iPhone settings for grandma

My mother-in-law is still new to smartphones. She had a cheap Android for 3 years and now she has an iPhone (as do I).

Some rambling thoughts:

  1. I think she literally had over 1,000 tabs open in Google Chrome. She had never closed one in 3 years
    • Happened to notice a setting in iPhone for “automatically close Safari tabs after 1 week.” Win!
  2. Then I say, “Let’s talk about notifications. Do you like being told about every time your third cousin’s son posts on Facebook about his zits?”
    • “No I hate that!” OK, let’s disable all of those…
  3. Also I just went ahead and blocked all in-app purchases. You can still use like DoorDash or whatever.
  4. And so on.

So, any other wisdom for ahem technically-challenged family using iPhones?

Oh Boy! I CAN’T WAIT to see the rest of the posts on this one!

My technologically challenged mom (now 88) realized that when the grandkids were too old to play wiffle ball with, grandma would be out of the loop… so she DEMANDED a way to keep in touch. The second generation (my brother, my sister, and I) got her an iPad with the stipulation that the GRANDkids (at the time, 7 grandsons) do the keeping in touch.

She experiences the exact same issues as your mothier-in-law (a billion open browser windows, no idea how Facebook really works), and one other one. Her iPad is WiFi only, and her internet connection can be unstable sometimes (Comcast), but she really has no idea why the two are related. She’ll call one of us wanting to throw the blasted iPad through the window…

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So, any other wisdom for ahem technically-challenged family using iPhones?

I would just make sure that someone sets up iCloud so if/when she throws the current iPad out the window, you can recreate her system on a new one. :wink:

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Make sure she knows where the button is on the side to “silence” and “unsilence” the phone. That was a tough one with my mom. She kept saying, “I don’t know how I’m missing all of these calls…the phone doesn’t ring!”. We tried to describe where it was over the phone but we had to physically show her.

On a good note, she can always talk to Siri if she’s lonely :wink:

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@Beth I thought that was obvious. Then I read this to my wife and she said her mother also is confused by “the three buttons” on the one side of the phone.

And only @Mark_Wonsil could find a way to get a cloud reference in there. :roll_eyes:

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It is just not grandmas who do not know about the “silence/unsilence” button. I was once at a Mac Store waiting for some work being done on a computer. One person came up to the help desk and complained the phone does not ring anymore. The person was probably in his late 30s early 40s. All the person at the help desk had to do was show him the switch on the side, which obviously he did not know. Imagine, the person took the time to book an appointment for help and still could not figure out this issue…

Vinay Kamboj


Foiled anyway. I was certainly surprised this weekend to learn that you can still (in 2021!) charge stuff to the phone bill.

Apparently there’s some website called Game Town (TLD is .me; I refuse to actually spell out the URL), where all you have to do is click some subscription button and it adds 9.99/month to your phone bill. It’s all through a browser, not the app store.

Thankfully, Sprint sent me a text telling me of the change to the account. But wow that threw me for a loop.

Oh, and @Beth we had to explain the silence switch again this past week. What is this - do Androids not have a switch?

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Forward that to Apple. They’ll shut that down quick. And by “shutdown”, I mean force that company to pass all financial transactions through the App Store so that Apple can get there 30%!


But to be honest, I have no idea if those types charges (to the phone bill) are against Apples rules.

I’d guess they are, else the Fortnite developer would have just used that method. Unless the phone company takes an even bigger bite than Apple.

No wisdom, just that I can empathize with your mother-in-law.
I do find the technology interesting but I haven’t warmed up to the software interfaces/apps.
When I did finally get a tablet earlier this year, it took me quite a while to figure out how disable unwanted features, unrelated to reading books.
I have mostly avoided smartphones, except when playing around with emulation.
i.e. I still use a flip-phone… of course.


@JasonMcD LOL! Thanks for the post! I forgot that I had the silence switch turned on and your post reminded me of that…LOL! I wonder if anyone tried to contact me yesterday :thinking: :joy: :rofl: :joy: :rofl: :joy: :rofl:

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Oh on that note, a cool setting I use is that I have it set where if my wife calls me (and only her), my phone rings no matter what. If I am on silent, it rings. Do not disturb? It still rings. It’s part of the setup of the contact for her. But I didn’t do the same for text messages - those go with the flow.

There’s kind of an understanding that a phone call from her is urgent if I am at work, while outside of work, there’s nothing I do where the phone should not ring, unless it’s church or something, but she’s sitting next to me then anyway.

I need to do that for grandma, too. If her kids call, just ring the phone.

I set the ringtone to be special if it’s from my wife. So I know I can just ignore it. :wink:

But seriously, I’ll never answer my phone if I’m interacting with someone. I wont even look at it. I’ll just silence it, and attend to it later. But we do have a “code”. If she calls back right away (I can tell by the ringtone) that means it’s an emergency / important.

It really is a pet peeve of mine when someone answers their phone (cell or desk) while I’m talking to them. What makes them so sure that call is more important than what we’re currently discussing in person?