You can transfer your contacts one of two ways. If your old device uses a nano-SIM card, you can copy all your contacts to its SIM; once you've set up your iPhone 5, you can copy those contacts by swapping out your iPhone's card with your old nano-SIM and heading to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Import SIM Contacts. Once the import has completed, eject your old SIM and put the one that came with the iPhone 5 back in its tray. (If you're worried about doing this yourself, you can always head down to your nearest Apple Store--any employee should be able to do it for you.)
If your phone has a SIM card that doesn't fit in the iPhone 5, but it comes with a USB cable for connecting it to your computer, you may be able to transfer your contacts (and your photos) by exporting them through software. (This, obviously, depends on your phone; check its manual or do a Google search for specific transfer information.)
Activate your iPhone 5
If you purchased your iPhone in the Apple Store, you may have already activated it with a Specialist by your side. But if you've received your new gadget in the mail, or you opted not to activate immediately, here's a guide on how to do so.
Unbox your iPhone and turn it on by pressing the On/Off switch. A welcome screen greets you, displaying a Slide To Set Up slider that rotates between different languages. (If you need quick access to your device's IMEI or ICCID number without setting up the phone, you can tap the information button [represented by a lowercase i] located directly above the slider.)
Once you begin the activation process, you're asked to pick your language and country, and whether you'd like to enable Location Services. This allows Apple apps (and third-party apps) to access your location via Wi-Fi networks and your GPS (Global Positioning System) location. Your iPhone then checks for any Wi-Fi networks in the area that your phone can connect to; if there aren't any, or if you'd rather use your cellular service, just tap the Next button.
If you're activating carrier service--which, unless you managed to pick up an unlocked phone, you most likely are--you'll see a message asking you to confirm the phone number you're activating this iPhone 5 with. In addition, you'll need to supply your billing zip code and the last four digits of your social security number. Apple's servers will then communicate with AT&T to activate your device.
From here, you can set up your device as a brand-new phone or, if you're upgrading from an old iPhone, you can restore your data from an iCloud or iTunes backup.
Restore from an iCloud backup
If you have an iCloud account and have backed up a previous iPhone or iPod touch incarnation using iCloud's Backup feature, you can use this backup to restore your data to your new iPhone (though you'll need to be on a Wi-Fi network to do so). To restore your data, sign in to your iCloud account; agree to Apple's terms and conditions; and then choose which backup file you'd like to use, and tap the blue Restore button in the top right corner of the screen. (Depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi connection, this process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.)
Restore from an iTunes backup
If you tap Restore From iTunes Backup, you're brought to the Connect To iTunes screen. Connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes; after clicking your device in the source list, you'll see the Set Up Your iPhone screen, which asks if you'd like to set it up as a new iPhone or restore from a specific backup. Choose the correct backup, and click the Continue button to proceed. This process is significantly faster than restoring from iCloud, because you're transferring data over USB, not over Wi-Fi.
Add an Apple ID
If you choose to set up your iPhone as a new device--or after you choose an iCloud backup to restore from--the first thing you have to do is supply an Apple ID, or create one if you don't have one. If you've ever purchased something from the iTunes Store, you've signed up for an Apple ID (it's usually your primary email address). Your login information for Apple's iCloud service should also work for signing in.
Use your current Apple ID: Already have an Apple ID? Tap the Sign In With An Apple ID button and enter your username (usually your email address) and password. Apple then spends a few moments linking your device to your Apple ID.
Sign up for a new Apple ID: If you don't have an Apple ID, it's easy enough to create one by tapping the Create A Free Apple ID button. You need to enter your birthday, name, email address (or create a new iCloud email address), a password, a security question (in case you forget your password), and whether you'd like to receive email updates from Apple. Once you've entered all your information, you're asked to read and agree to the terms and conditions, and Apple then registers your Apple ID.
No Apple ID for me: If you'd rather not set up an Apple ID, you can tap the Skip This Step link in the lower right corner. You can always add or create one from the Settings app later, but note that you won't be able to buy anything from the iTunes Store or set up iCloud until you do.
Once you've set up an Apple ID, you can also set up iCloud on your device. iCloud is an umbrella term for Apple's collection of syncing services, and it allows you to sync your photos, apps, contacts, calendars, reminders, notes, and mail across multiple devices.
Choose to set up iCloud, and you're first asked whether you'd like to enable iCloud backups for your iPhone. If you do so, you can have your device back up all essential settings to your iCloud account; if you ever need to restore, you can do so over Wi-Fi without an additional computer. You can also elect to use iTunes to back up your iPhone to your computer.
Additionally, you're asked whether you'd like to opt in to iCloud's Find My iPhone service. This enables location monitoring for your device, allowing you to find it using your Apple ID and the Find My iPhone app, should it go missing.
One of the iPhone's nice features is Apple's personal voice assistant, Siri. If you want to take advantage of Siri, you can enable it here. Then, once you finish the setup process, you're asked if you'd like to send Apple anonymous diagnostics and usage information (similar to a desktop crash report). After you answer that question, your iPhone will be all set and ready for you to begin using.
Now that your device is up and running, here are a few quick pointers.
Tweak your settings: Most of the underlying system information for your new iPhone--network settings, Mail, sounds, messages, restrictions, wallpaper, and more--is kept in the Settings app. As such, it's a good place to start when you're first getting acquainted with your device.
Set up iTunes sync: If you didn't rUFGestore from an older iOS backup, you won't have any music, video, podcasts, photos, or books on your iPhone. You can remedy that by connecting it with your iTunes library: Just plug your device into your computer via its included USB cable. (Once you've completed this initial sync, you can also set up wireless local syncing; check out our guide for more information.)
Explore the App Store: Your iPhone comes with a bunch of cool built-in apps, but you may want to reach outside the sandbox for more interesting fare. The App Store, which you can access on your device or via iTunes on your computer, features more than 750,000 downloadable apps. To explore the store on your iPhone, tap the blue App Store icon on your home screen. Featured and Charts are both great places to start looking for recommended apps, and you can search the entire App Store by tapping on the Search tab. As the iPhone 5 has different dimensions than previous generations of the iPhone, there may also be a collection in the App Store for apps optimized for your device. (Older apps will still run on the iPhone 5, but they'll do so with black bars at the top and bottom of your screen.)
Talk to Siri: If you chose to set up Siri on your iPhone 5 during the activation process, you're just one Home button press away from having your first conversation. Siri can help you book appointments, find restaurants, look up the weather, talk sports, and occasionally whip out snarky quips about robotic AI. To start, press and hold your Home button; the Siri interface will appear, along with a few suggested phrases to get going.
Read more about your iPhone 5: Want to learn more about your iPhone 5 and its apps, get third-party program suggestions, and get some great troubleshooting tips? Check out Macworld's iPhone 5 Superguide, an ebook available on the iBookstore, Kindle Store, and Nook Store, and as a PDF.
What to do with your old device
Now that you've managed to transfer your old information, set up your new iPhone 5, and start using it, it's time to figure out what you'd like to do with your old device. If you're interested in selling, recycling, or passing it along to a friend or family member, Macworld contributor Joel Mathis whipped up a handy guide that contains the steps you'll need. But what if you're interested in keeping it around?
Turn your iPhone into an iPod touch: No, your old iPhone won't make calls or hop on a cellular network without a data plan, but you can keep using it as a Wi-Fi only iOS device. To do so, you'll just need to keep the phone's old SIM card (or a cheap SIM card from the same service provide you originally used to activate the phone with) inside it. From there, you can restore it to factory settings, and set it up as a brand new device.
This story, "Get started with the iPhone 5" was originally published by Macworld.