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Nexus 7 Setup and Security Guide



Setting up the Nexus 7 is straightforward, but if you want to make sure you’re new Jelly Bean tablet is ready to rock here are 10 set up steps to perform right out of the box.

This Nexus 7 setup guide covers the basics of getting the Nexus 7 configured and securing it for the future.

If this is your first Android tablet, treat this like a step by step guide for the Nexus 7.

If you’re an advanced Android user be sure to check out the security options and later steps for helpful tips on getting more out of the Nexus 7.

This video will show you how to get started on the Nexus 7.

Automatically Back Up the Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 will ask if you want to backup to Google’s servers. This option is highly recommended as it will make restoring app data, bookmarks, WiFi passwords, and other settings to the Nexus 7 if you need to reset it or switch to a new Nexus 7 unit down the road.

Automatic Nexus 7 backup

The Nexus 7 can automatically back up app data and settings.

If you don’t check this option game saves and other app stored data should be backed up manually with an app from the marketplace on a regular basis. I suggest using the Google device backup, even if you are wary of storing this info on Google’s servers for the simplicity of restoring down the road.

Turn Location Services On

During set up the Nexus 7 will ask if you want to enable Location Services. Turn on Google Location Services and Standalone GPS Services to let the Nexus 7 deliver location-based results for Google Now and for Google searches.

Nexus 7 Location services

Turn on Nexus 7 location services for local search results.

Just like smartphones, the Nexus 7 has GPS built-in so it can find exact locations quickly. When prompted, check the box and agree to terms of use, which are pretty standard.

Claim Your Credit & Restore Your Android Phone Apps

If you have an Android phone you can use many of the apps you purchased on the Nexus 7. This is also a perfect time to claim the $25 Play Store credit that comes as a bonus for the Google Nexus 7 early orders.

Tap on the Play Store icon and when prompted agree to the Play Store terms and services. After logging in you should see an alert that you now have $25 in Google Play Store credit. This is good for music, movies, apps and magazines.

Install purchased apps on Nexus 7

Install purchased apps from your phone on Nexus 7.

To restore any apps you purchased on your Android phone, Open Play Store and tap on the small Download icon in the upper right.

Swipe from right to left or tap on All if in landscape  to see all of your apps.

This list shows you all the free and paid apps linked to your Gmail account. From here it is possible to download the apps to the Nexus 7.

Install LookOut to find Lost or Stolen Nexus 7

It’s easy to misplace gadgets that travel outside the house, and the Nexus 7 is small enough to be a constant travel companion. Install Lookout mobile to track your Nexus 7 in the event that it is lost or stolen.

Lookout Mobile is a free service that can locate and make your Nexus 7 emit a loud siren (even turning the volume up) so that it can be located. Unlike phones, the Nexus 7 will need to be connected to WiFi, so this isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s better than leaving the Nexus 7 un-trackable.

Nexus 7 tracking - lost or stolen

Lookout Mobile is a free way to find a lost or stolen Nexus 7 tablet.

Thanks to the GPS, you can track to an exact location, in my tests Lookout found the Nexus 7 and identified my house on Google Maps. Pro features include the ability to remotely lock and or wipe the device. In addition to tracking Lookout mobile scans for viruses and performs device backups.

Install Lookout Mobile from Google Play.

Set a Device Lock

In order to prevent others from using the Nexus 7 without your permission, you should lock the tablet. This is especially useful on a small tablet like the Nexus 7 that will go out of the house on a regular basis.

Nexus 7 Setup and Security

Set up Nexus 7 security.

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Security
  • Tap on Screen lock.

Choose to use a pattern unlock, PIN unlock or password unlock. The password unlock is probably the most secure due to the ability to use a long, strong password, but these options are better than leaving the Nexus 7 unlocked.

Contact Info On the Lock Screen

If you lock the Nexus 7, someone who finds it won’t have an easy way to contact you and return it unless you put the info on the lock screen. To put your contact info on the lock screen follow these steps.

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Security
  • Tap on Owner info

Enter your phone number or email address, and if you want a reward amount for the safe return of the Nexus 7.

Only Install Apps From Official Sources

App stores

Stick to official app stores.

Most app and malware issues on Android come from installing apps from odd locations. In order to keep your Nexus 7 running smoothly we suggest sticking to the Google Play Store, Amazon Android App Store and GetJar.

Some apps might not be available in the official app stores, especially hacks and tweaks found in forums. Before installing these apps make sure other forums users report success, and no signs of malware.

Buy a Nexus 7 Case or Screen Protector

The Nexus 7 has good build quality and a scratch resistant display, but it’s still a good idea to invest in a nice case. A good case will prevent damage over time, especially if you plan to take it out all the time.

There aren’t many case options available just yet, but we did round-up the Best Nexus 7 Cases available so far.

Nexus 7 Rotating case

One of the available Nexus 7 cases.

If you want a cheap case, check out the clearance Kindle Fire cases at your local big box store to look for a cheap sleeve, but make sure you test the fit before buying.

Use Google Voice to Turn Your Nexus 7 Into a Phone

The Nexus 7 can’t make phone calls out of the box, but with a Google Voice number and the free Talkatone app, you can turn your Nexus 7 tablet into an internet phone.

Talkatone allows you to make and receive calls and text messages to your Google Voice number.

Google Voice Calls on Nexus 7

Make phone calls on the Nexus 7 tablet with Talkatone and Google Voice.

Download Talkatone from Google Play.

The official Google Voice app only allows you to send text messages, but with Talkatone you can answer incoming calls even if your phone is across the room.

Turn on 2 Factor Authentication

With all the information kept on your Gmail and google accounts, its a good idea to secure your Gmail account with two step verification.The video below explains the benefits of this secure system.

You can follow our guide to set up two-step verification on your Gmail account using your phone as a second key to get in to your Gmail account.

Once you set up the two-factor authentication you may need to log in to your Gmail account on the Nexus 7 again, but from there it will remember your password.

Pick Up Essential Nexus 7 Accessories

The Nexus 7 is picky about what will charge it so we recommend picking up a spare Nexus 7 charger. You might also want to get a iPad car charger, which should put out enough power to charge the Nexus 7, though you may need the original USB cable to enable fast charging.

Spiderpodium a nexus 7 stand

The Spiderpodium is a great Nexus 7 stand.

We also recommend a stand, like the SpiderPodium or a similar universal tablet stand to set the Nexus 7 on while watching movies or using it for video chatting.



  1. Nexus 7 sleeve case

    07/19/2012 at 7:30 pm

    Coooooooooool! the Spidery Podium is simply fabulous!!!!! Definitely needs one for my Nexus 7!!!

  2. Mark

    07/21/2012 at 2:08 am

    I’m new to Android, so that was really useful, cheers for the effort.

  3. Heath

    07/23/2012 at 8:54 am

    With so much wrapped up in your Google account, if you have anything Android you should activate the 2-step authentication where you telesign into your account, and have the security knowing you are protected if your password were to be stolen.

  4. Baffled

    07/24/2012 at 3:10 pm

    Found this site while trying to find very basic wlan setup help for my Nexus which arrived today can anyone help me?

    I have a wlan setup on my Vigor 2820vn router which I use for connecting with a Kindle but I dont know the password and therefore cannot use this connection for the Nexus.

    I thought I would setup a new Wlan so that my son could also use with his Ipad. The Nexus sees both connections but when I try to connect to the new wlan it shows “obtaining an Ip address” then “authenticating” but never connects. I have also a wired Lan off this router and all the wired devices have Fixed IP addresses so I dont understand how any wireless device can get an IP address???

    As you can tell I am Not an IT guru, but I do think Google should at least provide some setup support for this product – if it does exists it mus be well hidden. Any advice would be much appreciated


  5. Jay Sprenkle

    07/25/2012 at 7:14 am

    Thanks for an excellent article. I have one concern though. Talkatone records my google account password. They state it’s to “reduce inter server traffic.” This is a BIG security problem. I wouldn’t recommend using their product until that’s fixed.

  6. Christine

    08/03/2012 at 8:21 pm

    I just got my Nexus 7 and am lost! I’ve never used an android device before so need some help! When I placed my order I created a new gmail account, I have one for my business but thought I didn’t want to use that one. I’ve since changed my mind and would like to use my business gmail account as the default. Is there any way to change this and also move my $25 credit over to this account? Or do I even need to move them over? Thanks for your help!

  7. MacKenzie

    09/01/2012 at 6:30 am

    I have a couple of questions my headphone jack is not working on my nexus 7 should I switch it out to get another nexus 7 or keep it and if I were 2 switch it will my apps be backed up cuz I Have them backed up will my apps like bakery story will i still be on the same lvl plz help :(

    • Mike B

      10/15/2012 at 12:44 pm

      Hi MacKenzie. Have you received a reply to this? If not…I just purchased a Nexus 7 and love it. I’m not an expert by any means, but I noticed the headphone jack is not a “standard” 3-post jack – stereo headphones have 3 metal/copper contact points separated by 2 insulator rings.

      The Nexus 7 has a 4-post jack, which is 4 contact points separated by 3 insulator rings. I *believe* this accommodates a headphone/microphone combo. I have a set of earbuds with a mic built-in to the line…this works with the Nexus 7 in the headphone jack.

      Update: I just tried my regular over-ear headphones which has a standard plug and it does work. Hmmm

      As for backup/restore. I backed up my apps from my Android phone some time ago. When I started the Nexus 7 using the same account info, my apps started appearing (restore) on the Nexus 7! Awesome, however, my game progress and other app settings did not restore. Not sure why. My GPS and music player apps, which I paid for, were re-downloaded from Google Play and are the full versions on the N7.

  8. Sandra

    09/04/2012 at 3:21 pm

    Does Nexus7 come with built in antivirus?? If not then what is recommended??

  9. bud welton

    09/18/2012 at 7:56 pm

    How can I prevent my kids from making in-app purchases?

  10. Amanda

    10/09/2012 at 10:59 pm

    Lost my nexus 7! Anyway to track it if I didn’t download the security app?

    • Mike B

      10/15/2012 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Amanda. Not sure if you found it yet, or if someone replied already. Have you looked into Lookout Mobile’s “Plan B”? I know it works for phones and can be installed using Google Play (the store) on your PC. I have installed apps on my Nexus 7 using this method and it works well.

      According to Google Play, Plan B is compatible with the Nexus 7 – one of my devices I have registered with Google. I would try that if it is still missing.

  11. Mike B

    10/15/2012 at 12:47 pm

    Nice article! I didn’t know Lookout was compatible with the Nexus 7 but it works great. I followed your information and installed the apps up to the 2-step authentication part. I may try that later. I didn’t know that was an option. Thanks for the info.

  12. cobra Peterson

    11/08/2012 at 10:08 pm

    I want to know when I locked already it always turn light ?

  13. Kathy F

    11/12/2012 at 12:15 am

    How do I log out of my gmail account? I want to let my daughter use the Nexus but want to keep my mail private. Can’t find any way to sign out of my gmail–??

  14. Vic Daniel

    12/16/2012 at 1:49 am

    Hello. I just bought my nexus 7 yesterday, and simply cannot get it to switch on. It has been on charge overnight for over 12 hours (as advised by friends) but when i press the power button nothing happens.I have pressed it quickly, for 2 seconds (as advised) and 4 seconds as stated in the quick-start guide. Nothing! Have I really bought a dud?? Please advise. Thanks.

    • ks

      12/20/2012 at 7:38 am

      try hold the button for 15 seconds.

    • Francois

      01/03/2013 at 2:55 pm

      I had the same problem and when it turned on finally it would shut off every so often without warning. I returned the tablet to Google but still do not have a replacement. How was your experience with your return or exchange if you did return it? Thanks!

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