11 Ways You Can Help Your Grandparents with Technology

Here’s a nice thing you can do for your grandparents (or older relatives) in your life: help them with their technology. Set up backups, figure out password managers, make sure updates are automatic. Yes, there are some older adults who are very tech-savvy and won’t need this kind of help—but many aren’t, and they’d love the help.

Clean Out Their Phones, Tablets, & Computers

Help your grandparents delete apps and programs they don’t use anymore. Zombie apps accumulating on phones and other devices is a problem everyone faces to some degree, but if your grandparents aren’t technologically savvy, they may not know how to get rid of this stuff. While you’re at it, you can help them sort out their home screen to make it easier to navigate.

Update Everything

While you’re going through their devices, make sure everything (especially security!) is updated. If possible, help them set it up such that their devices auto-update.

Go Over Privacy Permissions & Security

Check the security settings on all their devices. Aside from making sure that security features auto-update, go over each of the security features such as controlling app tracking and privacy settings for websites.

Check Their Social Media Privacy & Security

Go on Facebook and run through their Privacy Checkup. Make sure your grandparents understand what the whole world can see versus what only their friends can see. Do this with all their social media accounts.

Set Them Up with a Password Manager

As we’ve said before, password managers are a good way to control all your passwords from one place. We all have too many passwords, so you can imagine how your grandparents might have a hard time with that. Well, you can make life easy for them by getting them one password to access everything.

Track Devices

Apple has Find My iPhone and Android has Android Device Manager. Set these up so that you can help them find any misplaced devices.

Set Up Backups for Phones & Tablets

If your grandparents are anything like the ones we know, there are about ten thousand pictures of grandkids (and nephews, nieces, great-grandchildren, etc.) on their devices along with the usual important stuff such as emails and account information. Ensure it’s all backed up onto a cloud service such as iCloud or Google Drive. You can also show them how to make a physical backup onto their own computers.

Set Up Computer Backups

Speaking of computers, you can set your grandparents up with a digital backup (i.e., to the cloud) as well as an actual physical backup to an external hard drive. Set it up for them and make it work automatically.

Explain Guest Checkout

Some people are under the impression you always need to register an account to buy something online. Of course, many online stores have guest checkout. Explain to your grandparents that by using this option, they won’t have to keep track of yet another online account or the password that goes with it, and that the online store won’t save any of their information if they use guest checkout.

Put Yourself on Their Accounts

If you’re close and they’d like some additional help, you could always either give yourself access to their online accounts, set it up such that you’re notified about their online purchases, or make your email their backup email. Obviously this requires a lot of trust, but some grandparents may welcome an extra pair of eyes keeping them safe.

Put Their Emergency Information on Their Phone’s Lock Screen

Both Android and iPhone have a feature where you can put emergency information on their lock screens. This information can help first responders by displaying critical information—and it can help a Good Samaritan find the owner of a lost phone. If there’s one thing you should do for the non-tech-savvy people you love, it’s this. And set it up on your own phone too. Doesn’t hurt to be prepared, right?