Top 5 Things to do When You Get Your iPhone 4S [Setup and Security]

There are a few things you need to do as soon as you get your iPhone 4S out of the box. After you activate it with your cell phone company, you should take the following steps to make sure your iPhone 4S is set up correctly and secure.

I know you want to start playing with your iPhone 4S right away, but if you follow these 5 steps, you’ll have a secure iPhone that is ready to keep going.

iPhone 4S Setup

iPhone 4S Setup

Here are the first 5 things you should do before you start using your iPhone 4S on a regular basis. Once you are done with this short iPhone 4S Setup, you will have a secure iPhone that is backed up to the cloud, syncs wirelessly and is ready to use with Siri, Apple’s new virtual personal assistant.

Setup iCloud

In iOS 5, Apple has added the ability to backup your iPhone’s important files and picture to the cloud. When you setup iCloud, you can send your photos to the cloud and all of your devices with Photo Steam. You can also backup your entire iPhone to the cloud.

iPhone 4S Setup - iCloud

iPhone 4S Setup - iCloud Settings

iCloud also allows you to use the Find My iPhone tool to track down your lost iPhone. After you setup the backup process, your iPhone will backup every time you plug in and connect to WiFi. This means your contacts, apps and files are safe.

Here are more details:

Set Up WiFi Sync

Once you get your iPhone 4S out of the box, you will be ready to start syncing with your computer. Thankfully, you no longer need to plug in to your computer to backup and sync. After you setup WiFi Sync, your iPhone 4S will sync with your computer when it is on the same network, without any connections or actions needed.

iPhone 4S Setup WiFi Sync

iPhone 4S Setup - Start WiFi Sync

This 9 step setup process will only take a few minutes. You need to plug in to iTunes and you’ll need to check the Sync with this device over WiFi checkbox. You should connect to power when syncing as it could drain battery life faster, but this is not a requirement.

WiFi Sync can sync, music, movies, apps and pretty much anything you used to sync with your USB cable. You can still plug in and sync if you need to, which I would recommend if you need to move a lot of large files fast.


Set Up a Passcode

In order to keep others from using your iPhone or to keep a thief from using it to access your saved information, you should setup a Passcode. This process takes a minute, and it will make your iPhone 4S more secure.

iPhone 4S passcode

iPhone 4S Passcode Screen

Follow these directions to set up a Passcode on your iPhone 4S.

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Choose Passcode Lock form the right side menu.
  3. Tap turn Passcode on.
  4. Enter a 4 digit Passcode that you will remember, ,but not something as simple as 1234. For help, use the letters to spell out a four letter word.
  5. Enter the Passcode a second time to verify.

You will need to check the erase data box if you want the phone to wipe after 10 failed attempts. This can add security, but I do not check this box. You can use Find My iPhone to do this, and too often I hear of pranks that involve entering the wrong Passcode too many times to cause data loss.


Set Up Relationships

If you plan to use Siri, You should take a few minutes to setup your contact relationships. Once these are setup, you can ask Siri to send a text message to your Wife, Brother, Mother, Son, Daughter…well you get the idea. You can see an example of this in the Siri demo video below.

Open up the contacts area of your iPhone and chose the contact you want to link to. Next, tap Edit. Scroll down until you see relationship. Tap on the arrow, which lets you pick yourself. If you have trouble, Siri will send you to this area when you try to send a text message to a relationship.

(Read: What is Siri?)

This beats saying your family member’s full names when you want to send a short note.

Put in a Case

If you want to get the most for your iPhone 4S when the iPhone 5 is released in 2012, you should put your iPhone 4S in a case right away. There are a number of nice iPhone 4S cases available right now.

iPhone 4S cases

One of many iPhone 4S cases

You should be warned that not all iPhone 4 cases will fit the iPhone 4S, so if you are buying an iPhone 4 case, make sure it fits before you leave the store.

Personally, I am buying a cheap case right now that is thin and offers basic protection, and will look for a nicer case as more become available.