Santa brought you an iPhone 7? Here's what to do first

iphone7

Despite planning to stick with my iPhone 6s for another year, I ended up upgrading to the iPhone 7, and I’m pleased that I did. If you were lucky enough to get an iPhone 7 for Christmas, or an iPhone 7 Plus for that matter, you’re no doubt going to be as happy with the latest Apple smartphone as I am.

Getting started is straightforward, as once the phone is turned on you’ll be walked through the set up process, how to configure the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, and set up a PIN. Once you've set up the basics, it's time to explore what you can do with your new device.

Accessories

The iPhone 7 is very light, but quite strong. Even so, you’ll probably want to invest in a case for it, especially if you have the glossy Jet Black iPhone (as I do) which can suffer from scuffs and scratches just from daily use. I’ve opted for a Casetify case, but there’s certainly no shortage of other cases available. Bear in mind, the design of the iPhone changed slightly for the iPhone 7, so if you’re upgrading from an old iPhone, you’ll need a new case.

The headphone jack was dropped from this model, but I haven’t found that to be a big deal, as I tend to use Bluetooth headphones anyway. The set of wired headphones that come with the phone plug directly into the Lightning port, so you can use them immediately, and there’s also an included 3mm jack adaptor if you want to use an existing pair of headphones.

Software

If your version of iOS isn’t fully up to date, you’ll want to update it now. Go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Install all of the apps you want through the App Store. If you have iTunes gift cards, you can redeem them at the bottom of the App Store's Featured screen.

If you’ve previously owned an iPhone, you can restore a backup from it through iTunes -- assuming you have an old backup. Alternatively, you can install any previously downloaded apps by opening the App Store, tapping Updates, tapping Purchased and opening the Not on This iPhone tab.

Apple now lets you remove unwanted stock apps. The process is the same as deleting any other apps you don’t want. Press down gently until the apps start to wobble, and then tap the ones you want to remove. Press down too heavily, and you’ll activate 3D Touch, which brings up a context menu.

Dragging a wobbling app on to another will create a folder, allowing you to easily sort a large app collection.

When you’ve finished deleting apps, tap the Home button to stop them wobbling.

Menus

Swipe up from the bottom to access the Control Center, which is where you can toggle settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb and Airplane mode, on or off. You can also adjust the brightness here, manage Night Shift settings (this changes the hue of the display based on the time of day), and turn on the flashlight. Press down hard on the flashlight button, and you can choose one of three light intensities.

Swipe right in this menu to open the music controls.

Swipe left from the home screen to access the widgets screen, which shows the calendar, and other information. Scroll to the bottom to choose which widgets, from which apps, to display.

Swiping down from the Home screen displays all recent notifications. You can also archive or reply to a message from this screen.

Finally, swiping down from the center of the Home screen displays Spotlight search and Siri suggestions.

Camera

The Camera lets you take photos in a choice of styles, including square and panorama, and it can record Live Photos -- a cross between a photo and video. Press down on a photo captured in this way, and it will animate. This feature can be disabled at the top of the camera, along with HDR and the flash.

As well as opening the camera app, you can take photos, selfies. videos and slow-mo videos just by pressing down hard on the Camera button and selecting the option you want in the pop-up.

Once the camera app is open, you can take a photo by pressing the up and down volume keys simultaneously. You may also be able to do the same thing if you have a set of headphones with volume controls.

The iPhone 7 is capable of capturing footage in 4K at 3o fps but you’ll need to enable this first. Go to Settings > Photos & Camera > Record Video. Videos recorded in 4K are large, and of course may not play on all of your equipment.

Hard reboot

If your iPhone locks for any reason, you can force a hard reboot. In previous iPhones, this was done by holding down power and Home, but because Apple has changed the type of Home button in the iPhone 7, you now do this by holding down power and volume down. You’ll need to log in with your PIN after a reset.

Summary

I’ve owned and used a lot of phones over the years, including iPhones and Android phones. I certainly don’t dislike Android, and I love what HTC and Samsung are doing with their devices. However, the iPhone 7 is the best phone I’ve owned to date. If you’re lucky enough to have received the iPhone 7, or iPhone 7 Plus, for Christmas you’re in for a very good new year.

Image credit: Wayne Williams

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