Your mom just got her first smart phone: what should she learn first?

My mom just got her first smart phone, an iPhone 5S. What should she learn to do on it first? Fortunately, she has an iPad already so the iOS as a whole isn’t entirely foreign.

First up is the core list of phone phone features which is actually only limited to 6:

  • How to receive a call
  • How to place a call
  • How to send an SMS (text message)
  • How to receive an SMS (text message)
  • How to adjust or turn off your ring volume
  • How to turn on and off airplane mode

My mom wants to barely use her phone so she doesn’t have to pay a lot per month.  Right now she’s paying $17.50 for 250 minutes, 300 texts and 30 MB per month from Consumer Cellular.  With these tight constraints, airplane mode will be your friend to ensure while you’re phone is not actively being used that it’s not using data while your email is checked or while some app is sucking down bits. As well, knowing if you’re phone is going to sound like Defcon level 1 alert when some one calls you is important. Know your sounds vs your silence!

The second set of features to learn are centered around how your phone is not just a phone, but a super powerful mini computer that fits in your purse:

  • How to get on WiFi at your house and other primary locations you frequent.  Though calls and texts will still be deducted from your plan, surfing the web and looking up directions will not. Couple this with your airplane mode savviness, and you’ll be a penny pinching queen!
  • Know your camera!  You always have it with you and you can use it in airplane mode! Your camera can not only take selfies and scenic shots, but it can take pictures of:
    • Where you parked your car at the airport
    • That recipe you’re reading in a magazine at the doctors
    • Slides of a presentation
  • Know your maps app.  You can look where to find a cup of coffee in a part of town you don’t know.  You can have it navigate it for you to a business you’ve never been to.  You can instantly look up where that deli you went to last year is in NYC or what country Estonia is next to (Latvia and Russia ;)
  • Know your audio app(s).  You can not only load your phone with your favorite tunes exactly like an iPod, but you can stream them from providers like Google Play and Pandora. NOTE! This will use a lot of your monthly data if you’re not on WiFi. On top of all this, you can get a podcast app and load your phone full of amazing stories and info that can all be listened to with airplane mode one.

I don’t know if she agrees (Mom?), but I think some of the best advice I gave her was that she didn’t need to rush things with the new phone.  She could take as long as she needed to learn how to do a task (or wait until I’m free to walk her through it).

Do you know someone who just got a smart phone for the first time? What do you think should be on the top items to learn?

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