So you just picked up a Samsung Galaxy S5. You lucky devil. It's so shiny and pristine, wrapper still intact. But what to do with it first?

If you're new to Android, the Galaxy S5 or to smartphones in general, we've got your covered. (For everyone else, move along. We'll post something super nerdy in a few minutes. We promise.)

Let's plow through the initial Galaxy S5 set-up process once you get the phone and other materials out of the box and have installed the battery, SIM card, and microSD memory card. If you're looking for a short and sweet start-up guide, be sure to read about the first five things to do with your new Samsung Galaxy S5. This guide is going to be a bit more of a deep dive.

How to set up the Samsung Galaxy S5 software

Setting up the Samsung Galaxy S5

  • Pick your language by tapping the grey box with the word "English" in it and tapping your preferred language. Tap the Accessibility button below to activate features for the vision, hearing, and dexterity impaired. Tap the Start button in the bottom-right to continue.

  • Connect to a local Wi-Fi network for data access on the next screen. Tap the Wi-Fi toggle in the top-right so it's set to a green "I" icon, wait for it to scan which networks are available, tap the one that's for your home (or other network that you have access to), and type in the password in the box that pops up. Don't worry if you don't have this option, as you'll also be able to connect over cellular.

  • On the next screen, read the end-user license agreement at the top, and check the box below it. Below the EULA, you'll have the option to provide Samsung and its partners with diagnostic data from your phone. You can decline this by tapping the "No thanks" bubble below. Tap the Next button in the bottom-right to continue.

Setting up Google accounts on the Samsung Galaxy S5

  • Next you'll be prompted to enter your Google username and password. You'll have one already if you've ever signed up for a YouTube, Gmail, or Google+ account. This is a good idea, since it can back up and restore all of your contacts and e-mail right away, though you don't have to. Tap "Yes" to sign in, or "No" and "Not Now" to continue without an account, "No" and "Get an account" to sign up for one.

  • Pick and chose which Google location services you wish to enable next. The first checkbox enables or disables the use of Google's own location service, the second enables location-specific services throughout the software, and the third gives permission to search for Wi-Fi networks to estimate location even if you have Wi-Fi turned off. Tap Next in the bottom-right when you're done.

  • Type in your first and last name in separate fields, so the Samsung Galaxy S5 can use it throughout the OS. Tap the arrow in the bottom-right when you've typed in your name.

  • Sign into your Samsung account on the next screen. This is optional, and replicates many functions of your Google account, such as back-up and location services, but it can be handy for connecting to your home network through the Link desktop software. Sign in and enable restoring and auto-backup functions, or skip ahead.

  • On the next screen, log into Dropbox if you have an account. This will allow you to automatically upload pictures taken on your Samsung Galaxy S5 to the cloud (and eventually to your desktop, if you get the app for your computer). You'll get 50 GB of free storage if you sign up for the first time on that screen, but otherwise you can sign in and enable picture and video uploading, or continue on without. All of these account set-ups can be completed later, so don't feel held back if you just want to get on with it. Tap the Finish button in the bottom-right.

Samsung Galaxy S5 software updates

  • Odds are you'll get pestered to do a software update. These are the latest operating system improvements that weren't available when your phone's software was originally installed. Go ahead and install that by tapping the button at the bottom as soon as you have data coverage. Your Samsung Galaxy S5 will restart and install the software update.

  • If you logged into Google, many of the pre-installed apps will likely update once your phone boots up again. You may need to approve some of them, since they'll need new permissions. Tap the Play Store icon on the first home screen, tap the menu button in the top-left, tap My Apps.

After the reboot is complete, you're technically ready to rock and roll, but odds are there are going to be a few things you want to do. Be sure to peruse the rest of our Samsung Galaxy S5 help series for a full range of how-tos.


Reader comments

How to set up your Samsung Galaxy S5


Someone who moved from a different OS and picked up a their first Android phone may need this. Or some may need a refresher. I don't understand how helping people is "click bait".


Andoird users used to live in a world where we were all underdogs because Apple dominated the market. We used to all support each other regardless of what devices we used. But now that Android is the majority, a lot of us have become arrogant snobs.

This guide was written to help the millions of new Android users who probably have just switched from a blackberry, iphone or dumbphone. Calm yourselves.

Ive notice that in order to keep the weather clock updated..I need to keep my gps which now its called " location service " on..why is that..I didnt need to have the gps on all day with the galaxy Note 3 or my other galaxy phones...?

Posted via Android Central App

GPS doesn't have to be on, just location. If you go into location settings, you can change mode to power saving. That turns off GPS.

Posted via Android Central App

Yes, this is a "meh" guide. What I'm looking for (and may already exist) is a guide to how I can best migrate all my data, apps and settings from my S4 to an S5.

I never got the screen to set up location services after the screen for entering a gmail account and now they are on by default. I don't want them on. I prefer to turn them on and off at will like I used to be able to do in my HTC Sensation. If I can't do the same with this Galaxy S5, I'm taking it back. I want manual control over location services.

I have tried to find this seemingly simple setting, but have failed. So, my phone is on, I haven't used it for a few minutes and it goes dark - fine - when I press the button on the upper right side to turn it back on, the screen that comes up stays on for like - .3 seconds or something. If I don't swipe it or password it immediately, it goes dark again. I can't find the setting to make THAT screen stay longer. Not the home screen settings, not the lock screen settings. Can anyone help me?

Go Settings, scroll down to Sound and Display, click on Lock Screen, then Lock Automatically. You can then choose after how long you would like your screen to lock.

I'd also recommend the following to be setup:

NOTE: This is assuming your also using GMail.
This is my preferences to customize contacts if you have multiple contacts through Social Media.

1. Go into your GMail account.
a. Click the GMail text to switch it to Contacts.
2. You can click on the NEW CONTACT button to customize your contacts.
a. Otherwise you can click on the people button next to the more drop-down button, then add the contacts full name.
3. Then click on the person's name.
4. Here I add the user's title and company s/he works for.
a. You can also add their Address, Phone Number(s), E-Mail, Birthday, Website, Location, etc.

Now whenever one of your contact(s) changes something in their profile, you can update the information within your GMail account.