For all those of you who’ve been stuck between a moral crisis of introducing your older folks to a smartphone and dreading how to teach them to use it, this guide is the solution you need. Introducing someone who’s gadget experience doesn’t go too far beyond a TV remote or a microwave oven can be daunting. Something as simple as swiping to unlock or finding the keypad can turn into a challenge for a first timer. Even so, don’t you think it’s time your grandma or even your pa should upgrade their technology? So don’t hesitate to buy them a smartphone on their birthday, here’s all you need to know to set it up for them.

Take care of all the initial setups

Let’s just put it out there. Stuff like inserting the sim, memory card and setting up a google account is way too much for them to grasp on their first go. Leave out this information and go ahead and sort these for them. Here are a few things you’ll want to take care off.

Log them on to the various accounts

Depending on what smartphone they use, you must create and save them a Google or iTunes account. Hook them onto password managers like KeepPass and 1Password to them help keep track of their passwords.

Set a lock screen

A screen lock is important for security features. If the smartphone has a fingerprint scanner, it will make things much easier but if it doesn’t then opt for a screen lock that they’re most comfortable with.

Enable ‘find my phone’

Enabling this feature will go a long way in helping them locate their phone whether it ‘stolen or just lost between the sofa cushions.

Set up important shortcuts on the home screen

Apps like contacts, call log, camera, gallery, browser and messaging apps are something that will be used more often. So it’s only wise to set them as shortcuts instead of them struggling to find the right app. Since they'll be using the smartphone to make phone calls over anything else, set all the relevant speed dials so that it’s easier for them to make a call.

Teach them about all the buttons

Luckily the smartphones of our time have only a few buttons to deal with and a few basic functions to go about using the device. Show them how to use the switch on and off button and the volume buttons. Show them the touch screen buttons for home screen, menu and going back. Don’t forget to mention the charging and headphone jack ports too.

Introduce them to apps

Everything on a smartphone functions through apps. Giving them a quick introduction about using the basic built-in apps will sort them out for the initial days till they’re confident enough to explore on their own. Here are a few important apps that they can be taught how to use. Also Read: App Like a Mumbaikar: 7 Apps to Make Life Easy in the City


Show them how to answer and hang up calls. Also, introduce them to adding new contacts and dialling numbers from the phonebook.

Messaging apps

Whether it is the message app, Whatsapp or Skype, show them how to send and read texts. Email: If they’re even remotely email savvy, you can show them how to operate an email account on their phone.

Notification drawer

Tell them the relevance of a notification drawer and how to access and swipe away incoming notifications.


Taking pictures and sending them via email or messages can be a fun thing to teach them. Don’t forget to introduce to them the gallery where all these pictures can be found. Additionally, you can brief them about settings and the app store so that they can explore these features in the future as they get used to operating their smartphones. Cover Image Courtesy: