smartphonePopular culture often portrays technology users as young people, but with the rise of smartphones, technology use among older Americans is growing. At the end of 2016, 60.7 percent of baby boomers owned a smartphone, a number that climbed past 70 percent among boomers in the 50 to 59 age bracket, according to AARP. Nearly as many boomers own laptops, and over half use desktops. Senior technology users employ their smartphones for applications such as checking email, getting driving directions and traffic updates, reading the news, and surfing the internet. As smartphone applications have grown more popular among seniors and other age groups, technology has grown more user-friendly. Here’s a look at some of the popular technology applications that are easiest for seniors to learn and use.

Smartphones

While smartphones such as the Apple iPhone 7 can perform many tasks, their most basic function is still making phone calls. When you purchase a smartphone, you will need to set up service with a wireless carrier in order to be able to use it. Most wireless carriers sell phones along with service plans and can assist you in getting your service set up; this involves going through an activation process.

After you set up your service, you should set up your phone. This includes selecting security log-in features to prevent unauthorized use of your phone. With most phones, you can choose between log-in options such as using a passcode, selecting a distinctive gesture to open your phone or identifying your fingerprint or facial image. You can also set up an email account and login so that your phone carrier can send you notifications about your bill and other important information. One other feature you should activate is an option that enables you to remotely wipe your phone of data in the event it is lost or stolen. This can protect sensitive personal or financial data you have stored on your phone.

While you are setting up these basics, you should learn how to navigate your phone and how to type text on your screen. You can then explore more advanced features. These include shortcuts for accessing your favorite apps, learning how to use different apps and understanding the different buttons on your phone.

Digital Cameras

One smartphone feature you will probably want to learn how to use is your phone’s digital camera. Most of today’s popular smartphones come with excellent built-in cameras. In fact, for many buyers, a phone’s camera is its most important feature.

Smartphone cameras are designed to be easy-to-use for beginners but feature-rich enough to satisfy advanced photography users. Today’s phones have options for both still photography and video photography. You can usually flip your phone’s camera between taking shots of objects facing your camera and taking pictures of yourself. Advanced features let you perform functions such as automatically focusing, shooting in low-light conditions or adding special effects such as filters to your shots. You can also share your pictures with your family and friends through email or social media.

Digital Maps

One type of popular app that’s easy to use is a digital map app for driving and traveling. Apps such as Google Maps help you get around without needing to carry a physical map. You can find a map location by entering a location in a search field or by using your finger to indicate where on a map you want to focus. You can also get directions and distances from one location to others by entering in multiple locations. You can even search for nearby businesses such as gas stations, restaurants and theaters.

Web Browsing

Another popular smartphone use is web browsing. Most phones come with built-in web browser such as Apple’s Safari or Google Chrome for Android devices. You can also install the browser of your choice by going to the provider’s website. Once you have a browser installed, you can use it to search the internet and install your favorite apps, such as news apps or social media apps.

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