Three essentials for your new Android phone

To get started with your new Android phone or tablet, check out these essential tips to optimize your new device.

Sharon Profis Vice President of Content, CNET Studios
As the Vice President of CNET Studios, Sharon leads the video, social, editorial design, and branded content teams. Before this role, Sharon led content development and launched new verticals for CNET, including Wellness, Money, and How To. A tech expert herself, she's reviewed and covered countless products, hosted hundreds of videos, and appeared on shows like Good Morning America, CBS Mornings, and the Today Show. An industry expert, Sharon is a recurring Best of Beauty Awards judge for Allure. Sharon is an avid chef and hosts the cooking segment 'Farm to Fork' on PBS nationwide. She's developed and published hundreds of recipes.
  • Webby Award ("How To, Explainer, and DIY Video"); Folio Changemaker Award, 2020
Sharon Profis
2 min read
Josh Miller

Now that you've delved into the world of Android, it's time to get your hands dirty. 

Before you get into the honeymoon period, where you're considerably consumed in all things awesome--like Angry Birds, photo-editing apps, music apps, and Dropbox--take a few minutes to implement a few basics to secure and optimize your new phone.

You guys helped me out on Facebook, answering the question, "What three things do you tell a new Android user to do?" The answers were really helpful--and included the obligatory "Throw it away and buy an iPhone"--but I got some great suggestions, too.

1. Get a new browser. The stock browser on your Android gets the job done, but it's a relatively bare-bones app. Instead, head to the Android market and download a new browser. A few popular ones include Dolphin HD, Firefox, and Skyfire.

2. Use widgets. Widgets, which are unique to Android, provide at-a-glance access to your favorite apps. For example, the Facebook widget gives you a quick view of status updates, and the clock widget adds an analog clock to your home screen.

To add a new widget, tap and hold any home screen, then tap "Widgets." Select the widget you want to add. You might be asked to select a certain size and style.

Many of your phone's preloaded apps have widgets built-into them, but you can also download more widgets from the Android Market. One excellent widget is the 3G Watchdog, which gives you a summary of data usage on your home screen.

3. Get an antivirus app. If you thought that viruses were reserved for computers, this is your wake-up call. Android phones and tablets can get infected through malicious apps in the Android Market.

To protect yourself from malware, download and install an antivirus app called Lookout. It's free, scans all the apps you download, backs up your contacts, and locates your phone if you ever lose it.

Once you're better acquainted with your device, check out our 12 tips for mastering Android.

Editor's note: After your feedback, we have removed the suggestion to install Advanced Task Killer, as in some cases, it does more harm than good. Android 2.2 and above has built-in task management, which ATK may conflict with.