Motorola’s impressive new 2015 Moto G smartphone runs great the moment you pull it out of the box, being powered by the latest stock version of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. However, being such a great phone at a low price this may be the first smartphone for many buyers. This means users will want to make some quick changes to be prepared for the future, make it more secure, get better performance or battery life, and more. Our guide below will explain some basics to setting up your Moto G.
The Moto G 3rd Gen (2015) was announced and released on July 28th, and sold out within one week of being available. Well, the more expensive $219 version, as it’s a phone that many should consider over phones 2-3 times more expensive. Motorola also has a cheaper $179 version that’s still just as good. It doesn’t matter which Moto G you have, the steps below will help all owners be more prepared.
Everyone is different when it comes to how they use their smartphone, and what for, but below you’ll find 5 essential tips to help you get started with the Moto G. With Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, the operating system from Google and improved by Motorola, everything is bright and fast, the lockscreen is smarter and easier to interact with, and information is a tap or voice command away with Google Now, but you’ll still want to make a few of these important changes. A dedicated “Moto” app will also help users set everything up.
The average user will find that out of the box Google’s improved Android 5.1 Lollipop to be the best version of Android yet, and to better serve you, the user. Instructions will walk you through the initial boot process, signing into Gmail or creating an account, and what everything does or how things work like never before. It makes everything easy to understand. Like setting up a passcode lock, pattern, or some security measure after signing into Gmail, and their life. We want better security, data usage limits, battery saving additions, and many more changes.
One option that’s been available on Android smartphones for years, yet many owners don’t take advantage of, is a passcode or security pattern on the lockscreen. With smartphones having so much information, banking accounts, and email access these days, security is extremely important and your device should be secured. You don’t want information falling into the wrong hands if lost or stolen.
Once you finish the initial few setup steps when you turn it on and sign into WiFi or Gmail, heading into settings to quickly add a password is highly suggested. It takes about 30 seconds to set up a passcode or pattern lock, and your device will be protected from prying eyes or in case of loss or theft. I use a pattern myself, but everyone is different.
Simply slide down the notification bar from the top of the display (swipe twice, or once with two fingers) and tap the round gear-shaped settings icon near the top right. Scroll down to security, then select screen lock at the top and use the option of your choice.
Settings > Security > Screen Lock > and select Swipe, Pattern, PIN, or a Password
It is recommended that most users at least have an option for a pin or pattern, as security is extremely important these days. Once you set a lockscreen security measure additional options appear, like choosing how long before the device locks after use. I have it set for 3 minutes so I’m not constantly typing in a code all day long, but to each his own. Running on Android 5.0 also means you can take advantage of “Smart Lock” a few settings lower, where it won’t need a pin or security measure if you’re near a trusted device or location. Something like a smartwatch, or when the phone knows you’re home the security won’t be needed, but enabled once you leave. Smart Lock is one of my favorite new features, and you’ll love it too.
Backup & Restore
If you ever lose your phone, or need to have it replaced, you’ll want everything backed up in the Google cloud. This makes transferring your entire device to a new Moto G, or a better phone next year, almost automatic. It does this automatically, but make sure it’s enabled. Google’s backup options will be brought up during setup, which we’d recommend most users agree to, but you can always control more backup & sync options in settings later.
Settings > Backup & reset > Back up my data
Using the same steps as mentioned above you’ll want to head into settings and scroll down to backup & reset. Here is where you can turn on/off Google’s backup solution. It isn’t an all-in-one solution, but will backup (and restore on a new device) your WiFi passwords, app data (and game saves) wallpapers, and other settings. This is extremely convenient.
Users can also check or uncheck the restore option where Google will automatically restore any available settings or data from an app being reinstalled.
Also, while were here you’ll want to backup your photos so even if you lose or break your Moto G, you’ll always have your photos taken with the pretty great 13 megapixel camera on this budget phone.
Whether you use a cloud storage option like Dropbox or Google Drive, or just prefer to let Google+ Photo’s (on all Android phones) do it for you, the link above explains multiple easy ways to automatically save and backup full-resolution copies of all your photos.
Android Device Manager
Just like Find My iPhone, Google has something called the Android Device Manager you can use to find or erase a lost smartphone. There’s almost no setup once you download the app from the Google Play Store, then just let Android’s device manager find your lost phone if you ever need to. That said, you’ll need to have it first, before the unfortunate event of loss or theft does happen.
Owners can lock the Moto G, wipe out a smartphone to erase data in case of theft, or even make your phone ring if it’s lost somewhere in your house, all using the Android Device Manager site from a PC, another phone, or a tablet. It’s a powerful tool, so have it ready in case you need it. The image above is from an HTC device, but you’ll see your Moto G once setup. You won’t want to skip this step. It only takes a minute, and you’ll be glad you did if you ever lose your fancy new phone.
Set Mobile Data Limits
Another thing many owners never do, but could save you money, is set mobile data limits. Whether you have a 2GB data plan with AT&T or Verizon, or are on a family plan with T-Mobile sharing 10GB of data across multiple devices, it’s always smart to set limits. This way users can’t go over, and end up with a huge smartphone bill at the end of the month.
Settings > Data usage > and set to the amount of data your carrier plan offers with the Slider
This will ensure that once you reach your data limit (or get close) you’ll be notified not to keep streaming HD YouTube clips or watching Netflix, as you may incur charges. This would be a good time to switch to the WiFi at home to save data, and not get overage charges. Or simply tone back on your usage until the month starts over.
Improve Battery Life
The Moto G has a decent size screen and a big 2,400 mAh battery. One of the biggest impacts to battery life besides the display being on full brightness and having too many apps syncing 24/7 is Google location services. Whether your phone is always tracking you location to deliver weather updates, location for Facebook Messenger, or you use Google Now or Google Maps for directions or navigation, this is a big drain on battery life. In Android 4.4 KitKat Google added a new location option which allows for more control here, and the battery saving option is your best route. You can manage what uses location services, like the GPS chipset inside your phone, and I prefer the battery saver mode until I actually need to use GPS for directions.
Settings > Location > Mode > Battery Saving
Battery saving mode turns off GPS, so turn by turn navigation may not be as accurate or need to be re-enabled, but for those who rarely use navigation, battery saving mode is your best bet. This uses WiFi and a cellular network for location services, rather than the phone draining its battery with GPS.
Users can also head into settings > display > and lower the brightness to 40% or so, rather than automatic, which can also improve battery life and extend the phone usage into the next day without a recharge. Then of course turning off location data inside apps like Facebook, changing how often Twitter or other social sites sync or check for notifications, or anything else that wakes up your phone to use data. Manage all of these to your own personal preference, to get the most battery life.
Thankfully the Moto G has pretty excellent battery life, and most average users will get more than 24 hours out of a single charge. It will last through a busy day at work, and recharges quick when you need more juice.
Moto Assist & Migrate
There is also a round icon and app called “Moto” that lets you turn on lots of neat features for customization and hands-free tools. This will let you wave at your phone using gestures for certain things, say “Hello, Moto” to turn on voice controls and make calls or send texts without ever touching or unlocking your device, and more.
Go ahead and tap the Moto icon and go through setup. Once this is all done you’ll quickly realize this is one powerful smartphone that was absolutely worth the $200 you spent on it. There’s also a Migrate app and tool to transfer data, pictures, contacts and more from other devices, or from iOS.
From here users will want to set up a host of services and options that will improve your smartphone. Google Now is an excellent option, and customizing Moto’s app, widgets, and notifications settings are all pretty simple. We’d also recommend trying out some 3rd party keyboard options, and customizing it with apps from the Play Store.
Once you’ve got all of this down you’ll want to thumb through the settings, features, options, and get familiar with your device. Enjoy all the Moto G 2015 has to offer, and if you have the old one and are still debating if the new Moto G this year is worth it. The answer is yes, and here’s why.
If this is your first smartphone, don’t worry, it only takes a few days to master flipping through screens and launching apps, digging in settings, or typing on the touchscreen. The Moto G is fast, responsive, and is a great all-around smartphone. If you bought any replacement backs, make sure they’re 100% snapped in place, otherwise the water-resistant features of this phone won’t work. That’s our last tip. Enjoy.