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Opinion 3 min read 7 comments

Setting up smartphones: why does it have to be so complicated?

A few days ago it was that time again: I had to reset a smartphone and set up a new device, new account, new data. You want me to be honest? It was a ordeal. Setting up smartphones must be easier. Way easier! But it's not.

Let's get into the story. I wanted to set up my old Galaxy S7 for further use within the family. First step: enter Google account and password. No problem. I was really happy when I could use the WPS button in the WLAN section, so no Wi-Fi password to enter. But then....

All privacy issues have to go through me. there are Terms and Conditions to accept. Location sharing to set. Recovery and backup functions to restore. And then comes the Samsung account. And everything has to be done again, from the beginning. No, this was not funny at all.

AndroidPIT Samsung galaxy s7 3
Galaxy S7: not an easy setup... / © ANDROIDPIT

But that was only the beginning. Now I have to run an app update for almost every (!) preinstalled app. That's more than 20 apps! When you just want to get started with the pretty technology, the Play Store is watching as it downloads apps at a snail's pace and integrates them into the system. After all, the recovery feature also installs a number of apps that are already in use on the smartphone. 

Once all that is over, I'm a happy smartphone installer, but I'm terrified that there is an incredible number of apps installed that we will not even use on the smartphone. Just one example: although I'm a big fan of VR applications, in the future, the S7 user does not have to worry about Gear VR glasses anymore. What could be easier than uninstalling the app? As it turns out, a lot of things. Okay, then lets at least disable it, so that the app disappears from the app drawer and does not accidentally run in the background. Nope, no chance. The same applies to e-mail, Instagram, Facebook and a number of other preinstalled space eaters. How can it be that as a smartphone buyer I have no control over the installed apps? It's my phone!

Too many features: smartphones become unusable

Even after some time in the settings, I do not feel that I have brought the S7 up to a decent condition for this second life. On the contrary, I notice superfluous or confusing features everywhere. I am reminiscing about smartphones that have installed only the most necessary apps after setup.

Even Android One is not a panacea: again, there are many options in the setup wizard that pounce on users. By the way, a study by Bitkom concludes that two-thirds of consumers have problems setting up technology gadgets. It's not just about smartphones!

Sorry but this is not good enough. I know that technology today come with so many new features, we have to make a few adjustments to get it to work. But so much hassle? And what use is it to skip a step, only to come back later and suffer? Better to get it over with, as they say. There has to be a better way than this!

Have you ever had trouble setting up a new phone or a new gadget?

7 comments

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  • I setup a Note 9 from a Note 8 and didn't bother with any of the Samsung stuff, not even Smartswitch. It set up perfectly without any problems.


  • in my opinion the problem is with the manufacturer skins. It creates an unnecessary learning curve switching brands. The hardware manufacturers somehow know better about how to make a mobile OS


  • One problem with Android phones that you don't have with the iPhone is that the manufactures will install their own apps and the carriers will install their own apps as well. Some apps cannot be uninstalled. Samsung puts their own skin on Android. It would be easier if we could get a phone with "stock" Android


  • Yeah it shouldn't be too difficult. Had to factory reset once recently and it was so painful. Hope I never have to do that again.


  • Never owned a Samsung, but by reputation it's one of the most directive about what it wants users to do with it - not quite Apple but trying to be. Job One is to research what you're buying. My last set up was for recent purchase of a Lenovo tablet, thankfully nearly all the preinstalls (except Google's usual stuff) were fully uninstallable but there were about a million separate language files for the lousy preinstalled keyboard app that had to be manually removed. That was a real tick off.


  • storm 2 months ago Link to comment

    It's mostly about letting the phone churn. The first time you set up each new phone, take notes in your note app so you have a ready reference of settings and gotchas. If you already have android associated with a Google account it is mostly the churn and your notes and the phone is ready to roll. For an account new to Android, there are some other hurdles.

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