The new Google Nexus 6 smartphone runs great from the moment you pull it out of the box thanks to the completely redesigned and lively Android 5.0 Lollipop software update. However you’ll want to make a few immediate changes to be better prepared, more secure, achieve better performance and enjoy the best experience possible.
Now that Google’s flagship Nexus phone made by Motorola is out and in the wild, shipping from multiple outlets starting this week, buyers will be getting the phone and may want to check out the few things detailed below.
Everyone is different when it comes to how they use their smartphone, and what for, but below you’ll find 5 essential tips to help you get started with the Nexus 6. 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.
Eager buyers getting the Nexus 6 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 you’ll still want to do a few things to get the best results.
On first boot you’ll be greeted with a brand new restore option if you’re coming from a previous Android phone 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 smartphone. 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, set data usage limits, make battery saving changes, and a few other things, so check them out below.
It’s also worth noting that those coming from iOS or Windows Phone 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.
While Android is great at going through the first few steps, signing in and syncing your Gmail, and generally getting started it forgets one key important feature. Security! It takes about 30 seconds to set up a passcode or pattern lock, and your device will be protected from prying eyes or in case of loss/theft. There’s even a new measure in Android 5.0 where you’ll need this pattern or pin before the phone even boots, this is an extra layer of protection that could really save you.
Simply slide down the notification bar and head into settings, or find the gear-shaped icon from the screenshot above in the application tray.
Settings > Security > Screen Lock > and select Pattern, PIN, or a Password
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 call, 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.
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 6.
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 6. Then you’ll be set next year when you get a new Galaxy S6, or the next Nexus smartphone.
Set Mobile Data Limits
We all wish we had unlimited data options from carriers, but sadly that’s becoming less and less of an option. As a result many users have 2 or 4GB data plans, or shared family plans are popular as of late. The Nexus 6 with fast 4G LTE from all five major US carriers can churn through data if you’re browsing the web, viewing YouTube and Netflix, or installing large games like Asphalt 8. All of which you’ll want to do and enjoy with that 5.96-inch Quad-HD display.
Before you go over your data limit and get additional charges from a carrier, you’ll want to quickly set a mobile data limit for the device. You’ll do this by heading into:
Settings > Data Usage > Set Cellular Data Limit >
From here you can slide the bars to your specific days in which your plan begin/ends, and even see what’s taking up the most data. You can cycle through previous months, and even enable WiFi tracking in settings. As a reminder, this may not be 100% accurate with carrier data limits, so use caution. However, we’ve found it to be extremely accurate in the past. The settings menu inside data usage can also be used to enable data roaming, restrict background data usage and more.
If you tap the actual button to “Set Cellular Data Limit” with Android 5.0 Lollipop data will turn off once that limit is met, more than just a warning. The slider will give you warnings, but the toggle switch will actually prevent overages from happening.
The Nexus 6 is the biggest Nexus smartphone ever released, so many are concerned about battery life. Thanks to a large 3,220 mAh battery and a new Turbo Charger this isn’t nearly as much of an issue as the Nexus 4 or Nexus 5, but you’ll still want to try and conserve battery. There’s a magnitude of ways to do so, so we’ll just mention a few quick and easy ones to enable during initial setup. This is a beginners guide, and we’ll dive into the battery later for advanced users.
Screen brightness, sleep time, and location settings are the three key areas we wanted to focus on for battery life. For starters you’ll want to head in and choose screen brightness. Many opt for auto-mode, but that will make the screen fluctuate so much, especially outside, that it can in turn make the battery die faster. All my friends and family for some reason blast screen brightness to 90-100%, then complain about battery life. The display is usually the #1 battery drain, so turn it down. I use somewhere around 25-30% myself, which is hard to judge from a slider, but go ahead and turn it down. You don’t need the screen to be a spotlight, and your battery will thank you.
Settings > Display > Brightness (and don’t forget to set the “sleep feature” I use 1 minute, default is 30 seconds)
You can also disable the new Ambient Display function on the Nexus 6 to get slightly better battery life, but that’s a feature many won’t want to give up.
Disabling things like animations in the developer settings can improve battery, but Android 5.0’s animations are what make it beautiful and a great user experience. The second thing you see above is location settings. This was new to Android 4.4 KitKat, and will help you better control what uses location services, and when. GPS for Maps, Google Now, and Facebook kills data. Personally I turn all location services off, except for the essentials.
Settings > Location > Mode > and select Battery Saving
High accuracy is the best, but Google Now has worked wonderfully for me with the battery saving mode enabled instead. The phone will still use WiFi and mobile networks to determine location, and GPS won’t be fired up and draining your battery. These are just a few tips of many, and expect more to be coming soon from the team here at GottaBeMobile.
When it comes to performance there isn’t a lot to say here, as each user has different needs. However, setting up widgets, lockscreen widget controls, Google Now alerts or cards, and much more can all help your device run smooth and make your life easier. Google Now is an option out of the box, and if you don’t know what it is, give it a try.
We suggest taking the time to enable certain cards in the Google Now settings. This will give you news, weather, sports alerts, driving directions, nearby restaurants and more all automatically, if you choose. This also will hurt battery life to some degree, so pick your battles.
Take notice of the two shortcuts on the lockscreen for the dialer and the camera. A swipe up unlocks, but a swipe from the left or right will launch the camera or the dialer for those quick moments where you only need one thing. Then of course enjoy the all new multi-tasking or last used apps system in Android 5.0 Lollipop. This is a new card-style UI that shows all recently opened apps. Flipping between them is a breeze, swiping clears apps and closes them down, and Google Chrome tabs are now included in here too.
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, or wanted a bigger screen over Apple’s latest and joined the Android side of things, everything above should help you be prepared for your Nexus 6.
There are tons of tweaks, changes, custom ROMs and hacks from developers and more that will be coming soon to this device, and as the release progresses we’ll be sure to add more details.
For now the Nexus 6 is still brand new, barely in the hands of buyers, but once you get your own get it all set up and ready to roll and it will run like new for years to come.