Note: This article pertains to setup for the Circle Home device. If you are looking to enable Circle on your NETGEAR router, check out this article. For help with our newest product, Circle Parental Controls and Circle Home Plus, check out this article.
Welcome to the Circle family!
We are so excited you chose to use Circle in your household and are here to help you get the Circle Home device set up.
Included below, you'll find a wealth of assistance for getting Circle set up. We have a Circle Pairing walkthrough right at the top and loads of info after that:
- Requirements for using Circle
- Steps for preparing for setup
- Help with pairing
- Additional help with creating your account and profiles.
If you are having trouble pairing Circle check out this article for assistance.
Circle Pairing Walkthrough
Getting started with Circle
Before you begin getting the Circle device setup on your home Wi-Fi, make sure that you have the following items ready to go:
- Your Circle Device
- Micro-USB cable (included in box)
- USB power adapter plug (included in box)
- The Circle App (go to meetcircle.com/app to download)
- Your home Wi-Fi network name & password
- The Circle app. Circle's app requires an iOS device running iOS 9 or later or an Android device running Lollipop (4.2) or later. Click here if you're setting up using an iOS device. Click here if you're setting up using an Android device.
- A compatible router. If you haven't checked this yet, head here to check on your router's compatibility with Circle.
- A compatible network. If you plan to use a guest network with Circle, please read our article about guest networks here. We don't recommend pairing Circle to an extender or behind a second router. Check out our advanced network setup guide for more info on other configurations! Note: your network must be password protected for use with Circle.
Note for Android users: before proceeding through set up we recommend turning off data for your device, and as well any smart WiFi switching or what's called "WiFi assistant". This will keep your device from connecting to another source for Internet access during set up since the Circle Hotspot does not have Internet access and used only during set up.
Note for iOS users: If you are using the Circle 1st generation app on an iOS 13 device make sure you enable Location permissions. We use these to set up your Circle device and the app will not load correctly without it. You can change that setting during installation of the app or from Settings > Circle > Location > tap "While using".
Pairing Circle with your router
- Place the Circle device near your router and plug it in.
Unlike extenders (or routers themselves), Circle doesn't talk directly to the devices in your home. Rather, Circle works by communicating directly with your router. To ensure that Circle is able to secure and maintain a strong connection on your network, place it in the same room as your router within about 5 feet (but not directly on top of the router), and then plug the unit into power.
TIP: We recommend turning off your cellular data temporarily during setup. This tends to keep Circle and your device communicating well.
- Begin Setup.
Ensure that the device you have downloaded the Circle app onto is connected to your home Wi-Fi, then launch the Circle app and tap Get Started.
For Android Users: If you are running into trouble during pairing, it's possible that you need to clear out your Circle app's data. To do this, go to Android Settings >> Apps >> Circle >> Storage, and tap "Clear App Data". This option may look different based on the Android device and version.
- Get updates & plug in the Circle device.
Allow the Circle app to check for updates, then plug your Circle device into power using the USB cable and power adapter that came in the packaging.
- Connect to the Circle device hotspot.
Go to the Wi-Fi settings on your device and connect to the Circle device's hotspot (a unique Wi-Fi network broadcasted by the Circle device itself). The name will be something like "Circle-3HA7". Use the password "mycircle" to join the Circle device's hotspot, then return to the Circle app. Can't connect using that password? Check out this article.
Make sure you don't connect back to your home Wi-Fi until after you have selected your home Wi-Fi from inside the Circle app and receive the confirmation that the pairing process is complete.
NOTE: When connecting to the hotspot, you may receive a notification that you do not have internet access. This is normal and can be disregarded. As well, if you are using a VPN on your device we recommend disabling this during set up!
Android only: Make sure to enable permissions to your location services when pairing to the Hotspot. Android requires this permission to proceed during pairing, and we will not use your location permission otherwise.
- Tell Circle your Wi-Fi network & password.
Once you are connected to the Circle device hotspot and have returned to the Circle app, tap "Continue" to select your Wi-Fi network in the list of available networks that Circle has found, and enter your password. Use the "Show Password" toggle to ensure that you have entered your Wi-Fi password correctly.
Note: If the list of Wi-Fi networks does not fill in, close the Circle app and try beginning setup again. Android users may need to turn off their mobile data and then try again.
- Connect back to your home Wi-Fi.
Once your Circle device has paired to your home Wi-Fi, you will receive a confirmation in the Circle app. At this point, go back to your Wi-Fi settings in the device you're using to set up the Circle device, and reconnect to your Home Wi-Fi. After this, return to the Circle app. If your app can't find Circle at that time make sure you've returned to the 2.4GHz network that Circle paired with, and that you are not using a VPN on your device. Disable it if so.
Note: After pairing, the Circle device hotspot will disappear. This helps prevent accidental connection after pairing has finished.
Check out these additional support resources:
- Alert Shows You Are Not Connected To The Circle Hotspot Anymore
- How to turn Circle On or Off
- Update Circle Firmware Manually
Setting up your account
- Enter the name and email for your account.
Enter the name you want Circle to know you by in the top box and your email in the bottom one. We will send you a verification email that you can revisit at your convenience.
Note: Entering your name and email in opposite boxes will result in Circle sending you an error (see an example on the right below).
- Enter your phone number in case of recovery.
In the event you reinstall the Circle app, or want to use another device to manage Circle, we'll use this phone number to text you a "passcode" so that you aren't locked out of managing your Circle! Tap Next to move on.
Non-US Circle setup: The Circle app will automatically detect the regional information setup in the device that you are using to set up your Circle device and insert the country code for you (such as Sweden in the middle screenshot above). If the country code that is automatically selected does not match your actual phone number, you may tap on the country flag or phone icon to select the proper country code.
Creating family profiles
- Start with yourself.
You can set the first profile up for anyone in your home, but we recommend setting it up for yourself first to get acquainted with the settings before diving into profiles for the rest of your family.
- Setup Filter, Time Limit, and BedTime settings.
If you need any help with these steps, use the resources below to help you out.
- Assign your devices to yourself.
Assign any device that uniquely belongs to you to your profile. Don't worry about getting it all together right at this point. It's easy to change who devices are assigned to once you're up and running with Circle.
- Repeat the process for each family member.
Setup will look the same for each family member profile you setup. If you have devices in your home that are shared among family members, we recommend setting up profiles for any family member that you'd like to manage online time for.
Check out these additional resources:
- How do I figure out which device is which on my network?
- What kinds of screen time can Circle manage?
- Allow another adult to manage Circle on their device
During setup, the Circle device will look for devices that should be Unmanaged and pre-select them to avoid issues on your network. Unmanaged Devices are ignored by the Circle device to ensure that none of your sensitive or smart home devices accidentally get Paused or Filtered. Your Circle device should ignore the following:
- Smart thermostats
- Smart smoke detectors
- Wi-Fi enabled outlets
- Wi-Fi enabled lightbulbs or switches
- Other smart home devices, like speakers, etc.
- Sensitive Wi-Fi controlled equipment
- Networking equipment that may be detected by Circle
The Home profile
All devices that are not assigned to a Family Member or set to Unmanaged will automatically be assigned to the Home user. Any new device that joins the network will also belong to the Home User, and you can set Filters, Time Limits, and BedTime for Home just like you can for family member profiles.
Note: Because new devices will default to the Home, you may want to set up a "Home" profile of your own to prevent confusion around shared devices in the home and time allotments being used up by guests who use your Wi-Fi.