Optimize your new iPhone experience with these expert setup tips

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iPhone Xs
Get your new iPhone set up the right way.
Photo: Apple

For many people, iPhone 12 will be radically different from previous iPhone models. Despite this, the iPhone setup process hasn’t changed much. However, while you might find yourself on familiar ground, there are still plenty of little things you really ought to do before you fire up your new phone for the first time (or pretty soon thereafter).

Let’s take a look at all the things you can do to get your iPhone set up exactly how you want it.

Keep your real phone number hidden with a second, ‘burner’ line

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Hushed
Get a second phone number that you can use for Craigslist deals, dates, work calls, and other times when you'd rather keep your real number private.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The internet changed a lot about how we communicate. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the sensitivity of giving out your personal phone number to randos.

Craigslist, Tinder dates — heck, even work associates — there are lots of people you might not want to be able to reach you on a whim. This inexpensive private phone line offers an invaluable buffer between you and the unknown.

This app lets sexting couples sign an NDA first

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Couple in bed
E-gree is a free legal contract service.
Photo: Womanizer WOW Tech/Unsplash CC

Want to receive an intimate photo from a romantic partner? You’d better be ready to sign on the dotted line (or, at least, the smartphone screen.)

A new app called e-gree allows couples to create legal contracts that could help stop the saucy selfies from being shared without permission. No legal fees involved.

Learn a new language the same way you learned your native tongue

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Memrise
With videos of common, useful phrases spoken by native speakers in 22 different languages, this app makes the learning process easy and fun.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Lots of us have made the commitment to learn a new language, only to watch it fall by the wayside. Unless you’re fully immersed and have plenty of free time, it’s usually not as easy to learn a second (or third) language as it was to learn the first.

The Memrise Language Learning app aims to make it far easier to earn additional languages, using a three-step approach that mimics the way you mastered your native tongue. At the heart of the app are video clips featuring native speakers, who demonstrate all the subtleties of phrasing and tone that carry as much information as the words themselves.

Sharpen your mind with brain-training games and more

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CogniFit Premium: Make the most of your mind with this collection of personalized games and exercises.
Make the most of your mind with CogniFit's collection of personalized games and exercises.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

It’s not just you — everybody’s feeling a bit slow these days. The world is full of reasons to tune out and feel overwhelmed, so we can all use a little help keeping our minds sharp. That’s just what you can do with this app’s collection of games, exercises and more.

Translate audio, text and more with one app

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Lingavex
Easily translate text, voice, images, websites and documents in over 100 languages.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

In the Star Trek future, everyone understands one another without any effort thanks to universal translators. We’re not quite there yet, but technology is advancing fast. Today, it’s already easy to convert text, speech and even images instantaneously.

iOS 14 pushes custom widget apps to top of the charts

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iOS 14 widgets apps shot to the top of the iPhone App Store charts.
Applications that create custom iOS 14 widgets quickly became very popular.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The top three applications on the App Store right now all focus on iOS 14 widgets. They let users create custom Home screen widgets that aren’t tied to other applications.

Apple’s latest operating system adds these mini-apps, and a small selection of them come built into iOS 14. Plus, many third-party applications like browsers and email apps recently released widgets.

But applications whose entire focus is adding useful widgets to the iPhone Home screen quickly found plenty of users. Here are some of the most popular ones available now.