How to set up a Facebook Portal

Erika Rawes

Got a Facebook Portal, but you’re worried you won’t be able to use it because you’re not as tech savvy as you’d like? Don’t worry. Setting up your Facebook Portal is a super easy process that will take you just a few minutes. Here’s how to get started using your Portal, step by step, no matter if you have a Portal, Portal+, or Portal Mini.

Starting up your Portal

John Velasco / Digital Trends

First, you need to power up your Portal. Plug the power cord that came with it into the back of the screen, then plug it into the wall. You’ll see the screen power on, and then it will ask you your language of choice — tap the screen to make your selection.

Next, it’s time to connect the device to your Wi-Fi. Select your Wi-Fi network from the options on the screen, type in your password, and tap Join > Next > Continue. If your Portal needs to download a software update it will notify you on the screen and when it’s done, it may ask you to restart the Portal.

Now, you can follow the on-screen instructions to give your Portal a name. You can choose a pre-made option from the menu or you can tap the Custom Name option to give your Portal a name that’s more unique. When you’re done, tap Next.

$149 from Amazon

Logging in to Facebook

Next, you need to log in to your Facebook and/or WhatsApp account, then tap Next and follow the instructions that pop up on the screen. If you don’t have one of these types of accounts, we have a guide to get you started with a new Facebook account and a guide to getting started with WhatsApp. The Portal will work as a photo frame if you link your Facebook or Instagram accounts, though the calling feature will still work if you only log into WhatsApp.

Using your Portal as a picture frame

John Velasco / Digital Trends

Now, you’re ready to use your Portal. One of the biggest uses for Portal is using it as a photo frame. To set this feature up, go to the Home screen and tap Settings, then tap Superframe and Photos. Next, your Facebook photo albums will appear on the screen. Tap the toggle switch beside the albums you would like to see on your Portal when it’s used as a picture frame.

You can also upload photos to your Portal using the Portal app. Just tap your Portal on the Home screen and tap Create Album > Add Photos > Add. Choose the photos you want to upload (you can only add 20 at a time) and toggle on the slider beside the option Display in Superframe.

There’s also the option of having your Instagram photos pop up as well by adding your account. You can do this by tapping on Settings, then tap Superframe and Instagram. From here, all you need to do is just type in your Instagram account and password.

$149 from Amazon

How to make calls on Portal

You can make calls to your contacts on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. To make a call on Portal, say, “Hey Portal, call [contact name].” To answer a call, say, “Hey Portal, answer,” and to hang up, say, “Hey Portal, hang up.” You can also use the screen to start up a call. Go to the Home screen and tap the Contacts app. Tap on the person you would like to call and then tap Video. To end the call, tap the screen, then tap the red X icon that pops up.

By tapping the screen during a call you will see other options pop up. One option will let you add more members to the call. You can add up to seven Messenger contacts or up to three WhatsApp contacts to a call. The add option looks like a blue circle with a person icon in it. Just tap it, then tap the contacts you want to add to the call.

AR and Story Time

John Velasco / Digital Trends

When you tap the screen the AR and Story Time options will pop up, too. AR effects add masks and filters to your face while you’re on a call. The Story Time option lets you tell an on-screen story with effects and fun graphics. To open the AR and Story Time options, tap the gray icon that has a mask and musical notes on it and then choose AR or Story Time from the menu.

How to play music on Portal

Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Portal has Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio apps pre-downloaded to the device. All you need to do is swipe left on the Home screen, select the app of your choice, and log into your account using the on-screen directions. From there, you can use the app much as you do on your phone.

You can also share songs while you’re on a call, if your friend has a Portal, too. Tap the screen while you’re on a call, choose the gray icon that has a mask and musical notes on it, and then tap on Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio. Select a song or station and have your friend on the other end of the call tap Accept.

How to download more apps

Portal has a limited amount of apps you can add to it. To see your downloading options, tap Apps on the Home screen. If you find an app that you’d like to download, simply tap on it.

$149 from Amazon