How to set up your Google Pixel

You've just unboxed the Google Pixel and powered it on... now what?

Josh Miller
Close
Drag

Google's first smartphone designed by the company inside and out is now available, and it looks very promising. Naturally, before you can begin using Google Assistant or shooting pictures, there's some setup you'll need to take care of.

Most of the process is standard procedure: Tap here to connect to Wi-Fi, tap there to set a PIN code, touch here to register a fingerprint. However, there are a few decisions you'll need to make along the way.

Transfer content

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Inside the Pixel box is a small USB-A-to-USB-C adapter. Google included the adapter to speed up the process of transferring data between your old phone, and your shiny Pixel.

The adapter works with devices running iOS 8 and up, as well as the Nexus 5, 6, 5X and 6P running Android 5.0 or newer. Google also states that the transfer tool will work with most Android devices running Android 5.0 and newer, but stops short of listing specific devices.

Before you begin the transfer process, charge the Pixel to at least 50 percent.

Google's transfer tool will transfer apps from one Android device to another, along with contacts, calendar, photos, videos, music, SMS and iMessage conversations.

If you've taken our advice in the past and backed up your iPhone using iTunes and its encryption feature, you'll need to connect your iPhone to the computer and disable encryption in order for your Pixel to transfer content from your iPhone.

Back it up

Instead of hiding backup options behind various settings menus, Google is making it clear during the setup process your Pixel can be backed up to Google Drive. Items included in the backup will now include call history, SMS and device settings to name a few. This is a no-brainer, but it's worth mentioning you shouldn't skip this step.

Meet your new (Google) Assistant

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

During the setup process, you should be asked if you want to enable Google Assistant. Google will walk you through the various permissions required by Assistant to run, and then training the Pixel to recognize your voice.

I've set up my Pixel device a few different times now, and on a couple of occasions I wasn't prompted to enable Assistant. If that happens, you can hold in the middle button on your Pixel after setup to trigger Assistant.

Install select apps

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Near the end of setup, a list of suggested tasks will show up on the screen. Tap on each one, completing it (or not) and then finish your setup.

If you don't want to mess with any more than you have to, do yourself a favor and view the list of apps Google will install on your Pixel. Apps like Android Pay , Allo or Google Docs are included in the list. Go through it, select the apps you don't want installed and finish the setup process.