The Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ have the same setup process, which in itself isn't too far removed from what you'd encounter on a brand new Galaxy S6. Things have changed slightly, however, and Samsung has even added a couple steps to an already quite long setup process.
We're going to show you all of the high points of setting up a Note 5 or S6 edge, and make sure that you get your new phone started the right way.
Wifi connection and End User License Agreement
Things kick off pretty easily — select the language for your phone, and turn on accessibility features from the first screen if you need them. Then you'll choose a Wifi network and sign into that — even if you have an active SIM in your phone, we recommend getting Wifi connected for when the phone starts syncing data in the later stages of setup.
And then it wouldn't be a phone setup without a licensing agreement. Samsung pops up a basic EULA about the terms of using its software. By default the phone has a box checked to send diagnostic data about the phone back to Samsung for analysis — you can uncheck this if you don't wish to send that data. Tap Next to move on to more interesting things.
'Tap & Go' and your Google Account
Now that you have Wifi connected, this is where you can start really making the phone your own. Google introduced a new feature in Android 5.0 Lollipop called "Tap & Go" that lets you simply place a new phone back-to-back with your old Android phone and transfer your account information to the new phone via NFC and Bluetooth.
That feature is the next thing you'll be greeted with, and it's a great way to switch to your new phone if you are coming from another Android. This will copy over the Google Account credentials from the old phone to the new one so you don't have to enter them manually. Depending on the security level of your account you may need to enter a password, but it's far easier than doing everything manually. Plus, it just feels kind of futuristic.
If you're not coming from another Android phone or don't have your old phone available anymore, simply touch Skip and move on to the standard Google Account setup. You'll enter your primary Google Account (as in the one you use for Google Play and Gmail) name and password, as well as a two-step authentication code if you've turned that on for your account. If you have more than one Google account, enter the primary one you use for your data here, and you can always add additional accounts (Google or otherwise) in the phone settings later.
Restore your apps and agree to Google's services
Once your Google Account is entered, we go to another screen that's new for Lollipop devices. Google now lets you choose to restore apps and data from a specific device you have had connected to your Google Account, rather than just the most recent one. Tap the drop-down for "Restore from this backup" and select the phone you want to restore from — it's generally still hit-or-miss on which parts of the system will be restored, but expect things like Wifi network settings, sync options and wallpapers to make the jump. You can also select to restore the apps (but not app data) from that backup — choose "Also include" to select which apps (or no apps at all) to restore from that phone.
If you'd prefer to start fresh with your new device — which is often advisable to avoid issues — you can instead choose "Set up as new device" from the top drop-down menu and select "Next." After you choose your restore options, it will then encourage you to set up a screen lock on your phone. It's a good idea to have one and if you have the time, you should set it up. Otherwise, you can (and should) add one later in the phone settings.
You'll then face a screen where you now have to confirm you're aware of another licensing agreement and Google's service policies. The boxes for backing up your information privately to Google's servers is checked automatically, as is the box to use Google's location services — both generally make your phone experience better, and you can choose at any time to turn either one off if you change your mind.
Samsung Account and sync
Now it's Samsung's turn to get in on the account game — the next steps involve getting signed in to (or signed up for) your Samsung Account. If you've ever had a Samsung phone or tablet before you likely have a Samsung Account, which is used for syncing data in apps like S Health, Milk Music and the Galaxy Apps store. If you have the account, sign in with your user name and password here.
If you don't have an account, we recommend just signing up for one here so it's out of the way and already into the phone for the times when you use Samsung's apps. The nice thing is that Samsung now lets you associate your Samsung Account with a Google Account, so you can use one set of credentials for both — little reason not to do it.
And look, more licensing agreements! After signing into your Samsung Account, you'll be faced with more terms, conditions, policies and agreements. You can read through the terms with each link and select them as you go, or just tap the "I agree to all" option and get on with setup.
After doing that, you'll be prompted to choose to back up your data now a second time to Samsung's servers. Chances are you won't need this if you're going with Google's backup service, and you really should choose to just do one or the other — our recommendation is that Google's the better way to go here.
Set wake-up command and scan fingerprint
The final two steps aren't really necessary for the function of your phone, but if you have the time it's good to just do them while they're in front of you. S Voice on the Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ has a wake-up command option that lets you get the phone's attention and give it commands without ever touching the phone, and on this screen you can set that up. You choose the phrase — or you can go with "Hi Galaxy" as it suggests — and repeat it multiple times so that the phone knows how you'll be addressing it.
Next is fingerprint scanning, which the phone can use to lock your phone simply but securely, and also use for authenticating in apps that support the sensor. The process is pretty simple — just follow the on-screen prompts to put a finger on the home button multiple times at varying angles to get a full scan of the finger. You only get to register one finger at first, but you can always go into the security settings of the phone to add more fingerprints, which you'll definitely want to do.
Choose to enable Easy Mode and KNOX
The last step to finish your setup is choosing whether you want to enable Easy Mode, and if you want to learn more about the KNOX security platform. Chances are Easy Mode isn't right for you if you're reading Android Central, as it really simplifies the home screen and phone experience, but if you're helping a less-experienced user get started with their phone this may be a good choice.
KNOX is on the opposite end of the spectrum, as it helps lock down your sensitive data tight and separate it out from the rest of the phone so it's under an extra layer of security. You can learn about KNOX and see if it's right for you — chances are unless you're being required by a company to use it, you may find it overkill.
A few odds and ends to remember
There you go, you're onto the home screen and ready to enjoy your phone! If you're coming to the Note 5 or S6 edge+ from another Android, you may also notice a few different apps missing here. Because of changes in Google's agreements with smartphone makers you won't find apps like Play Newsstand, Play Movies, Google Keep or Google+ pre-installed anymore. Those apps haven't gone anywhere, and are still freely available in the Play Store — just open up that app and download any Google apps you're used to having but weren't installed by default.
The same goes for some of Samsung's apps, which may need to be installed or updated right out of the box when you get your phone. Assuming you signed into your Samsung Account during setup, open up the Galaxy Apps store and download (or update) what you need there.
And that's it! You're now ready to roll with your new Galaxy Note 5 or Galaxy S6 edge+.