Setting Up A New Phone

I finally got around to buying the Pixel 2, a phone that several of my USV colleagues have said is the best phone they have owned.

It’s too early in my relationship with this phone to comment on whether I like it or not, but I did have the easiest new phone setup experience of my smartphone tenure last night.

First and foremost, Google has made moving from one Android phone to another way better. You simply connect the two phones with a USB-C cable and about ten to fifteen minutes later, you have everything on your new phone. Then the apps start downloading and about 30mins later (depending on how many apps you have), everything you had on your old phone is on your new phone.

The second factor in the “easiest new phone setup experience” is Dashlane on Android. I realize Dashlane doesn’t have the same access to the operating system on iOS, but on Android, it is really great.

Once I had everything on my phone, I logged into Dashlane and turned on “auto login” for apps and websites on my phone.

After doing that, the process of logging into all of the apps on my phone was a breeze. It still required me opening every app on my phone, but I must have easily saved 30 minutes using Dashlane to automate much of that process.

I suspect other password managers can do the same, but I use Dashlane and it was a godsend last night.

Finally, a word about two factor authorization apps and codes. The regeneration of 2FA codes on a new phone is yet another annoying and painful process you have to do every time you get a new phone. I am not aware of an easy way to automate that and I suspect it would be a security challenge to make it easy. So that is today’s project.

I like to get a new phone for a lot of reasons. I like to get the latest and greatest technologies on my phone, I like the longer battery life that a new phone has, and I like change. Thankfully the process of setting up a new phone has gotten a lot easier in recent years.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    “…my relationship with this phone.”True that we develop interesting relationships with our smartphones.So you didn’t go with the XL?

    1. fredwilson

      i got the XL

      1. Andrew Bermudez

        I’ve been a Palm user, then an iOS user for years. Just got a Pixel 2 XL and wow. How the customizability and apps being able to talk to each other makes a WORLD of difference. I’m so much more productive on the Pixel.I got it so that I could test our SaaS mobile experience on Android. My main daily driver is still the iPhone, I love my airpods and the user experience with those headphones is huge. But now I’m seriously considering switching to the Pixel as my daily driver. The productivity gains mean a lot to me given how busy we are with our startup.

    2. JamesHRH

      I noticed that too.It’s the new car.

      1. William Mougayar

        yup. the smartphone is the new car.

    3. creative group

      William Mougayar:We share the love for devices that are 6″ and above.We intend on purchasing the PIXEL 2 XL (6″) when the next iteration of Pixel 2 XL (6″) arrives. (Brand new for at least half price. Unlocked & outright ownership, We will buy at least four)The only other Android phone in contention is the LG V30 unlocked GSM.CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEINDEPENT

      1. obarthelemy

        I still miss my 16:10 7″ Huawei Mediapad X1. My current 6.44″ 16:9 Xiaomi Mi Max is almost as satisfying, but not quite.And yes, those are phones not tablets. I get stares… And requests for infos.

  2. kenberger

    I hope you really meant you got a Pixel 2 XL. Because I’ve never seen such a gap between 2 such regular vs plus models (S8 vs S8+, iphone 8, etc).XL is *awesome* (my current main phone)– excellent screen* etc, while regular model has hideously huge bezels and lots of spec sacrifices.*screen isn’t as vivid as Samsung S8 and S8+, but I find this a good thing.

    1. fredwilson

      yes, i have the XL

      1. Murtaugh

        Any disappointments with the quality of the OLED panel on the XL? I read about some and opted for the Pixel 2.

  3. Barabare

    Fred,Use Authy for 2FA; it let’s you easily switch phones. You are correct this is a big security risk, so the thing to do is to leave the “multi-device” setting OFF. Only turn it on when setting up a new device, then turn it back OFF. That’ll let you move over all of your 2FA accounts easily, and will be just as secure as Google Authenticator.For security, keep cloud back up OFF too.Hope that helps.

    1. Emi Gal

      +100 on this recommendation.

  4. Lawrence Brass

    Have you squeezed it yet? 🙂

    1. kenberger

      The squeezing thing seemed a gimmick to me before I used it, and now that i have the phone, I actually do use it a lot. It’s surprisingly satisfying and makes you use the “what’s on my screen” function much more naturally then having to say “ok google”.

    2. fredwilson

      not yet

  5. Jeff J

    Fred,I’ll echo Barabare’s recommendation for using Authy, with the setting adjustments recommended, it makes the 2FA migration to a new phone quite simple.The Pixel2 XL is the first new Google phone that I haven’t purchased, I’ve been much too happy with the iPhone X. I switch between iOS and Android every 6 months or so to keep up with UI and feature differences on the two platforms, but for the first time in a long time iOS has met all my needs. I’ve also become more concerned with being “made the product” by Google recently. Not to the extent of ceasing to use their products, but uncertain if I want to trade data for an expensive premium phone and the related G-services.

    1. kenberger

      I hear you, but I long ago surrendered my privacy to Godgle, in exchange for the life-changing benefits He provides 😉

  6. kenberger

    I used LastPass for 10 years+, to manage passwords between my phones AND desktop.But recently (just before Oreo), I find that Chrome sync plus Android natively now fill in a huge percentage of passwords in the browser and in many of the apps. For anything important enough that I want 2FA for, I’m happy to have the phone insist on manual sign in.

    1. jason wright

      is that secure?

  7. LE

    Actually this is pretty good and differs from the default (‘high quality’ storage) with the Samsung Galaxy 8+ that I have now. And a reason for me to switch (I also have an iphone as well):²Free, unlimited original-quality storage for photos and videos taken with Pixel through the end of 2020, and free, unlimited high-quality storage for photos taken with Pixel afterwards.So right now you only get ‘unlimited high quality’ but with the Pixel apparently you get ‘unlimited original quality’ for 2 years which to me is a very important feature.

    1. obarthelemy

      If it’s really important to you, you shouldn’t be using it: Cloud services make 0 commitments about permanent, continued availability. You can lose all your stuff to a hack, a tech issue, a ban…Google Drive/Photo is fine, but as a scratch space. Your really valuable/irreplaceable stuff needs to be under your control and backed up (off-line, off-site, multiple times, and checked).

      1. LE

        Of course I also have an offsite and on site backup as well. But there is a category of pictures that I take where I want a full size copy but also need for some reason to quickly delete the photo because I need the space on my phone and I am not able to backup to those other 2 locations for some reason.So photos (from Android at least) exist in 4 places:1) On the phone (if not deleted for space reasons or because not critical)2) On the ‘onsite’ backup3) On the ‘offsite’ backup4) In the cloud (currently at ‘high quality’).I give a great deal of thoughts to backups and strategy and have been doing this since the days of backup tapes (exabyte on unix systems)

  8. Terry O

    Are you aware of an easy way to accomplish the changeover from IOS to Android?Thanks

    1. kenberger

      The cable (and background software) Fred is talking about also includes a cable for iPhone, making this super easy too:…(Man i’m adding a lot of comments today 😐 )

      1. Terry O

        thank you

  9. Jeremy Shatan

    I upgraded from an iPhone 6 to an 8 last fall and was astonished at how easy the process has become. Everything in the cloud was instantly on the new phone and the only thing I had to connect to my computer for was the music I manage through iTunes. Next time I’ll see if my password manager (I use MSecure) can help with that aspect of things. Enjoy your new gadget!

  10. Jose Ali Vivas

    Some of my closed friends ( we are bunch of scientists ) move from iOS to Android. Now two with iPhone X and the others with Pixel 2. The new users are pretty happy. In my case I have the curiosity just for exploratory reasons. For now we don’t have any consern because the connection with iPad Pro and Mac works seamlessly . You have also Linux commands and is fun. Just share in the future how your experience is going on… cheers!

  11. curtissumpter

    Hey. What are your views on AR @fredwilson:disqus?Any investment opportunities or companies getting involved? It’s on Udacity now and it feels closer than ever.Will phones be the mechanism that connects and acts like the CPU for the monitor which will be some kind of eyewear? I’m interested in your view.

    1. fredwilson

      i like real reality

      1. curtissumpter

        You don’t think there are massive opportunities in AR? That’s a little surprising.

        1. jason wright

          it’s a blinkered outlook.

    2. obarthelemy

      I’ve gifted 3 Gear VRs over the past few months. 30 mins of extasy. Then, a dark, cold, lonely drawer.

      1. curtissumpter

        Not VR. AR.

        1. obarthelemy

          Ooops, sorry

  12. JimHirshfield

    I have the Pixel 2 XL and the process of moving over from an older Android was, as you described, real easy. But some apps didn’t make it over, notably Foursquare and Swarm. Which immediately made me think it was an unfair competitive move on Google’s part. Did those two apps make it on to you Pixel 2?

    1. jason wright

      from Pixel 1 XL?

      1. JimHirshfield

        Nope. From OnePlus One. Yes, a bit of a laggard.

        1. jason wright

          vintage. if you still have it you could try loading this. The OnePlus One is a core device of the ecosystem. It’s open sorcery stuff, and fringe;

    2. fredwilson

      yes, they all came over

      1. JimHirshfield


      2. kenberger


        1. Donna Brewington White


  13. jason wright

    I’m holding out for the Copperhead Pixel 2 XL. Hardened security, but no Google services. James Donaldson has assured me it’s imminent.I’m also interested in the Xiaomi Mi A1 (Android One). Cheap, and dual sim.

  14. jason wright

    I like that the Authy app is PIN protected (Google Authenticator doesn’t seem to have that), and is capable of generating seven digit codes.I notice though that Coinbase has recommended that its customers switch from Authy to GA. Not quite sure why that is.

  15. obarthelemy

    Please do try and test a cheap phone at some point, I’m blown away at how good they’ve gottten. Xiaomi’s Redmi line ($100-200) are incredibly pleasant to look at, hold and use. (Until you start taking pictures :-p).Making a nice expensive phone is no longer magical at his point. To me, making a nice very cheap phone is. I just finished setting up my sister’s Redmi 4X, we’re both very impressed with it. Now my niece, nephew, b-in-law want one (the Redmi 5 Plus, just coming out)

    1. Russell

      And “2G Tuesday” to simulate what the emerging market experiences with phones.

      1. obarthelemy

        I do 0G Friday and Tuesday evenings already (travel through the dead-zone back country). Luckily, even low-end phones take 128-240GB SDs ;-p

  16. michaelmayes

    Fred, I’d love to hear more about how you manage Contacts when doing this (and in general best way to manage?) – Google does a great job but I have issues with iOS and apps messing things up…

    1. Adam Parish

      I use Google Contacts. You can have Google Contacts app sync to your iOS device if you must be on iOS.

    2. fredwilson

      i don’t use iOS. on Android, phone contacts and Google conacts are the same thing

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Have you discontinued the 6 months iPhone, 6 months Android cycle?

    3. Susan Rubinsky

      I uploaded my contacts from my Palm Pilot* to Google many years ago (12-ish years ago?). Once they are in Google, they automatically sync to any device. You just login and the device does the rest. Easy.* Actually I used an Apple iPod for about two years between the Palm Pilot and my first Smartphone, which was the Droid Galaxy (original)

    4. Donna Brewington White

      Good to “see” you here. 🙂

  17. pointsnfigures

    How do you get past the iMessage incompatibility issue with Apple?

    1. obarthelemy

      Use anything else. iMessage is the only locked-in messaging app, there are plenty of saner ones

  18. obarthelemy

    It is, kind of, an advertisement. Just like the OP is one for the Pixel.I’m sorry if talking about cheap phones is in bad taste; and half of expensive still is not quite cheap, captain obvious.To me, the salient fact of 2016-2017 is not how much better flagships have become, but how much better cheapies have.

  19. markslater

    The facial Log-in on X might sound like nothing but when you use it you realize how amazing it is. Same with the airpods……sound boring but the user experience is amazing.

  20. jason wright

    it’s probably the multi device feature. larger potential attack surface/ vectors, but who knows. After all, it is a Coinbase recommendation 😉

  21. jason wright

    Got my Pixel monthly security update bundle today.As we know, Android’s security is compromised by Google’s business model. so why do we accept it?

    1. obarthelemy

      I’m not sure how the business model is the culprit, and counter-examples abound: Windows was very unsafe with a different business model, ChromeOS is very safe with the same business model as Android…Most people don’t care about security, at least until they’ve been burnt. Most people don’t even have backups, let alone protection vs hackers.

      1. jason wright

        How does Google make its money? By knowing everything about us and selling it to others, what we browse, where we are, et.c. et.c. and it does that by weakening our privacy, to access our date. Android by definition has to be a security compromise. Copperhead recognises that. It hardens Android and strips out Google applications.Android apps are coming to ChromeOS. Permissions unlock doors.It’s true that most people don’t care. Less than 10% of Google accounts are 2FA enabled.Microsoft doesn’t make its money by knowing what we do. It sells licences to OEMs. Its software is coincidentally insecure.

        1. obarthelemy

          I think you’re confusing Privacy and Security. They are related only tangentially. Google monetizing your taste for Indian doodads doesn’t correlate with a hacker’s ability to ransomware your phone.Again, ChromeOS, from Google, is more secure than Windows and MacOS. It is probably less private, though with MS’s new-found appetite for user data and Apple’s obscure privacy policy, one could wonder.Updated Android is also very safe: Google’s security report on non-updated, unrooted, playstore-only Android states that 0.4% of devices had potentially harmful apps. The figure for *updated* Android has to be even lower. My take is that security on Android is a no worse than anyone else’s. OK for the house poloi, iffy if you’re worth targeting individually.

          1. jason wright

            I think that loss of privacy is loss of security. Our personal data is the value proposition, to Google and to hackers. They both want our date. If Google hardens Android it loses access to our data, and by inference so do hackers.

          2. obarthelemy

            If our data is so valuable, doesn’t Google have every incentive to keep it very secure, and to themselves, instead of letting hackers easily get it too ?Also, as long as only Google has our data, to use semi-responsibly, there probably won’t be a huge consumer backlash. But if say our GPS logs end up in the wrong hands (honey, what where you doing in that hotel room from 5 to 7 ?), then people will sit up and notice Google has them. Yet another reason for Google to keep our data secure.Again, I see no obvious correlation between business model (assuming this means device sales vs software sales vs ad sales), appetite for user data, and security. AFAIK Apple gathers as much data as Google; GPS logs and BT tracers have been found almost by accident.Best confirmation is that Google lets you run a Google-free Android; Apple doesn’t even let you switch browsers.

          3. jason wright

            With the resources Google has, and the importance of mobile to its bottom line, one wonders why it isn’t doing to Android what Copperhead is doing to Android. What can the explanation possibly be? Why would Google not want to make it more secure?

          4. obarthelemy

            Google is improving security (though not privacy ;-p) all the time. Android’s security is not broken at a basic level. Updates are, and security is broken only as a consequence of that because security in practice requires updates.Google is on the one hand trying to fix the long-term update issue (Treble, Fuchsia) and on the other hand trying to hold off any catastrophe until the long-term fixes are in (App Checker, standalone security updates).What Copperhead is doing is nice, but they’re focused on solving a few specific issues piecemeal, not the general update issue the way Google is, and on a few devices not on all of them. In the process they’re breaking most apps (no Google services). It makes for a nice checklist, but doesn’t really matter in the long run. I’m not even sure the issue they’re focusing on are the most relevant ones. Did they avoid the libstagefright one from last year ?

    2. creative group

      jason wright:Can you explain the compromise and how you feel it doesn’t benefit the user.ThanksCaptain Obvious!#UnequivocallyUnapologeticallyIndeIndepent

      1. jason wright it.The way Google makes its money requires Android to be less secure than it could be. Google doesn’t do private. It can’t. Ergo Android (Google’s Android) is not secure.

  22. Donna Brewington White

    Very helpful. Thank you.

  23. Sid

    When products get really easier to use, its often a sign of platform maturity. Means disruption is not far away.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      What are the problems that you believe disruption might solve?

      1. Sid

        Platform disruptions usually aren’t about fixing existing problems. They are a completely different way to look at a use-case. Example would be, why do I have to bend my neck all the time to type on my phone? Why do I need to install an app in my new device? Why does a phone need a screen?Just like backup drives evolved to become part of my keychain in form of thumbdrive, and now on the cloud, perhaps a phone too will evolve and become an identity/location token the size of a casino chip. The tech will become commodity. And the tech wars will be fought over the control of the senses – eyes (AR/VR), ears(Siri/Alexa/Google), touch(haptics/robitic humanoids), smell(retail/tourism), taste(food/groceries).I have a feeling that the next decade will be about unbundling of the phone.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I probably used the word “problem” too generally but your distinction is insightful/helpful. Also, appreciate that true disruption has a visionary element.Interestingly, I’m having a similar discussion in another thread with someone about blockchain. His argument is that it doesn’t solve any problems, Mine is that it opens up possibilities, some of which we may be currently unaware. We may not realize we had a particular “problem”/need until it has been solved/met. But that is often how technology works, right?Thanks, Sid.

  24. sigmaalgebra

    You might want to back up that at home iPad!

  25. obarthelemy

    I’m mostly unbothered by OEM skins: swap out the Launcher (I’m partial to Nova: app drawer, themes, subgrid positioning, homescreen lockdown, gestures…), and the only remaining weirdnesses are in Notifications (MIUI’s are fine and quite vanilla) and Settings (MIUI’s *are* weirdly structured, but everything is there, if not in its proper place). There’s a handful of crapware that can be ignored. Thankfully Android can override any OEM’s attempt to dumb things down à la Apple.The devices look Apple-ish, but that not an indictment (they look nice) nor, deep down, true: Apple popularized the metal unibody look, but at least HTC used it before.I think the “pure Android wins” movement is quite superficial and driven by fear of the unknown. You’ll be fine… though mildly irritated at times ;-p

  26. Azreen

    Hi @fredwilson:disqus What do you do with all your old phones?

  27. jason wright

    I’m not taking to this LAte posting malarky. when are you back on NYC time?

  28. Thomas Luk

    Great attitude and preference to move forward instead of settling with old habits/ phones.

  29. Peter Van Dijck

    +1 on Dashlane, been using it and paying for a year+ now and it Just Works. It’s a real relief to no longer have any “bad” passwords on any accounts. In fact, I have no idea what my passwords are anymore. Recommended if you’re not using a password manager already.

  30. Lea

    Fred, I fully share your sentiment. This is why we built It is completely friction free (no codes, no downloads, no apps, nothing) second factor authentication. Not only that but because it happens inside the network, in the background, it is also much more secure. SMS based 2FA is not secure, which is why NIST is recommended not to use it…. In order to be most effective, we believe security should be both stronger and easier.