There's an app for everything. That may be an exaggeration but, before we get down to the topic of the best iPhone apps for seniors, check out these amusing apps I discovered in my research:
- Spirit Story Box: Ghost Hunting Tool. The purpose? The app “speaks ghost” and will translate what all those ghosts around you are saying.
- Or, for those searching for reasons not to get up in the morning, there’s Demotivational Pics, displaying images to remind you just how awful life can be.
- I think my favorite – of the weirder apps, that is – is Carrr Matey, a car-finder app that gives the car-finder instructions using a pirate voice, because we could also use a little more “pirate voices” in our lives, right?
Since The Senior List is here to help, not merely entertain, the following 10 iPhone apps are highly-rated, practical and functional. Whether you want to keep abreast of current events, fire up some music to suit your mood, or communicate cost-effectively with those you care about, we found something for you.
Best iPhone Apps for Seniors
#1 Park ‘n’ Forget (Currently $0.99 per month)
If you’ve been driving for any length of time, at some point, you’ve forgotten where you parked your car. There are plenty of GPS-based car finding apps for iPhones, but Park ‘n’ Forget is at the top of the list, being easy to use and quite reliable. A mere click of icon and the app will time how long it takes you to get from your parked car to your destination, a fact that will be useful when it’s time to return to your car if you need to beat the parking police! Besides that, you can also use the app for the following:
- Enter a brief text description of the location of your car
- Take a photo of the car in its surroundings
- Set a parking time (whether all day, or a fixed time (car parks and parking meters)
- Select the color and level of the car park
- Record a short audio note
- The built-in map means the user doesn’t have to open and close the app to get the info they want
- Alerts can be set so the user is notified when the meter’s about to run out. (Remember: the app must be running so as track walking time, and then be able to send alerts.)
#2 Lumosity (Cost: Basic subscription free; other plans varry)
Even if you don’t believe that physical health and intellectual health go hand-in-hand, so to speak, do you really want to risk being wrong? It’s not unreasonable to think the use-it-or-lose-it philosophy applies to both body and brain. Regardless, “brain training” apps for iPhones and other handheld devices have become an enormous industry. Lumosity has been considered the leader of the pack for some time. The app bills itself as chock full o’ word games, brain twisters, memory games and puzzles of all kinds, meant to put your brain through an Olympic-grade mental workout. The Basic subscription is free, allowing the user limited access to content. To save you from having to set up an account just to see their fee schedule (the only way to do that, as I found out), I’ll post current prices below:
- BASIC subscription is FREE (limited number of games, etc.)
- INDIVIDUAL plans:
-Annual / Promotion price $4/month (annual payment $47.96) [Reg $5/month]
– Two-year / Promotion price $3/month (total $71.96) [Reg $3.75/month]
– Lifetime one-time payment / Promotion price $239.96 [Regular $299.95]
- Friends and Family Rate: $17.95/monthly
- Friends and Family Annual Rate/ Promotion price $6.70/month (total of $79.96)
- Two-year Friends and Family Plan/ Promotion price/ $5 per month (total of $119.96)
#3 Pandora (Cost: Free, Ad-free versions vary)
This online music service lets you hear the music you want, when you want it. As many of us know, the right music can help a person power up, mellow out, or get inspired. On Pandora, you get to create your own “stations” based on your favorite genre, artist, or specific song. Pandora then creates a playlist of music that it believes is either spot-on or in the same vein.
Like what you hear? Click the Thumbs Up icon, and Pandora will search out similar music for you. Don’t like it? There’s a Thumbs Down icon; click that and you’ll never hear that piece of music, or anything too similar, again, on that particular station. There are three membership levels: Pandora Free is free with commercial breaks which pop up every couple of songs. Pandora Plus gets you ad-free listening at $4.99 per month (the first 30 days are free), with higher quality audio, the ability to replay tracks, and a couple more perks. Pandora Premium, at $9.99 per month (first 60 days free) includes all the Pandora Plus benefits and is even more customizable.
#4 SKYPE (Cost: Free, plans up to $13.99 per month)
Have friends, family, business associates in foreign lands? The charges for long-distance, let alone international, calls can be downright painful. Skype, a popular alternative for several years now, not only reduces the cost of such calls but provides other options as well, including instant messaging and video conferencing. There’s no contract; a subscriber pays by the month, and can cancel at any time. Say you wanted to keep in touch with someone in China. Skype has six different deals, ranging from as little as $1.49 per month, giving you 100 minutes, usable on mobile or landline, to the most expensive deal, $13.99 per month, for the “World unlimited minutes.” You can also video chat – for free – over wireless Internet. There are, not surprisingly, some restrictions involved in the World unlimited package, but there’s little doubt this app is a great value.
#5 The Weather Channel (Free)
Another app that regularly shows up on lists of favorite iPhone apps is the Weather Channel, a proven and reliable source of information regarding current and upcoming weather, anywhere in the world. The app can also supply a pollen forecast. Additionally, this app tells you the UV forecast, can create a personalized weather report, and can keep track of your most-travelled routes and the weather you will encounter traveling them, plus a ton of other features that will keep you as informed as possible about the weather worldwide.
#6 WebMD (Free)
WebMD continues to be the go-to site for those who seek reliable, doctor-reviewed answers to health-related questions. Want to know what a given set of symptoms might mean, or what would be a dependable home remedy for an ailment? This is your app, though, to be clear, it is meant to help those who are waiting to get in to see their regular physician, not as a substitute for the same. The “Healthy Target” section allows you to set health goals (eating, exercise) and assists you in fulfilling these goals. Some have faulted the site for providing too much information, but better that than too little.
#7 MediSafe Medication Reminder (Free)
Making life simpler is a good thing. MediSafe Medication Reminder does just that, is easy to use, performs a plethora of functions, and is highly regarded by healthcare professionals. Besides reminding you when to take specific medications, or that you need to refill a prescription, this app can help you keep track of your blood glucose levels, blood pressure, weight, pulse, and temperature. This data can be saved and sent on to your doctor. Among the many other functions is the family notification option where, if the user’s alarm goes off but the user fails to record they have taken their meds, whoever that user chose beforehand will be informed, and can then check-in with the user to see if everything’s okay.
#8 Goodreads (Free)
The Goodreads app has been of immense use to both those who use it as a venue to share their opinion (via a review and a 1- to 5-star rating) about a given book as well as to those who want to know if a book will be worth the read, let alone the purchase price. If you find a review intriguing, you can click on that reviewer’s screen name to see what else they’ve commented on and then read those reviews, if you want. Any book Amazon sells can be critiqued and rated, so why not share your opinion with (potentially) millions of other readers?
#9 Find My iPhone (Free)
Losing your phone can be traumatic. There are other appropriate iPhone apps available, but FindMyiPhone (part of iCloud) stands out. If your phone goes missing, use Lost Mode to track it; if your phone is on, it will appear on the app’s map. The same mode allows you to remotely lock the phone, making it impossible for the thief to access your data. If you believe you will never be able to get the phone back, you can go so far as to completely erase all data. Both YouTube and Lifewire offer videos showing how to use this app.
#10 NPR One (Free)
NPR has long been a significant source of news, both national and international, as well as dispensing other programs, both entertaining and thought-provoking. (Anyone who hasn’t heard “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” or “Radio Lab” has not truly lived. Okay, that’s just my opinion.) Anyway, this updated version of the NPR app furnishes even broader array of pertinent stories, podcasts, and more. Conveniently, this app can be setup to notify you so you don’t miss an episode of a beloved show, and it lets you search for topics of interest.