Nexus 9 Setup Guide: 5 Steps to Get Started

Now that Google’s brand new Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet are both readily available to buyers in the United States, more and more users are likely opening up their brand new devices. If you just took the Nexus 9 out of the box and want to make sure you set up the Nexus 9 the right way, here we’ll go over a few tips to get started.

The Nexus 9 runs great right out of the box, and Google’s also done a rather excellent job with Android 5.0 Lollipop when it comes to the initial startup, setup, and getting started. However, there’s a few important steps they miss, ones you’ll want to do for the best experience possible.


Read: Android 5.0 vs Android 4.4 KitKat: What’s New in Lollipop

Everyone is different when it comes to how they use their tablets, or what for, but below you’ll find a few essential tips to help you get started with the Nexus 9. With Android 5.0 Lollipop everything is bright and fluid, the lockscreen is smarter and easier to interact with, and information is a tap or voice command away with Google Now, but you’ll still want to make a few of these important changes.



The Nexus 9 setup should only take a few minutes, and slightly more if you want to use the new Tap & Go automatic restore to transfer an old device to your new tablet, or do something like make a second user account for a family member, or children.


Eager buyers getting the Nexus 9 will be happy with the latest update to the Android operating system, known as Android 5.0 Lollipop, and there is a lot of new stuff. It runs smooth and fast, things are stable and more secure, but a few changes and measures right now will go a long ways.

Nexus 9 Setup

On first boot (after connecting to WiFi) you’ll be greeted with a brand new restore option if you’re coming from a previous Android tablet called “Tap & Go” and we’d highly recommend giving this a try. One tap will instantly restore your old devices settings, apps, app data, accounts, and even put your icons and widgets on the homescreen. It’s really neat, and gets users off on the right foot from the beginning.

You can also bypass this and set it up from a different device, or boot it up as a brand new tablet for that stock, out of box experience. However, it still doesn’t recommend users set up a passcode lock, pattern, or any other security after signing into Gmail, and their life. We want users to have better security, add second user accounts, make battery saving changes, and a few other things, so check them out below.


Read: How to Switch from iPhone to Android: The Google Way

It’s also worth noting that those coming from iOS can switch rather easily as well. Thanks to the guide linked to above, nicely made by Google. If you’re new to Android that guide will help, and everything we go over below will get you on the right track as well.

Once you’ve done the Tap & Go restore you really don’t have any setup. You won’t need to log-in to your WiFi, you won’t need to add Gmail accounts, and you won’t have to search through the Play Store to download all those apps you use frequently. If you do a new device setup though, you’ll need to proceed with the usual steps. Android 5.0 still goes through everything quite well, so just follow the on-screen instructions. There’s also a little tutorial as you open each new app to better familiarize yourself with Android 5.0 Lollipop and your Nexus 9.

Nexus 9 Security

Next up we’ll cover setting up some basic Nexus 9 security. The Nexus 9 now has your email address, contacts and calendar on it. Not to mention credit card information on the Google Play Store, maybe you use Tap & Pay Google Wallet, and other things. You’ll also need this if you want to do basic parental controls. We’ll also touch base on user accounts below.

Head into settings through the app drawer, or pull down twice on the notification bar and selecting the gear-shaped settings icon button. In settings you’ll see “Security” and this is where you set the lockscreen security. It’s set to none or “swipe” by default, with no security. You’ll want to at least add a pattern or pin for good measure.



From this same menu there’s also an area to add “Owner info” to the lockscreen. This can be your Twitter account, a call if found number, or anything else for that matter. I’d do something so someone can return it, if you happen to get an honest joe that finds your lost or stolen device.

While we’re talking about security it’s also worth nothing two other things. One being to enter the Google Play Store and under settings enable password protection for purchases. This ensures a lost device won’t incur charges, nor will kids accidentally buy a bunch of games or apps. At the same time, head to the Android Device Manager and prepare the device for those services. This will allow you to lock or even erase the device if it’s lost, missing, or stolen. There’s even an alarm so you can find a lost device at home too, for those in need. This works best on smartphones, but can be used on a tablet as well.

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Enable Backup & Restore

Google offers a backup and restore feature for smartphones and tablets, and over the past few major updates it has gotten better and better. A quick swipe into the Backup & Reset option in settings will give you the rundown. During initial startup of your device, you may have restored from your Gmail account, but whether you did or not, you’ll want to enable backup on your new Nexus 9.


Not only will this backup data, WiFi passwords, and other information, but the automatic restore will even replace the settings and app data when an app is reinstalled. From custom settings to game progress and more. This has improved lately with Google Services Framework, and will help the Tap & Go system above if you ever lose your device. We strongly recommend backing up your new Nexus 9. Then you’ll be set next year when you get a new Nexus 9, Nexus 10, or any other Android device for that matter.

Guest Mode

With Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Google added multi-user accounts, similar to guest mode or how computers have more than one user account to sign in. This keeps apps, data, browsing history and more all separate from one another. This is great for business users, family members, and of course kids. Which is why many refer to this as kids mode.

It’s also available with smartphones now on Android 5.0 Lollipop, but for your Nexus 9 tablet simply swipe down twice (or with two fingers) on the notification bar and tap the blue “user” circle icon on the top right. This takes you to accounts, where one tap will create a new user account or guest mode, and immediately switch to it.


From here you can rename the guest account, switch back and forth with ease, and of course the password or pin you set earlier will ensure the kids can’t switch into your account and make changes, move icons around, make purchases, or even accidentally delete apps. It’s a level of control many manufacturers add to Android smartphones and tablets, one that is now available on stock Android devices right from Google.

All apps and data will be separate, so setup everything as you’d like, and you’re all set from here. It’s extremely easy, and switching is fast. However, don’t download too many games as you only have 16 or 32GB of storage on the Nexus 9.

Using the Nexus 9

Once you are setup you can start using the Nexus 9 for all your needs. Go to the Google Play Store to download all the apps you use the most. Like Netflix, Hulu, Asphalt Racing and many more. If you used to restore option above they’ll all be installed for you, but again, everyone is different.

Here are some Nexus 9 apps we recommend downloading sooner rather than later.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Netflix
  • HBO Go
  • Hulu Plus
  • Amazon Kindle
  • LastPass – manages all your passwords
  • Dropbox
  • and all those games, sports or news apps, and everything else you’d like.

Final Thoughts

For seasoned Android or Nexus users most of the information above is probably well know, but this is more of a beginners guide. If you’ve recently switched from a Samsung Galaxy Tab, or an iPad, this info should help you enjoy that new Nexus 9.

For now the Nexus 9 is still pretty new, barely in the hands of buyers, and Android 5.0 is brand new with its share of bugs. However, once Google irons a few things out and you get your own device all set up and ready to roll and it will run like new for years to come.