How to set up an Android tablet for the first time

© NextPit

If you've just picked up one of the new best Android tablets, plan on gifting one as a holiday gift or want to know how to help a family member get started amidst all the wrapping paper next month, we've put together a general guide on how to set up an Android tablet for the first time, no matter which brand you have.

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We'll hold your hand through the Android tablet setup process. © ANDROIDPIT

No matter what you buy, there are a few default setup screens you'll see. We'll take you through the major screens on every device, but some may be a little different. Not every screen will apply specifically to your tablet, so don't be alarmed if I mention a screen you don't see. I'm using a Nexus 9 running stock Android 5.0 Lollipop for the screenshots. Your tablet may look a little different.

Not all tablets are SIM-equipped, but if yours is, you can insert it first. © NextPit

Insert SIM card

If you have a 3G/4G connected tablet, you can insert a SIM card before you even turn your tablet on. The SIM slot is usually hidden behind a flap on most tablets, typically next to a microSD card tray (if your tablet has one). Just check the edges till you find one. If you don't, you probably don't have a SIM enabled tablet! If you need help getting into the SIM tray, here's how to insert a SIM card without a SIM tool.

AndroidPIT Android 5 0 Lollipop Nexus 9 Setup 1a
Choose your language. © ANDROIDPIT

Choose your language

Hold down the power button to fire up your tablet for the first time. The first step on any fresh start is to select your language. Just swipe through the list and then confirm your default language. You can change this again in the Settings.

AndroidPIT Android 5 0 Lollipop Nexus 9 Setup 3a
Set up your Wi-Fi network. © ANDROIDPIT
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Set up Wi-Fi

The next step is to add a Wi-Fi network. You can do this later as well, but it's good to do straight away because it helps you set everything up a little bit faster and get any app or system updates right off the bat.

AndroidPIT Android 5 0 Lollipop Nexus 9 Setup 7
Add your Google account details. © ANDROIDPIT
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Add your accounts

Next up you'll be asked to add your accounts, whether they are Google accounts or Samsung accounts. Add as many accounts as you would like associated with the tablet and put in your passwords for each one.

AndroidPIT Android 5 0 Lollipop Nexus 9 Setup 9
Add your payment info (this can be done later or skipped entirely). © ANDROIDPIT
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Add payment info

If you have a Google Wallet or Samsung Wallet account and want payment info set up on your device, feel free to add this info too. You can always remove it or add it in later, so it's not essential at this point.

AndroidPIT Android 5 0 Lollipop Nexus 9 Setup 11
You may not see the Tap & Go screen, but you'll likely be prompted to restore your data. © ANDROIDPIT

Tap & Go/Restore

Some tablets let you migrate your data from your old phone or tablet to the new one. The Nexus 9, for example, uses Tap & Go, which connects the two devices via NFC and uses Bluetooth to transmit your apps, accounts and data over. It's very simple and very helpful. Other tablets will prompt you to restore your apps and data from your account: either a Google account or manufacturer account and some, Like LG's G Pad 8.3 lets you pair your phone and tablet via QPair. Feel free to make use of these options to save you some time re-installing apps.

AndroidPIT Android 5 0 Lollipop Nexus 9 Setup 12
You won't get very far without agreeing to Google's services. © ANDROIDPIT

Agree to Google's services

Google will want you to answer a few things about backup, restoring, communications and naming your first born after Larry or Sergei. Check the boxes you agree to and move on. You'll also get the prompt to enable Google Now

AndroidPIT Android 5 0 Lollipop Nexus 9 Setup 13
Enable Google Now or sign in to any other device-specific accounts or services. © ANDROIDPIT
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Set up preferences/accounts

You may now be presented with some device-specific screens about particular services or features, like Sony's My Xperia service, Playstation connectivity or automatic sign-in to social accounts if they were stored in your account backup.

AndroidPIT Android 5 0 Lollipop Nexus 9 Setup 15
Welcome to your new tablet's home screen! © ANDROIDPIT

Familiarize yourself with the new layout

Depending on the tablet you chose, you may be a little unfamiliar with the new layout, with different apps pre-installed, new wallpapers and a manufacturer interface over the notifications area, app drawer and settings menu. Mos tablets will provide a shot tutorial on the home screen to show you where things are, how folders work and that kind of thing.

AndroidPIT Android 5 0 Lollipop Nexus 9 Setup 5a
If your tablet didn't search for updates during setup, make sure you do it manually. © ANDROIDPIT

Check for updates

One of the first things to do when you set up a new device is head to the Play Store and install whatever app updates you need. Keeping your system running smoothly and quickly quite often comes down to keeping your apps up to date and not installing or keeping any that you don't really need. So open the Play Store, head to My Apps and see which apps have updates waiting for you. You can even get the latest Google apps before they're available in the Play Store.

That's all there is to it folk! What is your favorite tablet right now? How often do you upgrade your tablet compared to your phone?

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