You’ve just unwrapped your very first Android phone. Congratulations! As Obi-Wan Kenobi would say, “you’ve taken your first steps into a larger world.” Android is a personal and powerful experience. You’ve probably done a few obvious things already, like sign into your WiFi and install Facebook, but there’s so much more you can do. Here are some of the first things you should do with your shiny new phone.
1. Master Your Device
We don’t know what phone you have, but there’s a good chance we’ve published a guide for it. Below is a list of some of the popular Android devices from the last year. If you have one of these devices, this is a great place to start. You’ll find information that is much more specific to your device.
- HTC One M9 – Things to do, Tips & Tricks
- HTC One A9 – Tips & Tricks
- LG G4 – Thing to do, Tips & Tricks, Best Accessories
- LG V10 – Things to do, Tips & Tricks
- Motorola Moto G 2015 – Things to do
- Motorola Moto X Pure Edition – Tips & Tricks
- Nexus 6P – Things to do
- Samsung Galaxy S6 – Things to do, Tips & Tricks, Best Accessories
- Samsung Galaxy Note 5 – Things to do, Tips & Tricks, Best Accessories
2. Download the Best Apps
One of the first things you’re going to want to do is open the Google Play Store and download apps. Without apps, a smartphone is just a phone. You already know about the basics: Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, YouTube, etc. Below you will find some other apps that are worth a look.
Inbox is an email app from the folks at Gmail. It automatically organizes everything and only notifies you of the important emails. It’s great if you’re just a casual email user.
Podcasts are more popular than ever nowadays. The best podcasts app you can find on any platform is Pocket Casts. It can sync progress across devices, play to a Chromecast, auto download new episodes, and so much more. *cough* Mobile Roar Podcast.
One of the great features of Android is the ability to download keyboards. SwiftKey is an awesome alternative to whatever keyboard your device came with. The more you use it the more it learns about the way you type, which makes typing even easier.
There are thousands of apps that can edit photos, but our favorite is VSCO Cam. It does much more than simply slap a filter on top of your photo. This is a powerful photo editor, but the interface makes it easy for anyone to use.
|Relay for Reddit
If you’re a Redditor you will be looking for a great Reddit app. You can’t go wrong with Relay. It has a beautiful Material Design, tons of gestures for navigation, and it comes with many different views for reading subreddits.
If you’ve been using social media sites for years you have a time capsule full of stuff just waiting to be seen. Timehop displays your old tweets, status updates, Instagram photos, and more every day. It’s like a time machine for your life.
Checking the weather is an important part of most people’s days. Most Android devices can check the weather by simply doing a Google search. If you’re interested in more in-depth forecasts and information you should check out AccuWeather.
A to-do list can play an important part in making your life more productive. Wunderlist is one of the best list apps out there. It can sync across tons of different devices, and it’s great for collaborating with others.
Google Maps is great on Android devices, but if you travel a lot you may want to take it up a notch. Waze is crowd-sourced traffic information at your fingertips. Get alerts when cops are ahead or if traffic is slowing down.
iPhone’s aren’t the only devices that can make mobile payments. Android Pay allows some phones to pay for things by tapping your phone against a terminal. Simply enter your credit card information, set up a password, and you’re good to go. Not all phones are compatible.
Arguably the best app from 2014 is Pushbullet. With this app you can easily push things to other devices, but so, so much more. It can show your phone notifications on your PC, allow you to reply to SMS from your PC, and even sync your clipboard across devices.
IFTTT (if this then that) will automate your life. With this app you can create “recipes” that will do things for you. Get an alert when it’s going to rain. When you’re tagged in a Facebook photo save it to Dropbox. Automatically mute your device at work. And much more.
Now that you have an Android device you’ll want to be in the know about all things Android. With the Phandroid news app you can read everything we post. We’ll tell you about new phones, new apps, great games, and much more.
For a larger selection of apps for new users, check out this list of 40+ recommendations. We also have a lot of more specialized app lists available for your viewing pleasure. Here are a few to help you fill up that app drawer with awesome apps.
- Reader-voted best apps
- Best apps for writers
- Best apps for college students
- Best apps for dating
- Best apps for learning a language
- Best apps for kids
- Best apps of the month
3. Download the Best Games
Apps are great, but if you really want to have fun on your phone you’ll need some games. Some people say the best mobile games are only on the iPhone, but we disagree. The Play Store is chock full of excellent titles. Here are a few of our favorites.
TwoDots is the addictive sequel to last year’s “Dots.” All you have to do is connect dots, but don’t fool yourself into thinking it will be easy.
1+2=3. 3+3=6. 6+6=12. 12+12=24. Got it? You’ve mastered the basic concept of Threes! Slide numbers together to stay alive as long as possible.
Shooty Skies features that 3D, 8-bit look of Crossy Road, but infuses it with the gameplay of an endless runner and bullet hell shooter. The result is something that’s easy to pick up and play, but difficult to master.
|Angry Birds GO!
One of Rovio’s more recent Angry Bird games is “GO!” Think of it like Mario Kart meets the Angry Bird universe. It’s surprisingly fun.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful game for Android. The puzzles are tough, but you’ll be blown away by the visuals.
Everyone loves Minecraft. With the Pocket Edition you can play on your phone or tablet from anywhere. Never miss a block.
|Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
We couldn’t make a list without a Star Wars game. Not with The Force Awakens kicking butt in theaters. This is a collectible card game that includes characters from the first six films.
Fallout Shelter is a SimCity type construction/management simulator companion to Fallout 4, one of the most popular games of 2015. If you’re a fan of the Fallout games, you’ll love Fallout Shelter.
Think of Wordbase like aggressive scrabble. The goal is to connect words to make it to the other side of the board before your opponent.
|Lara Croft GO
Lara Croft GO is a turn based puzzle-adventure set in a long-forgotten world. It’s unlike any Tomb Raider game you’ve played, but it’s incredibly fun.
Here are a few more lists of great games for you to read.
- Best games for 2 players
- Most addictive games of 2015
- Most addictive games of 2014
- Best games of the month
4. Learn to do Everything
The next thing you’ll want to do is learn how to do important tasks on your phone. We’ve got a guide to help you do just about anything you could imagine on your phone. Here are some of the most important things you should know how to do.
In this guide we cover one of the most important things to know: finding your lost phone. As important as smartphones have become in our everyday lives, misplacing them is one of the most scary things that can happen. We discuss some things you can do to get it back, even if you weren’t prepared to have it happen!
Your phone has a lot of sensitive and important data on it. One of the most important things you can do is set up some kind of security to protect it. In this guide we walk you through the easy steps of setting up a lock screen pattern, pin, or password.
We already mentioned Android Pay as one of the apps you should install. In this guide, we show you how it works and how you can use it. The process is pretty simple, but it’s not something you want to set up as you’re trying to buy something. Do it now so you can use it.
Did you know the Google Search app has a built-in Car Locator for helping you remember where you parked? It can help you find your parked car with no extra effort on your part. This guide tells you hot to set it up.
Since there are so many different things you can do with an Android phone it’s inevitable that even seasoned veterans will be unaware of some basic tricks. We compiled this list of seven cool tricks that every Android user should know. Check it out for some pointers.
Taking the best smartphone photo possible doesn’t start with a 40MP camera. It doesn’t start when you begin flicking through those filters. It starts before with a bit of thoughtful planning based on some basic concepts even novice photographers can keep in their tool belt.
One of the best things about owning an Android device is Google Now voice commands. They’re extremely handy and powerful if you know how to use them. In this guide we show you how to use over 40 voice commands.
Are you switching to Android from an iOS device? If you haven’t turned off iMessage you could be a victim of lost messages and other bugs. In this guide we take you through the process of disabling iMessage. You might also want to know how to transfer contacts from iOS to Android.
If you know a lot of people who use iPhones you probably hear a lot about FaceTime. The bad news is you can’t make or receive FaceTime calls on an Android phone. The good news is there are plenty of alternatives that do basically the same thing.
5. Explore Android Forums
As you can tell, we cover a lot of stuff right here on Phandroid. Even with all of the great content we pump out, there is still some stuff we can’t cover. That’s where AndroidForums.com comes in. Over there you will find thousands of Android users just like you. They’re asking questions, sharing tips, giving advice, and generally being excited about Android.
There is a dedicated forum for asking questions, and specific forums for nearly every Android device on the face of the Earth. We also have a new forum dedicated to breaking Android news. If you desire more Android…anything, Android Forums is the place to go. There’s even an Android Forums app you can download.
Check out these popular threads to get your feet wet: