How to set up an Android phone for your parents

Summary: If you're parents are keen to get into a new smartphone, here are some tips to make it as easy for them to use it everyday as possible.

By |

Being tech savvy can introduce you to a world of information and entertainment that was unimaginable a few decades ago. But it can also relegate you to the status of '24x7 tech support' within your family.

So, it is not uncommon to feel some trepidation before introducing a less tech literate parent to a new smartphone, especially an Android model. Here are our tips for setting up a new Android for Mum or Dad in a way that should minimise too many extra questions down the road.

1. Can the bloatware

When you look at a new phone, you probably don't see the bloatware the way your patents will. While you mentally block it out, they see an overwhelming collection of coloured icons and baffling widgets. We recommend you remove as much of this as possible.

Remove home screen widgets and app shortcuts by long-pressing on them and moving them to the Trash Can icon. The specifics of this tip may vary from phone to phone, so play around a bit.

Also,hide apps in the app drawer. You can't delete any of the apps that come pre-installed on a new phone (like Telco apps) but many Android systems let you 'hide' apps, so they are not visible in your collection.

Go to the App Drawer and press [Menu], look for a [Hide Applications] in the options. If it's there, use it to make tools your parents won't use invisible.

2. Fewer home screens

Out of the box, many Android phones start with as many as five visible home screens that you can swipe between. If you think this is a recipe for confusion, consider delete a few, or most, of them.

  • On a home screen simply press [Menu} then [Add or Remove page].
  • Long-press on redundant pages and drag them to the bin.

3. Design the perfect home screen for Mum or Dad

Now that the superfluous bloatware is gone, start to build up a really useful home screen for the person who owns the phone. Nearly all Android phones comes with a static task bar along the bottom with shortcuts to the Phone Dialler, Contacts, Messages and the Web Browser, so you won't need to worry about these.

The goal is to build up a complete one-page approach to the phone, covering as much of their needs and interests as possible. Perhaps build a collection of shortcuts based on the following:

  • Contact Shortcuts - there are 3 options for a contact shortcut under the widgets menu, you can link to the contact's information, you can have a button that directly dials them, or you can have a button which launches a new text message to them.
  • Web browser shortcuts - while your parents are getting used to using the web browser on the phone, consider introducing them to the Google Search bar widget as a one-stop place to begin browsing.
  • Camera and Gallery shortcuts. Grandparents plus grandchildren: need we say more?

4. Add a utility home screen

One you have the basics laid out on the central home screen, you could consider adding a second screen with a few useful widgets.

  • Add a photo gallery widget to show off pics of those special people
  • A sticky notes widget for quick reminders. If there isn't one on the phone already, there is a dozen to choose from on the Play Store.
  • A Calendar widget if your parents are used to using the calendar for reminders
  • A widget for a favourite news service, like Flipboard or Feedly
  • Android has a pretty useful Browser Bookmarks widget, which takes up about half of a screen and is scrollable. This is a good option for a web browsing parent.
  • A data monitor widget/shortcut. Your parents may not be tech savvy, but they should understand how to monitor their phone usage. Most big telcos have apps for this now, with widgets you can sit on a homescreen.

Battery Management

One thing you should try and do with your parent's phone, is set it up to be as power efficient as possible for them.

Phones from Samsung, HTC and Sony all have 'power saving' tools which you can find in the core system settings. Switch these on to help the battery last a bit longer between charges.

Also, set the screen brightness to a level which is as low as it can be and still easily readable.


Tagged:


News by Topic

Phone Reviews

Featured

T-Mobile vs Sprint: Family plan feud

T-Mobile vs Sprint: Family plan feud

If you're looking to get a single plan to cover your household, you have plenty...

Best Verizon phones: updated list

Best Verizon phones: updated list

Verizon has the largest 4G network in the US, as well as the most subscribers....

Wi-Fi calling: who offers it and why you really want it

Wi-Fi calling: who offers it and why you really want it

If you're struggling to get bars on your cell phone network, you are a perfect...

 

Related News

Verizon, please don't launch an app store

Verizon, please don't launch an app store

Verizon Wireless is rumored to be launching its own app store for Android...

Facebook's least-popular mobile change draws near, chat set to be canned

Facebook's least-popular mobile change draws near, chat set to be canned

Pretty soon you'll have to use the Facebook Messenger app, because you won't be...

Amazon jumps on the mobile payment train with Amazon Wallet

Amazon jumps on the mobile payment train with Amazon Wallet

Now in the US you can access your Amazon gift cards, loyalty cards and...

The Destiny companion app looks oh so cool

The Destiny companion app looks oh so cool

Second screen integration is definitely something we didn't see enough of at...

Sprint's LivePro: a hotspot, projector and Android device all in one

Sprint's LivePro: a hotspot, projector and Android device all in one

​Sprint has announced the release of a new and intriguing mobile hotspot that...

Take flash selfies with Sony's newest phone

Take flash selfies with Sony's newest phone

Finally, a phone that lets you take selfies in the dark.

 

Guides

Listen to Podcasts easily on Android

Listen to Podcasts easily on Android

Android isn't great with podcast accessibility. Luckily, there's an app for...

An easy trick to make apps go faster on your Android

An easy trick to make apps go faster on your Android

Switching to ART runtime mode can be a good way to speed up your apps.

Disable WiFi scanning to extend battery life, for Android

Disable WiFi scanning to extend battery life, for Android

You don't have to completely disable WiFi to save battery life on Android.

How to find and use Emoji on your Android or iPhone

How to find and use Emoji on your Android or iPhone

Tired of sending messages using boring old words? Your phone probably has a...

How to change default apps in Android

How to change default apps in Android

Stuck using a sub-par 'default' application? We'll show you how to clear your...

How to set location-based reminders on your cell phone

How to set location-based reminders on your cell phone

Your phone can send you a reminder at a certain time or date, but you can also...

 

Compare phones & plans from the following carriers...

Sprint Cell Phone Plans Virgin Mobile Cell Phone Plans MetroPCS Cell Phone Plans Cricket Cell Phone Plans Straight Talk Cell Phone Plans U.S. Cellular Cell Phone Plans
T-Mobile Cell Phone Plans Republic Wireless Cell Phone Plans AmazonWireless Cell Phone Plans Ting Cell Phone Plans Boost Mobile Cell Phone Plans Red Pocket Cell Phone Plans
Verizon Wireless Cell Phone Plans AT&T Cell Phone Plans
 

Cell Phone Deals

How to Compare Family Plans

How to Compare Family Plans

Step by Step guide on how to compare family plans

NEW Samsung GALAXY S5 - Compare Plans and Prices

NEW Samsung GALAXY S5 - Compare Plans and Prices

Compare plans from all carriers on the new Galaxy S5

NEW HTC One M8 - Compare Plans and Prices

NEW HTC One M8 - Compare Plans and Prices

Compare plans from all carriers for the new HTC One M8

Compare Share and Family Plans for 2 or more lines

Compare Share and Family Plans for 2 or more lines

Compare multi-line share plans for all phones and payment options