If you’re celebrating Father’s Day by gifting an elderly person an iPad, Octa has a few tips. Read on to make sure you select the right model. Once you have the iPad in hand, set up a few basics. By optimizing the iPad for the elderly, you’ll help make sure the experience is a success.
Selecting a Model:
The criteria you use for selecting an iPad for your elderly recipient will rely on how you believe they’ll use the device. However, some general guidelines apply. The model we prefer is the 16 GB, 3G iPad 2.
• Wi-Fi versus 3G:
Two criteria should be considered when selecting between a wi-fi and a 3G iPad. First, does your elderly person have wi-fi at home? And, second, how mobile is he? Having to set wi-fi up could be a deal breaker. The average service costs $60 a month, and using it effectively requires understanding of modems and passwords. Selecting a 3G model can avoid this headache.
If your elderly recipient travels regularly, you may want to default to a 3G model. Imagine having to wrest the wi-fi password from the tiki bar bartender at every pool in Arizona. It’s a painful adventure, even for the tech savvy. Spare the elderly.
It’s worth noting, however, that without wi-fi, grandpa will not be able to use Facetime. Download Skype to circumvent this problem, but be advised: Skype is significantly more difficult to use than Facetime.
• iPad 2 or New iPad:
Choosing a model with a camera is critical, if you want your recipient to be able to Skype or Facetime with their family. That puts getting a used, original iPad out of the question. The iPad 2 has a great camera, and the camera on the new iPad is even better.
If you want to load grandpa’s iPad up with movies, you should choose a larger model. Otherwise, select a 16 GB model. After uploading 1000s of family photos, you’ll find that you won’t have used a fraction of a 16 GB iPad’s available space. In the future, you can always help your loved ones subscribe to a streaming video service like Netflix or Hulu. (See Please Turn On Your iPhone, iPad or Laptop for the Movie.)
• Selecting a Data Plan:
AT&T offers two data plans, the smaller of which offers something like 250 MB a month for $15. This is a sufficient amount of data for reading email. However, if your elderly recipient is going to watch streaming video or use Skype, get them the larger package, which offers ten times as much data for $30 a month.
Setting Up the Basics:
• Set Them Up With Email:
If your loved one doesn’t have an email account yet, set them up with a Gmail account. They’re free and highly functional. When you set up the iPad initially, you will be given an option to input the email address for the recipient. An advantage of Gmail is that the iPad can add the account to the mail application automatically, without any special configuration. Other accounts (like those linked to privately held domains, can be trickier.) Remember to keep grandpa’s password! He may need to ask you for it later.
• Set Them Up With an iTunes Account:
Give grandpa a break and set his iTunes account up for him. This step can be confusing for someone who has never had to register for anything online. Remember to provide grandpa his password and save a copy for your own record keeping.
It can be scary to give out credit card information, especially if that credit card belongs to someone older than digital money. It’s possible to set up grandpa’s account without giving out his (or your) credit card. When you first set up the iPad, you’ll be guided through the account creation process. Near the end, you’ll be asked to select a payment option. Just select “None.” He’ll still be able to download free apps.
Now, buy grandpa an iTunes gift card. We suggest $15.00. When he finds a paid app he wants, he can scroll to the bottom of the iTunes Store app and click “Redeem.” He’ll enter the code for the gift card and will be able to download purchases. You can even enter the gift card code for him, in advance!
Later on, you’ll also be able to gift grandpa apps. This is a way you can slowly introduce him to more apps. Remember, the goal is not to overwhelm him at the beginning, and sending him an iPad loaded with dozens of apps may very well do that. To gift someone an app, simply select the app in the App Store on your iPhone or iPad (or in iTunes, if you’re using a computer) and click “Gift This App.” They’ll get an email with a link inside. They’ll need to enter the password to their iTunes account to finish the download. You can’t gift a free app, but you can use the “Tell a Friend” button to suggest it to grandpa the same way.
Optimize the Settings:
• Change the Notification Settings:
This is the single most important thing you can do to make the iPad usable. Go to iPad “Settings” and click “Notifications.” Most apps seem to default to the “Banner” style of alert. A banner is just a little blue bar at the top of the iPad that appears and rapidly disappears. When a Skype call comes in, this type of “Alert” disappears so quickly that it’s impossible to answer a call. We recommend changing all notifications to “Alerts,” which pop up in the center of the screen and stay there until they’re dismissed. Also, make sure the alert “Sounds” are on for each app.
• Give Him an Easy-to-Use “Lock Rotation” Button:
The default setting for the iPad’s side switch is to serve as a mute button. However, it might be more useful to grandpa in its “lock rotation” function.
The iPad’s screen rotates with the orientation of the iPad. This is often useful, but sometimes the rotation becomes frustrating. Normally, to lock the rotation, grandpa would have to hit the home button twice and scroll backwards along the bottom of her screen to find the rotation lock. This is a fair amount of navigating for someone new to touch technology! Give him a break.
Go into iPad “Settings.” Click “General.” Scroll down to where you see “Use Side Switch to.” Select “Lock Rotation.”
Grandpa can still achieve a mute by manually pressing the “Volume Down” button several times, so he has not lost any functionality.
• Remove the Fear by Removing the “Delete App” Button:
Go into iPad “Settings.” Click “General.” Click “Enable Restrictions.” Set a four-digit restrictions passcode. Write it down somewhere safe. Under “Allow,” scroll down to “Deleting Apps.” Slide the blue button that says “On” to the “Off” position. Now, if your elderly loved on touches an app’s icon for too long, it will wiggle, but the “X” that deletes the app will not appear.
• Make It Easy on His Eyes with Big Font Settings:
Go into iPad “Settings.” Click “General.” Scroll down to “Accessibility.” Click “Large Text” and you’ll be able to set a font size. Be careful not to pick a size that’s too big, otherwise auto-generated emails (like newsletters) make look strange. You may want to try a few different sizes and preview them on the iPad.
• Change The Lock Screen Image To a Slideshow:
Just hit the flower icon to the right of the unlock slider. When the icon is blue, the user will see a slideshow when the iPad is locked. This is a nice touch if you’ve put family photos on the iPad.
Download Some Apps:
Download some apps, but remember not to download too many. These apps tend to be popular with the elderly.
- Google Earth
There is also a good argument for downloading each of these apps, but be sure to gauge your loved one’s confidence first.
- Words With Friends
Let us know how your experiment goes! We’re here to answer questions and take suggestions. Enjoy!