USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham asks people in line at a Los Angeles Apple Store the first thing they want to do with their new iPhone X's. USA TODAY


You've just got a new iPhone. Now what?

If you’re like many smartphone owners, you toss your old device into a drawer and start to set up the new phone – but you might be making the transition more difficult than it needs to be, and perhaps carrying over some not-so-great habits from your old iPhone to your new one.

To get the most out of your iPhone 8 (from $699), iPhone 8 Plus (from $799) or iPhone X ($999 up) consider these following suggestions right off the bat.

1. Keep everything (for now)

Don’t ditch your old phone just yet. You’re likely going to need it to migrate content to the new iPhone you just bought. If emails I receive from readers are any indication, many people prematurely sell, trade-in or hand-down an older phone, only to realize you didn’t quite get everything you needed off the old device.

Unless you’re selling your old iPhone, you can also keep and use your older charger cable and earbuds — though you’ll have to use an adaptor for the earbuds, as there’s no headphone jack on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X.

Speaking of keeping things, when you buy your new iPhone, don’t ditch the receipt or box. Some retailers don’t accept returns without boxes. Or if you want to resell your iPhone privately one day — perhaps on eBay, Craigslist, or Gazelle — it’ll help your chances of selling it if you list the box is included.

More: How to make the most money selling your old iPhone

More: Genius new uses for that old iPhone

2. Restore!

If you were using an older iPhone and liked your settings and apps, and such, it’s super easy to set up your new iPhone to look and operate like your old one.

PC and Mac users can simply plug in the old iPhone into the USB port, and once iTunes opens, choose to back-up its contents to the computer’s hard drive – if iTunes doesn’t do this automatically for you. Once the process is completed, plug the new iPhone into the USB port and in iTunes, click Restore backup.

You can also do this through Apple’s cloud service, iCloud, but you only get 5 gigabytes (GB) of storage for free.

As I discussed in a recent Surf Report column, if you’re moving from an Android to an iPhone, the best way to move your info over to the new phone is with the help of Apple’s Move to iOS app, available on the Google Play store. (You’ll need a device running Android 4.0 or newer).

More: How to switch from Android to iPhone, and what you lose if you do

3. Set up your new device (just right)


USA Today contributor Jennifer Jolly shows us some absolutely genius 're-uses' for an that old iPhone that you have lying around the house. USA TODAY

If you chose to restore your old iPhone’s contents then many of your preferences and settings will be imported into the new iPhone.

If not, you might go through a bit of trial and error to setup the new iPhone the way you want, but here are a few tips.

Register a fingerprint and passcode right when you set up the new device instead of pressing “Skip,” as you’ll want to prevent anyone from accessing your phone if it’s lost or stolen. Your fingerprint on the Touch ID sensor (integrated into the Home button) will also let you purchase things online or at retail (via Apple Pay, which you should also set up on your new device). Set up “Find My Phone,” in case you misplace your iPhone, so you can remotely wipe its data clean, place a message on the screen (“Call me for a reward”), or track it on a map. But always work with authorities to retrieve a stolen iPhone rather than attempting it on your own.

Get to know Siri, as your personal assistant can help you get more done in less time. Ask questions, give commands, and let Siri write your text messages and emails for you (but review before you send). Siri is getting smarter in iOS 11. Speaking of which, get to know the new operating system, which includes many new features, ranging from a revamped Messages app and new control center to an updated App Store and beefier Notes section.

Finally, set up the icons however you like. There’s no rule of thumb, but most people place their most-used icons on the bottom of the phone for easy access – and yes, you can change, move around, or add to what Apple starts you off with. Download new apps from the App Store to customize your phone to your liking.

More: 5 new features worth checking out on iOS11

4. Protect your investment

While there’s no shortage of accessories for your new iPhone, there’s only one that’s a “need to have” rather than a “nice to have,” and that’s a protective case.

In fact, you can’t afford not to have one. It doesn’t take much to drop a smartphone, so be sure to invest in a fitted case that can protect the device. While some can be expensive, cases for all the popular smartphones can be found at your local dollar store, believe it or not.

If you’re really the klutzy type, or perhaps work in the field, you might consider a more ruggedized case, such as the Otterbox products, that completely safeguards the phone from environmental hazards.

Thin and transparent shields can be placed on the front of the smartphone, to protect its screen from scratches.

You might consider AppleCare, Apple’s extended warranty program, but you’ll need to see if you can afford it, and be aware of what it covers and what it doesn’t.

More: AppleCare for iPhone X is most expensive phone coverage ever. Is it worth it?

More: The 10 best cases for your new iPhone X

5. Make backup a regular thing


USA TODAY's Personal Tech Columnist Ed Baig has the lowdown on whether the iPhone8 is worth the buy or if you should wait for iPhone 10's release. USA TODAY

Just in case your phone is lost, stolen or damaged, it’s imperative to back-up your new iPhone on a regular basis.

Make it a habit to do it every night, whether you plug it into a PC or Mac (and let iTunes do the back-up), or use iCloud (200GB for $2.99/month), or go with a clever accessory that can manage this all for you.

A new accessory called SanDisk iXpand Base can be placed anywhere there’s an electrical outlet, and when you connect your iPhone with its cable, it not only charges up your iPhone but it also backs-up its photos, videos and contacts to the base – creating a second copy of these valuable files should you need it. You can also remove the SD card out of the back of the base and insert it into a computer to view the photos and videos. There are four storage options in total, ranging from 32GB ($49) and going up to 256GB ($199).

Another option is your own personal cloud. Western Digital’s My Cloud Home storage device (from $139 for 2 terabytes) plugs directly into your home’s Wi-Fi router, so you can save all your digital content in one place. Automatically back up the photos and videos on your phone, via the app, plus you can wirelessly back up and sync your PC and Mac computers, and cloud accounts. Storage options go all the way up to 8TB ($284).

More: Try these 10 games on your new iPhone or Android

More: How to choose the best iPhone, from SE to iPhone 8 to X

Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. Or visit


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