After a busy and fun two hours helping a Boomer client learn to get the most from her iPad, I recognized recurring themes and issues as we worked through Carol’s four-page wishlist.
She wanted to know how to…find games on her iPad; how to access her local bank; find library ebooks; print from her iPad, and much more. Carol also wondered about what word processing program to use, was curious about Facebook, and wanted to learn more about some basic photo editing. We covered a great deal of ground but left a number of items on her list untouched. For next time!
But a word about Carol’s list. A great idea to keep a running list of questions that you wonder about your technology. Perhaps you will answer your own questions, or save them for your favorite “tech assistant”—a neighbor, grandchild, or merely a friend who knows a bit more about technology than you do.
You may be asking some of the same questions, so here are some BIG and SMALLER topics we dealt with.
1. Learn to answer your own questions. BoomerTECH urges our clients to use the search function in Google or your browser of choice to ask questions and find answers. If you want to know whether you can print from your iPad, simply “Google”…”how do I print from my iPad”. Better yet, do the same in YouTube to find videos and tutorials that will take you step-by-step through the response to your question. When I needed help fixing the icemaker on my refrigerator, a simple 5-minute YouTube video showed me exactly what to do. And the best part was that I could re-play each section until I understood it. Keep your query short and to the point and as specific as possible, “take a screenshot on ipad” not “how can I take a screenshot on my ipad.” See item #2 in this article for more help on the search function. And don’t forget to add the word “solved” at the end of your question to get a response that is a solution, not merely a discussion about the problem.
2. What devices work best for me? Carol has a relatively new iPad that she likes a lot, an older cell phone, and no laptop at home. As a soon-to-be-retired teacher she is accustomed to having a laptop available to her at school. Her question: Should I buy a laptop to complement my iPad? She is happy with her phone for texting and calling; she takes photographs on her iPad and sees no need to upgrade to a smartphone. Carol likes to work with two screens and on larger projects prefers a regular keyboard; I suggested she consider using her iPad as her primary computer and purchase an external monitor and keyboard. Here is how this could work. This would give her a nice set-up to use at home and still allow her the flexibility of a tablet when she travels and wants portability.
3. Apple ID and Password are essential. Right off the bat we ran into a problem when we found an app we wanted to install. Carol’s Apple ID was locked and then her password wouldn’t work. We took a few minutes to work around this, eventually putting in a new password that took care of the problem. For some boomers and seniors who may not install apps often or use iTunes, the Apple ID and its password can be problematic when they aren’t readily retrievable. This work around also gave us a chance for a discussion about passwords—make them strong, don’t always use the same one, have a system and keep them in a safe place. More information here.
4. Finding Apps. Carol wanted to find an easier way to log in to do online banking so we searched for an app in the App Store, found it, and installed it to her iPad. Then we looked for several other apps she was interested in…a couple of games, her home library app, and a fitness app. We walked through the search process, how to load the app, and what to do after it was loaded. An important process to know.
5. Printing or Paperless. This question started as “how can I print from my iPad”? A good question that depends on the generation of iPad and the type of printer. We determined that the older printer available was not airprint enabled so we looked at several other possibilities through a USB connection, cloud-based, and more. But our discussion lead us to question why Carol wanted to print from her tablet. She was accessing recipes that can be easily found and read on the tablet. She only had to bookmark them or save them to a Google Doc. Did she really need a single sheet of paper for a banana bread recipe she might never find or use again? There are lots of times you may need a hard copy, but this wasn’t one of them!
And several smaller issues…
• Email management is almost always important. In gmail, for example, Carol thought she was deleting emails but in fact, each email was being archived, remaining in her email folder, and not allowing her to reach her goal of a clean inbox. We changed the settings and looked around a bit at how she had everything configured so she understood how it worked. Tightened the spam settings and generally made her email more efficient.
• Carol is a reader but spends her summers at camp (Maine term for cottage) with excellent internet coverage but no libraries near by. She had purchased and read other books online but wanted to learn how to access books from her home library and use her iPad as a reader. We found the Bangor Public Library website, entered her library card number, found the source for ebooks, and Carol’s summer reading was ready to go.
• Software updates are essential even though I’ve listed it here under smaller issues. Your Apple device should inform you when it is time to update the operating system but you should know where this is located and how to do it. Go to SETTINGS>GENERAL>SOFTWARE UPDATE and simply follow the directions. You may also see a red circle with numbers in it on the App Store app on your homepage. The red circle tells you that you have one or more apps that also need to be updated. Here’s why it is so important…”updates contain important changes to improve the performance, stability and security of the applications that run on your computer. Installing them ensures that your software continues to run safely and efficiently.”