent drops and spills. What about a portable charger? I'm always running low on battery life when I'm on the go. If your new device has wireless charging built in, consider buying a wireless charging pad. Some device manufacturers, including Samsung sell these, as well as many third-party companies. Instead of plugging in, you can just place your phone on the charging pad; no special case required.