Using Technology For Seniors

Using Technology For Seniors - iPhones and Useful Apps

Being Tech Savy as a senior citizen can be incredibly difficult, especially since technology is always changing. Step2health wants you to feel comfortable using technology, so we’re giving you all the tips and tricks to using a smartphone, plus, we’re adding some fun apps you can download to spruce up your phone! Using any new piece of technology is a learning curve, so don’t be frustrated if it takes a while for you to get used to it, its perfectly normal!



Turning off and on an iPhone can be deceptively tricky, to turn off or on your phone follow these steps.


  1. Press down on one of the volume buttons on the side of the phone until you see the option to power off
  2. Slide the power off button to turn off the phone
  3. After 30 seconds, the iPhone will turn off


If you need to turn the phone back on…

  1. Press down on the side button or the top button of the iPhone
  2. Hold down the button for a few seconds, and the phone should power on.



Messages are the green icon you see with a chat bubble on it. This is the iPhone’s app used for text messaging. Texting is great as it is a quick way many people communicate, and among younger people, it is a faster way to communicate compared to email.

Composing a Message:


Tap on the messaging app with your finger. When you open the messaging app you will see previews of messages you sent to others, from most recent text to least recent. In the top right corner of the app, you will see a square with a pencil on it. This is how you compose a message. Tap the icon.


Once you tap the icon you will be able to send a text message! Similar to email, add the contact you want to send the message to, and then add your message.


Green Bubbles vs Blue Bubbles

When you are texting someone you may notice that the “bubbles” of text are sometimes green sometimes blue. Don’t worry this is completely normal. Blue bubbles signify that the person you are texting is using “iMessage” which is Apple’s texting system. If you see blue bubbles, the person you are texting has an iPhone!


iMessage allows users to text over wifi (the internet). The biggest perk of iMessage is iPhone users can text each other when there is no cellular signal, so long as the iPhone is connected to the internet.


Green bubbles signify that the person you are texting does not have an iPhone and that you are communicating with them via cellular, not via the internet connection.


Read Receipts - iMessage

Want to make sure someone knows you read their text message? Read receipts are a great feature iPhone users can turn on. When you read someone’s text, they will see that you opened it, and the time you opened it on the last text message you sent. You can turn on read receipts for individual people or can turn it on for all your contacts.


For individuals:

→ Got to the messaging app and click on the messages with the person you would like to turn on read receipts for.

→ at the top of the screen click on the info icon.

→ Toggle “send read receipts” you should see the toggle turn green, that means read receipts are on.


For Everyone.

→ Go into the settings app on the iPhone

→ Scroll down to messages.

→ Toggle “send read receipts”

→ read receipts will be on for everyone.



Popular Third Party Texting Apps


WhatsApp is one of the most popular third-party texting apps in the world. The appeal of WhatsApp is great because it allows you to text anyone in the world, without international fees. WhatsApp functions by sending texts when there is an internet connection.

WhatsApp allows you to share videos, photos, and files with anyone in the world and the only thing you need to do to use WhatsApp is to enter your phone number. No email is required to sign up, no password. So if you have friends overseas, WhatsApp is a great way to communicate with them!



If you have had a cell phone before, then using the phone application should be pretty straightforward. Like many cellphones, the phone app is used to make phone calls and view voicemails.


Adding Contacts

To add a contact from the phone app, click the “contacts” icon and the bottom of the screen when you are in the phone app. In the top right corner, you should see a + sign. Click the + sign and you will be prompted to insert the first and last name of the person whose contact you would like to add. You do not have to add the last name if you do not want to. You have the option to add their phone number and their email so you can refer to it when you’d like. Once you have added in all the information press “Done” in the top right corner. Congrats, you added a contact!

Useful Contacts to Add

Here is a great reference for contacts you should add in case of an emergency. Many know to call 911 in most emergencies, but it is also useful to know the number of your local sheriff, your doctor, your local water and gas company, and poison control.

Useful Apps


Created for seniors by nurses, Pillboxie is an excellent app for those who have trouble remembering to take their medication. This app is designed for the iPhone and can function even without the internet. The app works by sending users reminders that show up on the user’s phone when they need to take tier medicine. The alerts have sound so even if you aren’t on your phone, you will hear the notification to take your medicine.


Pillboxie will tell you what medicine you need to take the quantity of the medicine you need to take, so you will never get pills mixed up again.


Even if you aren’t using it for yourself, this app can also be great for managing the medication of your loved ones. If your grandchild or friend is ill, you can use Pillboxie to remind yourself when you need to administer any medications.


Restaurant menus have the tiniest text and the dimmest light! If you’re tired of straining your eyes in order to read a restaurant menu, search no longer! EyeReader is a great app for those who no longer want to read menus in dim light. To use the app, open the app and hold your phone over any text — not just menus — and the text will appear on the screen of your phone, but magnified.


While this app isn’t designed specifically for seniors, many seniors love using Audible. Audible is a subscription-based app that allows you to listen to countless audiobooks. Audible users have credits that can go towards audiobooks that they can listen to. Unlike purchasing and renting an audiobook, the credit system with audible help saves you some money, since you won’t be spending $17 on every audiobook. One credit equals one audiobook. When you sign up for Audible, you get 3 audiobooks for free.

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