Tweak your smartphone: Customising made easy

CLAIRE ROGERS
Last updated 05:00 02/02/2013
BlackBerry Z10
HANDS ON: The BlackBerry Z10 smartphone.

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Nearly half of all New Zealand households now have a smartphone. Here's some start-up tips for those thinking about joining the revolution.

CONTACTS

Transferring your contacts to a new phone doesn't have to be tedious and time consuming.

❏ To transfer your contacts from your old phone to the new one, you can save the contact details to your Sim card (almost every phone should let you do this), pop the Sim in your new phone and import the contacts to it (Google for detailed instructions if necessary). This will work only if your new phone uses the same-sized Sim card as your old phone though. Some smartphones, such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S3, use smaller microSim cards.

❏ If that sounds too tricky, you can take your phone into your mobile provider and ask them to do it for you.

❏ Transferring contacts from a Google account to an Android phone or from your Apple account to an iPhone is simple. If your contacts (and calendars) are all synced with your Google account or Apple's iCloud, you'll just need to sign into your Google or Apple account on your Android smartphone or iPhone and sync contacts and calendars to bring them across.

❏ Syncing contacts across different operating systems (for example, from your Google account to an Apple iPhone) is trickier but still doable. For specific instructions see sites such as: google.com/sync/index.html.

WI-FI AND 3G To set up wi-fi, go to Settings and then Wi-Fi (if there's an option to turn wi-fi on, do this), then select the name of the network you want to connect to and enter the password.

To set up 3G mobile internet (this may already be done for you) go to Settings, then Network or Wireless and Networks and select mobile networks. Ensure mobile data is turned on.

EMAIL

Setting up email should be relatively straightforward. You may need to Google for instructions specific to your smartphone, but generally you can go to the Settings or Mail application, add an account by selecting your mail provider or choose "other" if it's not listed, and enter your email address and password.

CUSTOMISE

Smartphones let you tweak home screens by moving around app icons and choosing photos (including your own) as backgrounds and wallpapers. To bring all your favourite apps to your home screen, go to the applications menu, hold your finger on the icon of the app you want to move and then drag and drop it on your home screen.

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APPS

Apps are a huge benefit of smartphone ownership, and there are - in the case of the iPhone and Android phones - hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from. The easiest way to download apps to your smartphone is through each phone's built-in app-browsing and purchasing app - App Store for iPhones, the Play Store on Android phones, and Marketplace for Windows Phones.

PHOTOS

Smartphones today feature impressive cameras and you can easily show off your photos to friends and family by clicking on a pic and selecting where to share them - usually through email, or social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

OTHER FEATURES

Smartphones are essentially pocket-sized computers. Among other things, you can search and browse the web, either through a search app such as Google or your smartphone's browser, get directions from mapping applications, read and edit work documents through productivity apps, shop online, and make video calls through applications such as Skype.

ACCESSORIES

It's a good idea to get a case for your smartphone to minimise the damage from any bumps, scrapes or drops. You should also seriously consider a screen protector (most smartphone screens are made of glass). If you're going to be listening to music on your phone and sound quality is important to you, you may want to upgrade to a better set of headphones (most smartphones come with a set). Most smartphones (but not the iPhone) have an SD card slot for boosting memory, and you can pick up a microSD card at electronics stores for about $14.

Sources: Google, Gizmodo, Geek Squad, Apple, Microsoft, Noel Leeming.

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