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Nexus 4 Setup Guide: Top 10 Steps to Get Started



The Nexus 4 runs great out of the box, but savvy users will want to change the settings for better performance and security.

Google launched Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) on the Nexus 4, and with it a number of new features and better integration of apps like Google Now.

With the new version of Android, Nexus 4 owners can secure the phone and still quickly access information with lock screen widgets. New features in Jelly Bean include the ability to set mobile data usage alerts to avoid overages and with a few settings and apps it’s easy to backup the Nexus 4 to the cloud and find a lost device, even if the battery is dead.

Read: Best Nexus 4 Cases

After changing these 10 Nexus 4 settings Google’s latest smartphone will run at peak condition.

Set a Passcode Lock

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Set a pass code.

The Nexus 4 does not force users to create a password after linking a Gmail account, but it’s a very good idea. Users can choose from several methods of security so it’s easy to use the phone.

Tap on Settings -> Security -> Choose screen unlock

This allows users to switch to one of the following Android 4.2 security methods.

  • Face unlock
  • Pattern unlock
  • PIN
  • Password

The password option allows for complex passwords, the PIN is a four digit security code and the pattern is a pattern drawn on the lock screen. The Face unlock is cool to see, but it may be possible to fool it with a photo.

Set Automatically lock to a reasonable time, like 5 to 10 minutes to keep the phone unlocked for a short period.

It’s also a good idea to set a Google Play password to prevent others from buying apps and making in-app purchases while using your phone. This is an especially good idea for parents.

Set Mobile Data Limit

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Set a data limit.

The Nexus 4 makes it easy to set up mobile data alerts and limits so that you don’t go over a mobile data cap. Most carriers that work with the Nexus 4 no longer offer unlimited data plans, and those that do often limit them with an asterisk in the fine print.

Tap on Settings -> Data Usage -> Move the slider to set a mobile data usage warning and a limit.

On Red Pocket Mobile, data usage us capped at 1GB and while Straight Talk advertises unlimited, users report getting cut off after using 2GB or more in one month.

After setting the slider, put a check mark next to the Set mobile data limit to set a hard stop on the usage.

The Nexus 4 knows which data is used over WiFi and which is used on mobile, and can keep them separate.

Read: 7 Reasons the Nexus 4 is Better Than the iPhone 5

Use Google+ Auto Photo Uploads

The Nexus 4 can automatically back up your photos and videos to Google for safekeeping. This means even if the phone is lost or broken, you’ll have all your photos.

Setting this up is as simple as installing Google+, signing into your account and enabling auto-uploads.

We recommend using this feature only over WiFi to save on mobile data usage, but it’s worth enabling mobile data usage while on vacation.

The photos are automatically uploaded to Google and are private unless you opt to share a specific photo, so there’s no worrying about accidentally sharing a photo you don’t want the world to see, just by taking the photo.

This trick appeared in a Google+ commercial, and saved a new father’s photo, but it’s not just made for TV. Automatic photo uploads also saved the photos of people we know when their Android phone died.

Turn on Backup and Restore

Nexus 4 Setup and Security Guide - backup

Backup settings.

Google offers a Backup and Restore service that keeps important information backed up to Google so it can sync to an Android tablet and your next Android device.

Tap on Settings -> Backup & reset -> Check Back up my data

This allows the Nexus 4 to back up app data, WiFi passwords and other settings to Google. For added benefits, check Automatic restore.

This setting will automatically download and use app data when you re-install an app.

Read: 7 Reasons the iPhone 5 is Better Than the Nexus 4

Add Lock Screen Widgets

The Nexus 4 and Android 4.2 allow users to set lock screen widgets to quickly check information while the phone is locked. This pairs with a locked Nexus 4 well, since it is possible to quickly look at a twitter feed, calendar and even email without unlocking the phone.

With the lock screen visible, swipe left or right to see a “Plus Sign” and tap on it. Choose the widget you want and it is added to the lock screen.

Nexus 4 Setup and Security Guide - Lock screen widget

Set up lock screen widgets.

Pull down on the widget to make it full screen. Tap the lock icon at the bottom to unlock the phone.

Adding a Gmail widget means showing the sender, subject and first line of any message to whoever picks up your phone, so it’s not for everyone. To read or reply, the phone’s passcode is needed.

The calendar, Plume (twitter) and camera lock screen widgets are less likely to cause a security issue, and are incredibly handy.

Read: Galaxy Note 2 vs. Nexus 4 vs. iPhone 5 Size Comparison

Turn on Daydream Mode

The Nexus 4 supports a new screensaver mode called Daydream. By default Daydream is only on when the Nexus 4 is docked, on something like the Nexus 4 Wireless Charging Orb, but since that isn’t available we’re going to turn it on whenever the phone is charging.

Tap on Settings -> Display -> Daydream -> Choose a type

Next, tap on When to Daydream -> and choose Either

This will allow the phone to enter Daydream mode while charging. You can preview the daydream mode by tapping Start Now.

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Daydream mode.

The Photo Table is a cool Daydream mode that uses photos on the Nexus 4 and in the Instant Upload category. Photos spin onto the screen and users can arrange them or flick them off the display.

Set Up Google Now

Google Now is a cool app that offers voice control similar to Siri, but is smarter. Once set up, Google Now predicts the information you will need and displays it on cards that show up in the notification screen and in the Google Now app.

These include alerts for sports teams, traffic to home and work, weather, flight information, public transit, places and more. Google Now learns based on your search history, so it’s important to link it to your main Google account.

Open Google Now for the first time and pick your primary Google account.

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Google Now offers sports info and more.

From here it will start offering information about where you work and what you are interested in. Open Google Now and tap on settings to configure sports teams and other information.

The cards will start to show up as you go through your day. You can dismiss cards with a swipe, just like notifications.

To open Google Now from any screen, slide your finger up from the home button. From here you’ll see cards and can start the voice search by saying Google, then your search.

Read: Nexus 4 vs. iPhone 5 Camera Shootout

Set Owner Info on Lock Screen

If a phone is lost and locked with a password it is tough for the finder to return it, but by setting owner information, an email and phone number will show on the front of the phone.

Tap on Settings -> Security -> Owner info -> Check Show owner info on lock screen

Enter your contact info, but not this phone’s number.

This simple step can mean the difference between a phone that sits in lost and found and one that is back in your pocket.

Install Lookout to Find a Lost Nexus 4

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Find a lost Nexus 4.

Android doesn’t include a Find My Phone feature like the iPhone, but with the free LookOut app it’s easy to track a lost or stolen Nexus 4.

Go to Google Play and install Lookout Security and AntiVirus. Make sure to turn Missing Device on.

Once set up, you can go online and find your Nexus 4 if it is missing or stolen. This also includes Flare, a feature that sends your phone’s last location before its battery dies. The premium features allow users to remotely lock and wipe the Nexus 4 if it is lost.

In addition to finding the Nexus 4, Lookout can also scan apps to help users avoid malware.

Set up Gmail Right

Gmail sounds alerts and notifications for every incoming message by default, which gets annoying quick. Setting up Gmail for Android right limits interruptions and means no more missed messages.

Tap on Gmail -> Tap on Settings -> Tap on the email account.

  • Check Priority inbox to only show important messages.

Here’s where you can start to take control. Turn off the sound for the priority inbox notifications, and set up notifications for important labels. This means fewer distractions, without giving up notifications from important senders.

  • Turn off notification sounds by tapping on Sound & Vibrate, and choosing a silent ringtone.
  • On your desktop create a label for all of your co-workers or other important senders.
  • Go back to the main screen and tap on Manage labels on the Nexus 4
  •  Select the label, choose to sync it and give it a distinct ringtone.

Another great idea is to go to the main settings screen, tap on General settings and scroll down to Auto-fit messages. Check this box to shrink messages to the Nexus 4’s smaller screen.




  1. jack

    12/10/2012 at 11:14 am

    Great guide, thanks!

  2. Omar

    12/10/2012 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks a lot , very good guide.

  3. steve

    12/10/2012 at 9:15 pm

    Very informative thanks.

  4. Michaela Herz

    12/11/2012 at 1:55 am

    So you got your brand new NEXUS :) what apps are you going to install on it? There are a ton to choose from but unless you have a ton of time too you are not going to be happy with regular app stores… go highest rated? Says who that what others use is good for you? check this out!/c-::p-1 hope you like it

  5. Fone_Fanatic

    12/11/2012 at 10:22 am

    Instead of Lookout, I highly recommend Cerberus. Yes it’s not free but it is the best “security” app by far! Log onto the web (or send an SMS to your lost or stole phone) and not only can you locate it, but you can command it to take a picture, video, record audio, get call log, sms log etc. It’s definitely the first app I install on any new android device.

    • Sarah

      12/12/2012 at 11:57 am

      Bella. I agree that Dennis`s bl0g is impossible… last wednesday I bought a great Jaguar XJ after making $7746 this last 5 weeks and-over, 10k last-month. without a doubt it is the most-comfortable job Ive had. I began this 3 months ago and almost immediately started making a nice more than $70… p/h. I use this website, DOMAIN.COM

      • Ha!

        02/06/2013 at 12:35 am

        ^bot coding fail

  6. Sam Chapman

    03/20/2013 at 2:29 am

    Good guide, but did not tell me how to display my nexus 4’s phone number in the settings menu, or eve better, display my number when I make a call to someone who is NOT using a mobile phone. Find the lack of this feature very annoying, as I just can’t remember long phone numbers!

  7. Colleen

    04/20/2013 at 8:13 am

    Awesome guide – thanks!

  8. Tech Blog

    08/12/2013 at 2:24 am

    Thanks for this awesome lost!

  9. UC Browser for PC

    08/12/2013 at 2:25 am

    Well, thanks for this awesome post!

  10. Shikha Shrivastav

    09/06/2013 at 11:36 pm

    Tips and Tricks for Nexus 4
    here is link

    hope you like it…

  11. Julia Jackson

    09/07/2013 at 2:41 am

    Really this link one of nice link for Tips and Tricks for Nexus 4
    here is link

  12. אייל

    03/04/2014 at 8:18 am

    I have a nexus 4 and the max time that can be selected for screen security->automatically lock is 10 minutes. is there anyway to increase this?

  13. dish hampton va

    08/20/2014 at 9:52 pm

    I’d like to find out more? I’d want to find out some additional information.

  14. Jonathan Cain

    03/07/2015 at 5:10 pm

    Have a new Nexus 4. Cannot set it up. I cannot get out of the tutorial mode and set the phone up.

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