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New to Technology? Here’s How You Work Your Phone

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Pew Research Center statistics show that 4 out of 10 seniors over the age of 65 own a smartphone. For a demographic that didn’t grow up with tons of technology, that means many people out there might be struggling with some of the basic features of their phones. If you don’t have a patient grandchild who is willing to spend a few minutes showing you how to work your phone, use this guide as a tool to understand its basic features:

How to Setup Voicemail

Learning how to setup voicemail is one of the first things you should do with a new phone, as it will be what people hear when you don’t answer a phone call. Voicemail works differently than a landline phone, as you can’t pick up in the middle of the message to talk to the person. Therefore, you need to check it regularly.

Voicemail varies a little between carriers, but on a T-Mobile phone, all you have to do is press and hold one from the dialer on your screen. The phone will automatically call your voicemail number and then ask you for a pass code. When logging in for the first time, just type in the last four digits of your phone number. You’ll then be prompted to create a new pass code between four to seven numbers long. After, you’ll be prompted to record a greeting.

Finally, your voicemail setup is complete, and you’re ready to start getting messages. To check it later, just press one from the dialer again.

How to Send a Text Message

Many seniors are turning to texting to get their messages across, with an average of 244 texts being received and 247 texts being sent in the 55 and over age group, according to Business Insider information. Texting can be tricky, especially if you haven’t done a lot of typing on a cellphone. However, it’s generally the same on every device. There are two types of messages — short message service (SMS) and multimedia messaging service (MMS). SMS is just text, while an MMS can include pictures or emojis. On newer phones, there is no character limit; however, on older phones, the limit per message is 160 characters.

To begin, click on the messaging app on your phone’s home screen, which typically looks like an envelope. Next, you’ll have to choose the new message feature, which looks like a notepad with a pen on the Android system. Add your recipient’s number, and then type your message below. Hit send, and your message will be delivered almost instantly.

How to Use Social Media Apps

The Pew Research Center estimates that about one in three seniors uses social media. If you’re one of them, you’ll need to learn how to access apps like Facebook and Twitter on your phone. This will involve going to the Google Play Store on Android or the App Store on Apple. Find the icon on your phone and click on it. Then, in the search box, type in the name of the social media network you’d like to use. In the results, click the item and hit download.

Once the app has installed, all you have to do is click on it and sign in to your account. You’ll instantly have access to your photos, friends, and likes — just like you do on a computer or tablet.

Of course, these aren’t the only features you’ll need to learn how to use on your phone. However, they are some of the most relevant. Once you get these down, you’ll have no problem learning more about your phone’s other capabilities.

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