New gadget, now what? Tips to set up your new tech devices like a pro


You got the shiny new gadget you’ve been wanting, now what?

If you set it up the right way, you might wonder how you ever lived without it. But set it up wrong and you could open yourself up to all kinds of headaches and security issues.

From unboxing to troubleshooting issues that crop up and upcycling your old gadgets, using your new piece of tech may not be as simple as opening the package and heading out the door, at least not right away.

Here are a few pro tips and tricks to get you up and running – hassle and curse-free – in no time.

Unboxing basics
Once you rip the wrapping paper off, be a little more gentle with the box and everything in it. Don’t tear, destroy or discard anything. Label the charging cable. (I use a label-maker, but a sticky note and tape work too.) Put the original box and everything that came in it in a Ziplock and use a permanent marker to write the name of the gadget and date before you store it out of sight.

This is especially important with anything from Apple, such as a new Mac laptop, iPad or iPhone, or any other gadgets that hold their value, so you can sell them when you upgrade down the road. It’s also a saving grace should you need to return anything. Either way, you’re protecting your investment and it only takes a few moments of your time, so don’t forget!

Most gadgets come with a well-marked quickstart guide. It gives you the bare basics, which typically tells you to charge up your new device, download an app, connect it to Bluetooth or WiFi and link it to an existing email account. At least half of the time I’m setting up new gadgets, it takes a while to find Bluetooth or WiFi. Don’t get discouraged. Sometimes you have to turn off or unplug your new gadget and start from scratch again to get it to work.

If you try more than half a dozen times to connect your gadget and still no luck, go to the product page or do a quick online search for the name of it. Usually, a lot of other people have had the same problem you’re having and there are online resources to help you out. Start with a free YouTube tutorial – there are thousands of them just for setting up new gadgets. Then, go to the product FAQ section, company chatbots or call or email customer service. If those don’t work, download the free GetHuman app (available for iOS and Android) or visit to help you track down a real person to talk with at the company.

Sometimes new gadgets are defective. It doesn’t happen often, but if you find that something just isn’t working the way the manual or guide says it should, you might have a broken gadget on your hands, and you’ll need to return it.

When you connect an email account, be sure to create a smart password and/or use a password manager. Overall, getting started is now pretty simple, as long as you follow directions.

If you’re helping someone out remotely, or have a super tech-savvy family member or friend, set up screen-sharing with an app like TeamViewer or LogMeIn. It lets you take temporary control of their screen so you can walk them through the steps without having to describe it. Teaching someone tech tricks is a whole lot easier if you can actually show them what to do instead of just talking about it.