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When you get a cool new gadget like an iPhone 4S, you want to show it off. But before you can brag about how awesome Siri is, you have to activate your new phone.

In the Apple store, employees can guide you through the process, however it’s pretty easy to do on your own as well. Here are some tips for getting your iPhone 4S up and running

If you are upgrading from an older phone, you’ll want bring over its SIM card, which has your phone number and carrier data on it. Pop the SIM card out of the old device by pushing the end of a paperclip into the hole on the side of the iPhone. Do the same for the iPhone 4S and insert the working SIM card into the new phone.

Turn on the iPhone 4S and follow the easy directions for setup. (Make sure the phone is charged). You select your language, home country, and whether you want the iPhone 4S to use your location. It asks if you want to use a Wi-Fi network or the cellular network to obtain internet access. Now wait for the service to be activated.

At this point, it either works or it doesn’t. Some people are reporting that activation is taking a long time, but it was just a few minutes for me.

The iPhone setup will ask if you want to set up as a new iPhone, restore from an iCloud backup, or restore from an iTunes backup. I chose to upgrade from an existing iTunes account, where my previous phone was backed up. Now sign in with your Apple ID. The Apple ID is what you need for just about anything related to Apple, like buying songs on iTunes. You can either set one up or use an existing one.

The phone will ask you if you want to use the Find My iPhone app, which locates the phone on a map when it is lost. It also asks you if you want to use the Siri personal assistant. That’s a no brainer, as Siri, which performs tasks based on your voice commands, is one of the most interesting new features on the iPhone 4S. You can also opt-in or out of sending diagnostic information to Apple or register the device with Apple.

If you want to backup the new iPhone with an older backup copy of your previous iPhone or add your existing iPhone account, you have to first upgrade to iTunes 10.5. You do this on your Mac or PC, going to iTunes.com to download the latest software. That process is easy, but time consuming.

Once the update is complete, iTunes will recognize your iPhone 4S when you connect it to the computer. You can then restore the backup to the new iPhone, so you can have all your contacts and apps on the new phone.

You then have to enter an Apple ID again. It asks you to set up the iCloud. The iCloud allows you to move data, photos or videos from one device on the iCloud network, like your iPhone, to another, like the Mac.

You should then backup the iPhone to the iCloud. At the end of the process you can start using your iPhone. Then you can finally wave it in front of your friends and gloat.

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