Congratulations, you’ve snagged yourself a brand-new iPhone 5. But before you get to playing with your new device, you’ll probably want to get to know it and set it up. Thanks to iOS 6’s step-by-step activation process, Apple’s made it pretty simple to get started; but just in case you need some extra help, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide for activating your new iPhone, transferring data from your old phone, and some suggestions for exploring its new features.

Meet your iPhone 5

Get acquainted with the iPhone 5’s hardware features: every button, switch, slot, port, and plug. Designed with a minimalist aesthetic, the aluminium-and-glass iPhone 5 eschews a button-heavy design in favour of simple controls and a slim figure: It’s a mere 7.6mm thick and weighs only 112 grams. Here’s a quick rundown of all the features on the device’s exterior.

A) On/Off Button

Press the On/Off button to turn the device’s screen on or off. You can still take calls, play music, and receive notifications with it off, but the screen stays blank until you wake it by pressing this button or the Home button. To turn the device off, hold the On/Off button down until the screen dims and the red Slide To Power Off slider appears. Slide your finger across the switch, and the iPhone powers down. (To turn your device back on, press and hold this button again until the Apple logo appears.)

You can also decline or silence calls, alerts, and alarms with the On/Off button; press it once to silence an incoming alert or call; press it twice in succession to send the caller to voicemail.

B) Front-Facing FaceTime HD Camera

This 1.2-megapixel camera can shoot 1280 by 960 pixel stills and 720p HD video (1280 by 720 pixels). This camera was designed primarily for using FaceTime and snapping quick self-portraits.

Apple iPhone

C) Receiver

With no headphones plugged in, this is where you place your ear to listen to incoming calls. Depending on your region, the iPhone 5 may use wideband audio during telephone calls, which increases the vocal frequencies and provides for better-sounding conversations.

D) Touchscreen Display

The new iPhone sports a diagonal 4-inch Multi-Touch display, an improvement over the previous iPhone’s 3.5-inch display; those touch sensors are integrated directly into the display, reducing sunlight glare and keeping the iPhone’s figure slim. Its 1136-by-640-pixel Retina display packs 326 pixels per inch into the space allotted. The display is made from optical-quality glass, which makes it highly scratch resistant. It also has an oil-resistant oleophobic coating that makes it easy to wipe off smudges.

E) Home Button

The only physical button on the face of the iPhone, the Home button provides a variety of shortcuts for accessing apps and iOS features.

Single-Press: A single-press of the Home button can have several results, depending on what you’re using the iPhone for at the time: If the phone is in sleep mode, pressing the Home button wakes the iPhone; if you’re in an app, it returns you to the home screen; if you’re on a subsequent home screen page, it returns you to the first page; and if you’re on the first home screen page, it brings you into the iPhone’s Spotlight search mode.

Single-Press and Hold: If you press and hold the Home button for at least two seconds, that activates Siri.

Double-Press: When the phone is locked or in sleep mode, a double-press of the Home button wakes your device and brings up both the iPod controls and a shortcut for the Camera app. In active use, it brings up the multitasking bar, showcasing your active apps.

F) Headphone Jack

The new iPhone has a standard 3.5mm audio jack, located on the bottom of the device. Apple includes a set of white EarPods that allow you to listen to audio and speak on a call, but you can also use any pair of third-party headphones instead.

G) Microphone

One of the iPhone 5’s three microphones is located on the bottom left of the device. (The other two, which are designed to filter out noise, are located on the front and back.) Unless you’re using an external microphone, you’ll speak into these when making calls, recording voice memos, talking to Siri, and more.

H) Dock Connector

The iPhone uses Apple’s new Lightning dock connector to connect to your computer and other accessories. Unlike the 30-pin connector, it’s reversible, so you can plug it into your phone in either direction. As this is one of the first Apple devices to use a new connector, it won’t work with older third-party accessories without an adapter.

I) Speaker

On the bottom right of the new iPhone is a small speaker that’s responsible for projecting speakerphone calls, music, movies, game noises, and any other miscellaneous noise. Because your device has just one speaker, it plays all audio in mono (on a single channel).

J) Back Camera and LED Flash

On the back of the iPhone 5 is the second of two cameras, as well as an LED flash. The camera sports an 8-megapixel CMOS backside illumination sensor, which snaps pictures at 3264-by-2448-pixel resolution. (In real-world terms, that would translate to a high-quality 8-by-10-inch glossy print.) An attached hybrid IR filter provides better colour accuracy, while the f/2.4 aperture offers improved low-light performance. The iPhone 5 camera sports a sapphire lens cover for sharper images. The iPhone’s back camera also captures 1080p high-definition video at up to 30 frames per second, with real-time video image stabilisation and temporal noise reduction.

K) Ring/Silent Switch

The Ring/Silent switch—found on the left side of the device—does pretty much what you’d suspect: Flick it backward to silence the phone, forward to activate the ringer. When you switch to Silent mode, you reveal a small orange stripe on the switch, and your device vibrates. Silent mode silences only rings and alerts, however; you can still play music and game sounds through the speaker.

L) Volume Up and Volume Down Buttons

Directly below the Ring/Silent switch is a pair of volume buttons. Press the plus-sign button (+) to increase volume and the minus-sign button (–) to decrease volume. In the Settings app, you can choose whether these buttons affect only noises from an app, or whether they control systemwide sounds as well. In the Camera app, the plus-sign button also works as a physical shutter button.

M) SIM Card Slot

The new iPhone can operate on multiple cellular bands, thanks to its dynamically switching on-board radio: various bands of the LTE cellular data standard, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, GPRS, EDGE, CDMA-EvDO, and HSPA. Major U.S. partners for the iPhone 5 include AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon.

When you purchase a new iPhone, you can do so in one of two ways: with a cellular carrier contract or contract free. The first option lets you receive a significant discount on the phone, but you have to use your iPhone solely with that carrier for two to three years, depending on your carrier and region. Contract-free phones, available in the UK,  allow you to use any carrier’s pay-as-you-go plan but are several hundred dollars more expensive up front. Either way, you’ll need a carrier to talk on your iPhone and use cellular data.

Your iPhone needs a nano-SIM card to connect to a cellular provider. Without it, you won’t be able to access call networks or cellular Internet, only Wi-Fi. If you sign up for a contract when you purchase your device, this SIM card comes preinstalled. You can see Apple’s full list of supported spectrum bands on Apple’s iPhone webpage under “Cellular and Wireless.”

If you have a contract-free phone and need to install a nano-SIM—or you need to access your current nano-SIM card—you can remove it by sticking one end of a paper clip into the hole next to the SIM card slot.

Headphones

Your device comes equipped with a set of earbuds with a microphone and remote built onto the right-side cable that can control volume, change tracks, and answer and end calls. You can use these controls to perform a variety of actions with the right combination of taps.

Single-Click: Clicking the centre button of the remote once while listening to music or watching a video pauses playback; if you’re receiving a call, a single-click answers it, and another single-click hangs up when you’re finished.

Single-Click and Hold: When you’re receiving an incoming call, a single-click and hold declines the call and sends it directly to voicemail; while you’re on a call, you can do this to switch to a secondary call. Otherwise, holding down on the remote activates Siri.

Double-Click: Squeeze twice, and your song skips to the next track.

Triple-Click: Squeeze three times to skip back to the previous track.
Transfer your data

You’ve moved to the latest and greatest in the iOS world, and to do so, you’re leaving your old device behind. But before you send it off on its last voyage, you have to decide whether you want to transfer its data to your iPhone 5. Here are the various ways to do so, depending on whether you’re moving from an old iPhone, a different smartphone, or a feature phone.

Upgrade from an older iPhone

If you’re upgrading from an older iPhone, you can transfer all its apps, data, and settings to your iPhone 5. But to do so, you’ll need to make a backup (via iTunes or, if you’re running iOS 5, via iCloud) of your information.

Make a backup using iTunes: If your old device is running iOS 4 or earlier, an iTunes backup is the way to go. To update your backup (or to create a new one) connect your old device to the computer you normally sync it with via USB, open iTunes, select the device from the Devices menu, and in the Summary field, click Back Up Now.

Make a backup using iCloud: If you’re running iOS 5 or iOS 6 on your old device and you have an iCloud account, you can alternatively take advantage of iCloud Backups to save your data. Your device will automatically make an iCloud backup once a day while locked, plugged in, and connected to a Wi-Fi network, but you can manually force a backup whenever you’re on Wi-Fi by opening the Settings app on your device. Navigate to iCloud > Storage & Backup, and make sure the iCloud Backup switch is toggled on. From there, you just have to tap on Back Up Now to start the process. (You should note that iCloud backups can sometimes take significantly longer than iTunes backups, so it may not be the best option if you’re in a hurry to set up your new phone.)