How to Set Up Your New Apple Watch
An Apple Watch, eh? Fancy! Let’s fire up that wristable the right way.
Assuming your Watch is already on and charged, go ahead and open up the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, the one you’ve tried to delete a few times but iOS wouldn’t let you. You’ll need an iPhone 5 or more recent, running iOS 9 (if you have an Android phone, uh… was there a gift receipt, perhaps?). Make sure you’ve got Bluetooth and Wi-Fi toggled on as well. Select Start Pairing on the Watch, then direct your iPhone’s camera at the pretty blue pattern that has appeared on the Watch’s face. Congrats! They’re now bonded.
If the automagic process isn’t working, you can also do this manually, by tapping the “i” icon on your Watch and typing the six-digit code it coughs up into your iPhone.
Dial in Those Settings
Now that smartwatch and smartphone are one, tap Set Up as New Apple Watch on your iPhone, unless this is somehow your second or third Apple Watch, in which case you should select Restore from Backup, and also maybe pace yourself on the smartwatch purchases. Then choose whether you’ll be wearing the Watch on your right or left wrist, and agree to the terms and conditions.
Next, enter your Apple ID and password (this is all still on your phone, no text input on that tiny display during this process). Then decide whether you want to enable Location Services (yes), Siri (sure), and Diagnostics (meh?). Just keep in mind that your iPhone and Watch will mirror each other with these settings; change it on one device, and the other will as well.
You’ll then be given the option to create a passcode. You should do this, if only because without one you can’t use Apple Pay, which is currently one of the best parts of Apple Watch ownership. You can also save yourself some annoyances down the line by telling your Apple Watch to unlock along with your iPhone.
Add Some Apps
And now the homestretch! It’s time for apps. You can either click Install All to load up any app on your phone that has Watch capabilities, or you can go with Choose Later to winnow the field down to your chosen few. Honestly, you might as well just install them all and trim from there. Your choice, though! Your Watch!
That’s basically it; from there you just need to wait for your iPhone and Watch to sync, which can take a good long while. Once they’re all synced up, you should go ahead and fiddle around in the settings, where you can set up Apple Pay (again, the best!), fine-tune your notifications to keep dozens of apps from constantly buzzing your wrist, unless you’re somehow into that. Other settings avenues to walk down? The Activity app, which is the one that tracks your movement throughout the day and tells you to stand up once in a while; the Sounds & Haptics settings, to dictate how loud and long the Watch tries to get your attention, and Glances, which provide bite-sized info from swipe to swipe.
How you set each of those up is entirely your choice, but you’ll probably be happier if you don’t just leave it up to stock.
And that’s it! You’re now officially a Watch person. Don’t let it go to your wrist.
A Chromebook! A delightful little Internet machine, indeed. And delightfully simple to get started on.
Setting up your Chromebook is literally a three step process, and that’s only if you include “turn it on” as one of the steps. Ready? Here you go:
1. Turn it on.
2. Choose your language, connect it to your Wi-Fi network, and sign into your Google account.
3. Choose a profile picture or icon (I’d go with an icon, but I’m shy).
OK, that’s it, you’re done. Life with a Chromebook after that is simply a matter of collecting the apps you need (it already comes with Calendar, Google Drive, the full suite of Google Docs applications, Google Play Music, Hangouts, and Chrome remote desktop). You can find those in the Chrome Web Store.
Oh, and you might have heard that Chromebooks only work when they’re hooked up to the internet. That’s not quite true; there are plenty of Chrome apps that have an offline mode as well, including Gmail Offline, Google Drawings, and more. Just in case you’re stuck in a no-Wi-Fi zone, make sure to load up on a few of these desktop-bound right away.
Goodbye dumb thermostat, hello smart thermostat! It’s the gift that keeps on giving you comfortable temperatures and reasonable heating bills. Fortunately, getting it up and running also isn’t as daunting as it might seem.
Your first step, which you or your loved one hopefully did before you bought it in the first place, should be to make sure that your wiring is compatible. Otherwise, no dice. Fortunately, Nest has a guide where you can check for yourself. The short version: If you have “thick, stranded wires held together by wire nuts” under your current thermostat cover, this isn’t going to work out. If you have two labels for each wire…it might.
Once you’ve confirmed your Nest compatibility, go ahead and shut off power to your HVAC system for safety’s sake. Then you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and do some handiwork. Fortunately, everything you need—including a screwdriver—is included in the box. As far as home upgrades go, it’s pretty straightforward; you just remove your old thermostat, attach the Nest base, connect the wires, and attach the Nest display. There are enough steps within those steps that your best bet is to follow along with this video guide:
Or better yet, if you don’t trust yourself with anything electrical, Nest makes it easy to find a professional in your area who can help.
Once your Nest is installed and powered on, you’ll need to connect it to your home Wi-Fi network. From there, just use it like you would any other thermostat. Within a few days, Nest will learn your habits and make those adjustments on its own.
Physical installation is also just one part of the process. A lot of the “smart” in your smart thermostat comes from hooking it up with your phone. For that, just download the Nest app and create a Nest account. From there, you can use your smartphone (or computer) to change the temperature remotely and keep track of your energy usage.
Congratulations on that fancy OLED or 4K or just really grotesquely huge television set you’ve got there. Setting it up should be a breeze, but there are still a few things you’re going to want to consider.
We know, we know, you want to just plug it in and turn your brain off. But where you plug in your television matters more than you’d think, and there’s no one-space-fits-all solution.
A lot of factors go into how crisp your television’s picture looks that have nothing to do with the settings (we’ll get to those in a minute). You’ll want to sit a specific distance from your set depending on how big it is, the aspect ratio, and the resolution. The basic rule of thumb is to sit within spitting distance of two times the diagonal length of your set. The higher the resolution, the closer you can sit without being able to discern individual pixels.
Calibration and Settings
The biggest mistake people make with new TVs is assuming it simply looks the way it does. Not so! There are lots of tweaks you can make right away to ensure an optimal viewing experience.
You can find a more in-depth roundup here, but the short version should be enough to get you started.
Picture Mode: If this is set to Demo or Showroom, switch it on over to Home or Standard.
Aspect Ratio: Set this to “Auto-Adjust” or “Normal” if your picture looks stretched-out or collapsed.
Motion Enhancement: This goes by many names (Clear Motion Rate, Motion Flow, etc) but it always results in making everything you watch look like a soap opera. Burn it with fire.
Set-Specific Calibration: Your levels! Your levels are usually not ideal out of the box. You can tinker with your contrast and backlight and sharpness on your own, but we’d recommend hitting up the CNET HDTV Picture Setting Forum. There you’ll find precise expert recommendations on most of the top sets on the market, and if you can’t find your specific boob tube, you can post yourself asking for help.
You could go through and sign into all your Netflix and Hulu and (shudder) Twitter accounts on your smart TV. But also maybe don’t! Get a Roku or a Chromecast or an Apple TV instead. Their interfaces are more reliable, their selections are much larger, and they’re cheap as all heck. It’ll be the best present you ever gave yourself.
You got a fancy tech gift! Lucky duck. While some gadgets are simple to set up—if you got a set-top box or streaming dongle, literally just plug it in and you’re basically good to go—others require a little more digital elbow grease.
Here are a few simple guides to get you through your first hours of ownership with your new gear. Now if only there were a gadget that wrote thank-you cards in your handwriting.
Oh hello, Android phone. Whether it’s a Galaxy S6 or a Moto X Pure or a Nexus 5X (so many numbers and Xs to keep track of!), the process of getting started with Android is basically the same, and blessedly simple.
Once you’ve powered up your device, you’ll be greeted with a series of set-up chores. This is where you’ll set your language preferences, set up your Wi-Fi, enter your Google account details (in other words, your Gmail address and password), and set up a device password and/or fingerprint security, if your phone offers that feature.
Being signed into your Google account makes it easy to set up a new phone from there, if you were already on an Android device. Just make sure that your old phone is backed up by going to Settings > Backup & reset. There, you’ll see options for Back up my data (turn this on, if it’s not) and Automatic restore (toggle this to on as well), which combined will mean that not only will your apps be waiting for you on your new phone, their various settings should be as well.
There are ways to transfer your photos and text messages as well, but your best bet is to use a cloud-based service, like Google Photos or Dropbox (or both), that will take your photos with you on any device, regardless of platform. As for texts, the same holds true if you use WhatsApp or GroupMe instead of SMS.
Once you’ve gotten your app and Google account situation squared away, you’ll want to link some of your other accounts to your phone for seamless integration down the line. Just head to Settings > Accounts, select Add account, and enter your info for Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Skype, and whatever else you rely on on the regular.
And that’s basically it! You can tinker in the settings to your heart’s content—this is Android, after all—but most of it just amounts to personal preference. One last tip? Keep an eye on Google Now, a personally assistant baked into Android that will learn from your search and location history to serve up timely information and articles. To make sure it’s on, go to Settings > Google > Search & Now, where you can customize the type of cards you see, which notifications you get, and what sort of voice activation you prefer, if any.
What a lovely new iPhone or iPad or (maybe?) iPod touch! Here’s how to get acquainted with it to ensure a two-to-four year lifetime, give or take, of happiness.
When you turn on your new iDevice, you’ll be greater by the Setup Assistant, through which you’ll establish essentials like your Wi-Fi network and password, Touch ID, your Apple ID and iCloud account, and whether you want to activate Find My Phone and Location Services. You’ll also be asked if you want to set up Siri (you do!), which on the iPhone includes saying a few phrases so that she can get to know your voice.
It sounds like a lot of decisions and inputs, but the whole process only takes a few minutes. Better yet, none of these choices are binding; you can find them all again later under Settings.
After you’re done with the basics, it’s time to make this phone/tablet/iPod truly yours, by topping it off with all of your contacts, apps, and content. You can do this the easy way or the hard way, and which path you choose will likely depend on whether this is your first iPhone or iPad. If you’re an Apple vet, you can simply select Restore from iCloud Backup or Restore from iTunes Backup (speaking of which, make sure to back up your old device before you do this). Then enter your Apple ID and password, and sip some nog while your phone or tablet restarts with all of your settings, preferences, apps, and more in place. In other words, it’ll be just like your old device, but…newer.
If this is your first Apple rodeo, or you just want a fresh start and like fiddling around in menus, select Set Up as New Phone or Set Up as New iPad, which will accomplish exactly what it sounds like. From there, it’s just a matter of personalizing to your preference. Want to add an email account? Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account. Want to fine-tune which apps refresh in the background (and drain your batter in the process)? Head to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and toggle your little heart out. Want to save time on Web forms? Go to Settings > Safari > Autofill and pre-load your contact info.
One last recommendation? Get rid of the junk. iOS devices come loaded with Apple apps, most of which you can’t delete. Some of them you can, though! For those you can’t, stick ’em in a folder and hide ’em away.
There’s no one right way to iOS, but hitting those basics should at least get you started on a sane path.
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