Setting up an iPod touch for 65 year old mother. Need tips and app/podcast suggestions!
January 13, 2011 4:23 PM   Subscribe

iPod Touch for mother-in-law. We've just decided to give my partner's mother an iPod Touch, and need your suggestions for apps and podcasts. She is a 65 year old woman, travels often, takes care of her grandson sometimes, and is new to all iPod technology. We also need your tips on how to set it up from afar tonight, and help her with the inevitable questions down the road.

I've never had an iPod touch or iPad or iPhone, so I'm new to the app world, but very Apple-fluent. We're doing this in a very short timeframe so all of your tips and suggestions would be much appreciated!

App & podcast suggestions:
- she is Catholic and would love related content
- she travels often, within the US
- she likes to read although I'm not sure how much that will happen here
- Sudoko type games
- games for her grandchild - 2.5 year old boy. She often visits him and does some caretaking, and I bet the ipod will be great for some entertainment and reading games.
- she does mostly low-carb eating and might enjoy some kind of cooking-related app that is especially well-suited

Logistics:

1. I am setting this iPod up from my Mac. I'd like to pre-load it with apps and podcasts and have her be able to add more from her PC later. I won't sync it to my computer. If she later syncs it to her computer, will those apps be a problem? Or will they just happily stay on her iPod and she can add other things down the road?

2. What are some tips that I can print out for her? I'm going through the User Guide and copying the most important info (turning on, typing, connecting to wifi, adding apps). What frequent problems have you seen in new iPod users? Literally any kind of advice here would be very welcome.

Thanks!
posted by barnone to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I believe the main problem that you're going to have is that you're going to want Podcasts, new Apps etc. to update automatically onto her iPod Touch, which means that the iPod will need to be set up with automatic syncing. Which means that it needs to be set up on her PC (this is unless of course she has WiFi, in which case both of these things can update without any need for sync).

If she doesn't have WiFi, you might need to talk her through setting it all up over the phone - in which case your best bet would be to gift her the apps once she's got it up and running.
posted by djgh at 4:48 PM on January 13, 2011


If she later syncs it to her computer, will those apps be a problem? Or will they just happily stay on her iPod and she can add other things down the road?

So you download apps directly to the device and then hand it to your grandmother. She should have no problem also downloading apps directly to the device going forward. You'll either set her up on your existing iTunes account or you'll create a new account for your grandmother.

Either way, grandma gets an iPod with apps on it. Yay! When she's ready to add a new app, she just goes to the app store, clicks on the app she wants, and then enters the password for the iTunes account that is set up on the device (yours, hers, whatever).

If grandma wants to download the app to a computer first, then what she'll do is download the app, then connect the device. In iTunes, she can click on File-->Transfer Purchases, which will then prompt her to authorize the computer for those items (basically she enters the password for the account which you used to download the apps originally). The apps will then transfer to her computer. Then she can sync whatever apps she likes from her computer to her iPod. See also: Syncing and arranging apps from the App Store.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:00 PM on January 13, 2011


My Mother (age 63) LOVED playing Words With Friends on an iPod Touch.

Mostly she played my sister (has iPhone), along with the moves in the "scrabble" game you can also leave brief messages along with them. It was a great way for them to keep in touch.

She tried a few Bridge games, but didn't find any she really loved.
posted by artlung at 5:09 PM on January 13, 2011


Good point about the updates. My partner is taking it to her house tomorrow, so she can set up the syncing on her mother's iTunes for specific podcasts. She doesn't have wifi at home, but will in some of the houses she regularly visits. So I assume some of the updates will happen when she's got the wifi running.
posted by barnone at 5:09 PM on January 13, 2011


If your going to spring for an Ipod Touch, you might pay a little more and get an Ipad. It would really come in handy as she gets older and needs to view text and do banking decisions. I am considering getting one for my own grandmother, who is 97 and enjoys bridge and mystery novels in French.
posted by parmanparman at 5:16 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you set it up at the mother's house, the WiFi isn't necessary for the updates - she can get updates via iTunes, and if you set up automatic sync they'll go across without any input required. I find it best to do all updates via iTunes (even though I've got WiFi) because transferring stuff from the iPod to the computer isn't always flawless (I have found this to be especially so if I have bought apps on the iPod).

My suggestion:
- Set her up with an iTunes account
- Show her how to navigate the iTunes store
- Subscribe to some podcasts
- Set up the iPod, selecting the auto-sync option
- Gift her some apps
posted by djgh at 5:18 PM on January 13, 2011


If your going to spring for an Ipod Touch, you might pay a little more and get an Ipad.

We'll probably get her a new iPad later this year, but we've got a free iPod touch sitting here and thought it would be a good start. I know the larger form is better - we got my 90 year old grandma an iPad and she loves it. Mom-in-law is only in her early 60s and the iPod size won't be too horrible at the moment.

Thanks for the connection tips!
posted by barnone at 5:29 PM on January 13, 2011


iMissal is excellent as is iRosary. My 85 year old mother was able to figure out iMissal with very little help. The Catholic Cheat Sheet is also pretty good.
posted by Rob Rockets at 6:00 PM on January 13, 2011


Ooooh, I love this stuff. I'm going through my phone now for suggestions!

Words with Friends is a GREAT app. There's also Chess with Friends, which is less popular but still fun...for people who like chess.

I really like WeatherHD for weather (it just shows a pretty picture and the forecast for the locations you give it).

I like USA Today AutoPilot, which is a cool travel app. You can put in your travel itinerary and it will check for delays and such. It also has a directory of airline phone numbers and hotels etc.

For going out and fun stuff, I like Fandango for movies (I don't buy just lookup showtimes), OpenTable for reservations, Yelp! for other restaurant ideas and Starbucks for my need a fix moments.

If she's a subscriber to Hulu+ or Netflix, their apps are pretty good. If she can keep her grandchild entertained with those while she cooks or does whatever. I've passed my phone to my nephew while I'm driving to keep him occupied with some Spongebob or something.

I'm assuming you're getting her the new iPod Touch with camera. If so, Skype is an awesome must-have. It's more universal than FaceTime.

Book apps: iBooks, Kindle, nook, Classics - all do pretty much the same thing

Food apps: AllRecipes, Food Network, Epicurious (best bet), Whole Foods (exports recipes to a checkable shopping list!)

My nephew loves DoodleJump, Plants vs Zombies, and Bubble Wrap. He's only 4 so he can't play a lot of the games yet (no motor control). Kids also seem to love Pocket Frogs.

Games I like: Yahtzee Adventures (just like the game you remember), Battleship (same), Flight Control, Zen Bound 2

From what I've seen, most older folks tend to like their iPod Touch stock features (e-mail, stocks, notes, voice memos) and don't download a lot of apps.

If she's anxious about the new tech (some people are) - your friendly neighborhood Apple Store has free workshops for iPod+iTunes (so how to sync, etc) and iPhone (the interface is the same so she can easily sit in on this one). You can find the schedule at apple.com/retail

Support articles she might find helpful:
Syncing to and from your computer
Updating, Backing Up, and Restoring
How to Sync with iTunes (video)

Hope she enjoys it!
posted by katybird at 6:32 PM on January 13, 2011


I may suggest buying a $25 (or so) iTunes gift card and adding it to her account. My mom was squeamish about providing her credit card to iTines, and knowing there was free cash available, she had fun buying some paid apps and even music.
posted by unlapsing at 6:54 PM on January 13, 2011


Seconding the gift cards - I gave my mom an iTouch for Christmas, and she is much more comfortable buying stuff through the store (apps, books, or music) via gift cards than giving her credit card info out.
posted by BZArcher at 8:14 PM on January 13, 2011


My mom is 67 and when I got my iPod Touch, she played with it a little and had to have one for herself. Now when we go out to eat, she's the one playing with it at the dinner table! Ha!

My mom mostly gets her apps by trying out mine and seeing what she likes. Every once in a while she'll ask me if I've got any new apps she can try out.

One important thing, if she goes looking for popular games like my mom did (Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Life, etc), is to always read the app reviews in the app store. Some of them are pretty bad. She really likes Bookworm, Bejeweled, Peggle...

Yes, she does prefer to use gift cards as well, rather than a credit card. (Which is good because her account is linked to my credit card!)

I don't know about reading on it... I have the Kindle app with some of their free classics (Great Expectations and the like) and I think my mom said the text was too small. I haven't really looked to see if you can make the text bigger, but on that small a screen, making the text bigger is going to result in a whole lot more scrolling.

If she's going to play music on it, the one problem my mom had was when you get to the Now Playing screen, my mom didn't know how to get back to the screen where you could choose songs. (If you hit the Home button and tap the music app again, it still goes to Now Playing.) I had to show her the little back button on the upper left side of the screen.

When she goes out or is not actively using Wifi, she'll probably want to turn Wifi off as it will drain the battery. I know my old router would let the wireless connection go dormant when my iPod was "asleep," but my new router keeps a connection and it drains my battery down in 4-6 hours.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:38 PM on January 13, 2011


^She doesn't have wifi at home, but will in some of the houses she regularly visits. So I assume some of the updates will happen when she's got the wifi running.

I'm almost 100% sure this is not true. Updates only happen when the iPod Touch is either a) connected to a PC that has already downloaded the app & iOS updates or b) connected to the internet over wifi when you click on the app store icon and choose manually download app updates.
posted by polexa at 12:29 AM on January 14, 2011


polexa: "^She doesn't have wifi at home, but will in some of the houses she regularly visits. So I assume some of the updates will happen when she's got the wifi running.I'm almost 100% sure this is not true. Updates only happen when the iPod Touch is either a) connected to a PC that has already downloaded the app & iOS updates or b) connected to the internet over wifi when you click on the app store icon and choose manually download app updates."

Yeah, in order to update apps, you have to manually go to the app store and choose to update them. It should give you a notification that there are updates available when you connect to wifi, though. (Or at least a little number balloon on the app store icon)
posted by Gordafarin at 3:11 AM on January 14, 2011


There's a good set of Catholic podcasts at SQPN.com. Unfortunately, they've recently redone their website, and, while it's pretty and easy to navigate to to find episodes to listen to online, you have to navigate to an episode to find the iTunes link.

Otherwise, search for 'SQPN' in the iTunes store.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:38 AM on January 14, 2011


Thanks everyone! We loaded it up with some Catholic apps, weather apps, Kayak, NYT, some Sudoko apps and some for her grandkid. We put in a bunch of contacts and will definitely give her some kind of gift card, or just attach her account to our credit card. Go Go Gadget!
posted by barnone at 4:04 PM on January 14, 2011


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