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Android Tips for Beginners

Replacing your iPhone with an Android can be intimidating. You’re used to Apple’s software, after all, and now you find yourself dealing with an entirely new interface. If you’re in this position, or if your Android is your first smartphone, take heart: learning how to use Android phones really isn’t that difficult. Here’s a quick explanation of Android phone basics.

Setting Up an Android

Turning on a new smartphone always feels special, like writing the first word in a brand new diary. Unlike a new diary, however, you must set up your new Android to use it. Here’s how:

  • Turn on your phone.
  • Select a language from the list provided.
  • Press Start.
  • When the phone prompts you, choose your Wi-Fi from a list of available networks and type in the password.

Congrats! Your phone is now connected. You’re not quite done, however. As you probably know, Android is part of the Google software family, and unsurprisingly, works best with Google’s suite of apps.

Now technically, you can use your smartphone without a Google account, but you’ll need a Google account to back up data, download apps, and use other Google services. To get the most out of your smartphone, therefore, you’ll need a Google account.

If you already have a Gmail address, all you’ll need to do is enter it. If not, select Get an Account and follow the instructions.

How to Use Android Backups

You’ll want to back up your phone’s data, including your contacts and photos. To activate Android’s backup feature, go to Settings and open the Accounts option. Select your Google account and check everything you want to sync.

For photos, the procedure is a little different. Download Google Photos from the Google Store (unless your phone comes with it preinstalled) and backup photos through the app. Google Photos offers unlimited cloud storage for photos, which you can access from your phone or computer.

Checking for Software Updates

Your new Android phone may not have the latest software updates. Select Settings and scroll down to Software Update. Press “Check for updates” and your phone will download and install the latest update.

Android Phone Basics: Setting up Email

So, how to use Android email? If you’re using a Gmail account, all you need to do is open the mail app and sign in. if, however, you use another email system (including Apple Mail and iCloud), you’ll need to open the Gmail app settings, select “Add Account,” choose “Other,” enter your email address and password and then sign in.

Other Android Phone Basics

Now that you’re all set up, it’s time to start exploring how to use Android’s many features. The navigational buttons on an Android are somewhat different from the iPhone. They’re at the bottom of the screen:

  • The Back Button takes you to the previous step or page in an app, or the last page viewed on your browser. Hold the button down when using the browser to access bookmarks, browsing history, and other browser settings.
  • The Home Button takes you to the home screen. Holding the button down in the most recent versions will activate Google Assistant. Google assistant is Android’s version of Siri, and it works in pretty much the same way. Hold down the home button to bring up the Assistant to ask it questions, set alarms, and more.
  • The Overview App brings up a vertical list of all open apps on the device, allowing for quick navigation between apps or for closing all open apps at once.

Need more information on Android? Learn how to record phone calls using an Android phone, and how to switch from an iPhone to an Android.