Using FaceTime to help somebody set up a new iPhone or iPad remotely

Posted by Paul Braren on Dec 19 2012 in
  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • It's that time of year, where loved ones in far away lands get new iOS goodies. Seeing new user's happy faces as they get new tech in their hands is a joy. But alas, there is no easy way to remotely control a new iOS device, not without jailbreaking anyway.

    Well, it's quite possible to guide somebody to set up an iPhone or iPad remotely, especially if there's already another iOS device in that remote household with FaceTime. Same concept would work with Skype as well, if that's your preference.

    Here's how I set up a family member recently:

    • borrowed a family member's iPhone, just to have the Settings app handy, to help guide the conversation
    • propped my own iPhone up near me, then placed a Facetime call to the relative's borrowed, already-configured iPhone, leaving it in Portrait (vertical) orientation
    • asked that relative to use one hand (or 2 books) to prop up the Facetime iPhone 5 HD camera, aiming at the new iPhone 5 display, keeping Portrait (vertical) orientation
    • guided the relative through the configuration menus on the new iPhone 5, guiding through things like iCloud settingsIMAP email settings, Facetime settings, Find My Phone, and finally, Security settings that made the possibility of theft a little less scary
    • I saved the fun of testing that first App Store purchase (and payment verification) for last

    Works quite well if the WiFi on both sides of the conversation is decent, and you're on an iPhone 5. Quite easy to see all onscreen menus. Clear, crisp text. Really quite straightforward. Even better would be some sort of web-based way to make such configurations even easier. But hey, this method works fine for now.

    If you give this method a shot, consider letting us all know how it went by commenting below.