How-To Surface Duo

You’ve just unboxed your new Surface Duo. Here’s how to get it set up

If you’ve been keeping track of what happened since Microsoft first announced Surface Duo back in October 2019, I’m sure you’ll agree that its been quite a ride. With an endless stream of teases from Microsoft executives to reports of an early release.

That all behind us now. You have your Surface Duo, and are ready to get productive. Here’s how to set up your Surface Duo for the first time.

Insert your SIM card

Your Surface Duo comes with a SIM card removal tool in its box, use it or a paper clip to eject the SIM card tray located on the bottom left hand side of the device, and insert your SIM card. Surface Duo supports physical NanoSIM cards or you could opt for eSIM.

Protect your device

This step is optional. If you want some added device protection, you could use the included bumper case that will protect your device during drops and falls. More on how to attach your bumper case here. Or you could opt for third-party cases.

Power on & get connected

Next up, I suggest connecting your device to an outlet just in case it’s battery is depleted. Now press the power button and follow the on-screen instructions. You’ll be asked to connect to Wi-Fi which is recommended so the device can fetch the latest feature and security updates.

Sign in & configure biometrics

You’ll be asked to sign in to your Google and Microsoft accounts, which will be required if you plan on using Google and Microsoft services such as the Google Play Store and Microsoft 365.

To secure the device, you have the options of using a PIN and fingerprint. You have the option to only select a PIN code but it would be a good idea to use biometrics as well. The fingerprint sensor is located under the power button and makes for an easy and quick way to unlock your device.

Get familiar with Android

Don’t let two screen intimidate you, Surface Duo is a breeze to use thanks to the ability to use simple gestures to navigate your way around.

ToDo this
See all your appsOn your Home screen, swipe up from the bottom. Tap an app to open it.
Search for things, such as apps, files, and info onlineOn your Home screen, swipe down from the middle, then type in the search box.
See notificationsSwipe down from the very top of the screen. To open a notification or do something else, tap the Down arrow on the notification to expand it, then tap the notification to open it or tap an action.
Find common settings quicklySwipe down from the top of the screen to see quick settings, then tap a setting. Swipe down again to see more settings or tap the Settings gear icon in the lower-right to open Settings.
Go back one screenWhen an app is open, swipe from the edge of a screen towards the middle.
Go to your Home screenWhen an app is open, swipe up quickly from the bottom of the screen.
Move an app from one screen to the otherWhen an app is open, swipe up from the bottom of the screen, then drag it to the other screen and let go.
Maximize an app across both screensWhen an app is open, swipe up from the bottom of the screen, then drag it to the middle and let go.

Download your favorite apps

Since Surface Duo runs Android, you have access to the full ecosystem of Android app via the Google Play Store. Simply launch the store, search for your favorite apps and download them.

Not all apps are created equal though, some apps have been optimized specifically for Surface Duo, and are designed to to take full advantage of the added screen real estate that two screens provides. More on this soon.

Multitask on mobile like never before

It’s important to keep in mind that you are using a device like no other. As of today, Surface Duo is a brand new form factor. A device that’s purpose is the redefine what it means to be productive while mobile.

According to research conducted by Microsoft, with Surface Duo, your brain will function differently as it multitasks with less limitations than on a device with a single screen.

I plan on putting this claim to the test, but not in the form a traditional review. I’ll be using the device for a few weeks to a month before providing my thoughts on if and how Surface Duo has changed the way I work while on the go. Stay tuned for that!

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