A Smartphone is More than just a Phone

A Smartphone is More than just a Phone

What can you do with your smartphone? Do you even know?

Just the other day, I visited a couple who hired me to come to their home and help them with some technology issues they were having. They had new smartphones that they couldn’t figure out how to get set up. They also needed help with various things with their Chromebook. And they needed to know how to change the fonts on a letter in Word on their desktop. Both people were in their late 70’s I’d imagine and very intelligent.
I asked them, “What do you want to be able to do with your cell phone?” The husband says, “Oh we just want to be able to make a phone call”. I looked at him point-blank and asked, “Then why did you get a smartphone?” The wife pipes up and says, “No no – if we are going to have smartphones, we should learn to use them for more than that!” Smart woman! We spent two hours at their home speed learning. They wanted to know everything! I got their cell phones set up and we were off!


First order of agenda – How to make a phone call. Then on to texting. Then how to add contacts to their new phone. Then on to how to take pictures and add them to a text. Wait! I thought you just wanted to make a phone call???
What people don’t realize is that in order to use a smartphone, whether that is an android or an iPhone, there are certain steps you have to do first to get these set up. For instance, if you are setting up an android device, you need a Gmail account. Almost all applications you load on your phone or tablet are tied to this email. That’s the hitch that the phone company didn’t tell these people when they sat on the phone with them for an hour and a half!


Once we got the basics down, we steered towards a few safety issues. I had to make sure they knew how to update their phones. This is important because not only does the cell phone company send out updates for your particular phone to fix any security issues such as holes that hackers can break into, but also app companies send out updates to keep your apps safe as well.

Some of you may be thinking, “It’s just a cell phone … How can all of this be relevant?” Today, cell phones are a part of life. They have technology that far surpasses computers of the ’70s, 80’s and even 90’s. They store our personal information, our banking information, credit cards, and the names and addresses of our loved ones. Yes, it’s important to make sure that you know how to update your phone and apps if you are going to use modern technology. And it can be a little bit of a hassle to learn. But I promise you the benefits far outweigh the negatives.


Your mind might be racing by now. You are wondering if you need a smartphone or tablet. How many of you still have flip phones? How many of you get teased by younger generations for still having flip phones?


The rest of you may be wondering if you’ve updated your phone lately. You probably didn’t even realize you needed to. Some of you may be rolling your eyes and saying “Yep! I knew all this!” Believe it or not, I have clients from the ages of 50 up to 93! And my 93-year-old client has asked me questions that have stumped me! It just proves that you are never too old to learn how to use technology.


So back to my story to finish up – the couple I was just talking about? I knew they traveled a lot. They used to work for an airline. I mentioned Google maps and suddenly a light goes on again. Can we use this in other countries? We are suddenly speed learning google maps!

Smartphones are more than a phone when traveling

Two hours later, it’s time for me to go and the wife explains that she’s embarrassed that they don’t have enough cash to pay me. She says “I can write you a check for all of it, I can write you a check for part of it and give you the majority in cash, or you can follow one of us to the ATM”. I told her there’s no need to be embarrassed and to give me the cash and write me a check for the rest. She can’t seem to get past being upset about this though, so I whipped out my personal cell phone and told them to watch. I opened my bank app, took a picture of the front of their check, a picture of the back, punched in a few numbers, and BAM! Their money was now in my bank account. There was no inconvenience of me having to go to the bank at all. It took less than a minute.
What else would you like to be able to do on your cell phone? Let me know!

About The HIP Senior Staff

The owner of OnlineTechLessons and Publisher and Editor of The Hip Senior. Native Ohioan and world traveler.

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