Setting up any iOS device has become a fairly simple process, if you are able to follow Apple's steps completely when you first turn on your device. However if your wifi is not working, or you forget your Apple ID, or you don't have an Apple ID, the process can be a little trickier. And if you don't restore from an existing backup that can also make it a little more work, unless of course it is your first time using an iPhone or iPad.
First off the easiest way is to follow Apple's instructions when you first start up your iOS device, they will walk you through several grey screens. These screens will help you connect to your wifi network, set your iPad up with your Apple account, or get one if you don't have one, set up iCloud, and restore from an old back up if you have one, ask if you want to use Siri, etc.
It is important that you are able to connect to a wifi network at the beginning of set up otherwise most of the steps cannot happen as they require internet. If you do not have internet connection or are not sure what you want to do at a particular step in the process don't worry you can always go back and change things or get them set up in the settings later, that's what this post is for :)
Now at this point in the process I strongly suggest setting up an iCloud account if you don't already have one. This is especially useful if you use other apple products (i.e. iPhone, MacBook, iMac, or iPod touch) because it allows a lot of communication between them.
Not everything that needs to be setup on your iOS device is set up during the initial phases. To get those taken care of you will need to go to the settings app. Also if you had skip any steps at the beginning this is where you will go to change them.
|It does not actually move|
but this GIF was too cool to pass up
Take a good look at that icon, its your new best friend. The setting menu's will allow you to change almost anything on your iPhone that can be changed.
Now we will go through settings, if you missed a step during the initial start up you can take care of it here.
Hint: Most settings are turned on and off by sliders. When the slider is to the left and appears white or grey that setting is off, when it is to the right and appears green it is on.
The first setting is Airplane Mode this is your battery saving friend because it will shut off all your wireless radios (which is what they like while you are on an airplane) make sure this is set to off while we are going through this because you will need wifi during this process.
The next setting is Wi-Fi, if you have not yet connected to a wifi network do so now, if you tap on the wifi setting it will bring up a list of all the available networks, choose yours and enter the password, then it should connect. After the first time connecting your iPad or iPhone should connect automatically to a network it has connected to before (i.e. you will need to put in the password only once at home, only once at work, etc)
The next setting in the list is Bluetooth. If you don't know what bluetooth is, it is a way to connect devices at close range, not over the internet. Also, if you don't know what bluetooth is you don't need it on, so set it off to save battery life. If you have a bluetooth accessory like a keyboard, headset, or smartwatch, then turn bluetooth on and come back later and pair that device with your iPhone or iPad.
Cellular is the setting right below bluetooth. This is where you can turn off the cell radio in your phone, and check how much data each of your apps has used, how many minutes you have talked, etc. If you have a wifi only iPad then you will not see this option.
Personal Hotspot is another setting dealing with cellular data. If your carrier allows you to use your device as a hotspot and you turn this feature on it will make your iPhone like a little wifi router you can connect other devices to to get internet access. If you are going to do this be sure you watch your data usage carefully.
Next is Notifications you can also configure the notification settings for every app you have. There are different items you can change about how you are notified by an app. For the most part I like to use banner notifications for my apps. You can also decide if they appear in Notification Center, which you can always access by swiping down from the top of your screen.
Control Center is accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and gives you instant access to a bunch of settings and tools. Here in it's setting you can choose if it is accessible from the lock screen and within apps. I would suggest you leave both of these on since it is a very useful feature to have available to you.
Do not disturb stops messages and notifications from coming through, you may want to set its slider to on if you are using your iOS device in meetings or when you are going to sleep (personally I just mute my iPad most of the time). You can schedule do not disturb to start and stop at a certain time, say while you are sleeping and you can decide if there is a contact group you would like to let through even when do not disturb is on.
The next tab, General, is really important as it contains a number of basic settings for the iPad. They are for the most part pretty easy to understand, if you have any questions about them, or anything else, just leave them in the comments section below. Two of the most important are Restrictions, if you have a child, I have done a whole post on that setting, and Accessibility if you are disabled.
Display and Brightness is exactly what it says, you can adjust tho brightness of the screen and change the font size here.
Wallpaper lets you choose your background images for both the home and the lock screen.
The Sounds setting is a good place to visit while setting up your iOS device for the first time, here you can control the master volume for the whole device and the individual sounds different parts of the device, such as alerts and the keyboard, will make.
The Passcode option is going to let you set up a passcode for your device and determine how long your phone stays open after an unlock.
Privacy is another important item, but probably not in your set up phase as you won't yet have many apps to control privacy questions for. From here you can control what apps have access to your personal data from location services, you contacts, calendar, reminders, photo stream, twitter and Facebook, you can also determine your bluetooth sharing preferences.
The iCloud setting lets you determine what apps sync up with iCloud. It also lets you see how much storage space you have left on iCloud and control you backup settings. There is also a very important setting here called "Find My iPhone." Always keep that setting turned on. If you ever lose your device this will be the way that you find it.
The rest of the tabs in the setting menu mostly deal with individual apps an are not super important to the set up of the device. You should next check out my post on how to set up Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. Please leave any question you have below.