Simple iPhone Tips to Teach Your Parents

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My parents are very intelligent, a teacher and an attorney. Mom reads at a million words a minute, and Dad can fix absolutely anything, just by tinkering with it for a bit. Their smartphones, however, appear to be tricky. Enter moi.

 First and Foremost

Now, I’m not exactly “tech savvy,” but my iPhone 5s is user-friendly, and I can figure things out with a little playing around and some trial and error. The first thing I taught my parents about their fancy new phones was not to be afraid of them. While intimidating at first, smartphones are devices, meant to be handled and acclimated into your personal, daily life. Use them in the best way for you.

Once that was settled we had a little talk about protection. I’m a bit of a klutz, myself, which may or may not be genetic … OtterBox to the rescue. Dad is currently rocking the Symmetry Series in Triangle Grey – it fits in his front pocket and is classically subtle, just like him. Mom has the Commuter Series Wallet, which greatly decreases the necessity of a ridiculously oversized handbag.


While perhaps not for everyone, emoticons can be quite fun. Mom is especially fond of them (she even signs each text with a watermelon – it’s awesome). I showed her how she could access these delightful characters by simply changing her iPhone keyboard – no app necessary:

Settings → Keyboard → Keyboards → Emoji → Ta da!


Quick Tips

Whenever I stumble upon an easy, quick usage tip I text it over to my parents. For instance, after turning your flashlight on you can turn it off with the camera button:

After accessing your control center by swiping up from above the home button, turn your flashlight on. When you’re finished with the function (your phone will still be locked and the screen will be dark again) just press your home button and touch the camera icon that appears on the right. Enter darkness.

To help extend the battery life of their iPhones I showed my parents how to completely close out of their apps, so they wouldn’t be running in the background all the time:

Press your home button twice so all of your open apps appear in a horizontal, swipeable line. Lightly touch each app and swipe upwards – it will magically disappear.

Check out more battery extending tips here.

Just for Fun

I love that iPhone has Facetime. Instead of just calling my parents I can chat with them face-to-face (kind of), which can be hilarious. I chatted with my mom from New Orleans so she could see the weird, fantastically colorful parade I was at. Facetime with my dad finds him in the garage working on one of a hundred bicycles, or – if I’m lucky – out for a ride on a gorgeous Colorado day. It’s a lovely way to connect.


This is one of my favorite apps right now, and I’ve personally installed it on my parents’ phones. The app is free and easy to use, and my parents send random pictures and videos of their day – work, roadtripping home to Iowa, my brothers being … brothers, everything. I love it.

There are loads of other things to show my parents about their iPhones, and as the need arises I teach. Sometimes I have to research something first before I instruct them, but don’t tell my parents.

About the author

Alison Quinn

Alison Quinn

Travel and adventure are my favorite. Then reading and laughing and writing. And dancing! Wine, too. And music-definitely music. I think October is a quite superior time of year, and I always have glitter pens handy.

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