Best techniques for FaceTime and photos for low tech relative

bag99001

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2015
111
71
Hello All

My family and I are moving out of state and I'm looking to get an affordable iPad for my mother in law who is very unsavy tech wise but would love to see photos and video chat to see her grand child.

I am trying to think of the simplest most fail proof way possible to setup an iPad mini (likely used original or maybe iPad mini 2) to setup photos from a shared album and FaceTime to video chat. There is wifi in the house and her husband can help once in a while if something goes completely wrong and is saavy enough I can talk him through setup over the phone (he has an iPhone). She will potentially be very lost if something goes wrong or is not brain-dead simple based on past history of trying to teach her to use a cell phone.

I've considered google photos with shared albums but the interface for shared albums on Apple photos looks easier for her potentially. Any issues you've experienced with older iOS devices and shared photo albums? Any issues with FaceTime specifically?

I can't seem to find any affordable remote setup options either for when something inevitably does go wrong. I will be living two hours away so I imagine seeing them and having access to update the device once in a while. I plan to set it up at her house before moving.

Thank you for any thoughts!
 

Badrottie

Suspended
May 8, 2011
4,317
333
Los Angeles
Does your mother in law have an iPhone? iPhone can do FaceTime and Apple photo sharing feature. When FaceTime is calling, all she have to do is click to answer then FaceTime will take care of it. Apple Photo sharing is very easy, Apple Photo will notify your mother in law when there is a new photos she will be able to find it with no problem.
 

bag99001

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2015
111
71
Does your mother in law have an iPhone? iPhone can do FaceTime and Apple photo sharing feature. When FaceTime is calling, all she have to do is click to answer then FaceTime will take care of it. Apple Photo sharing is very easy, Apple Photo will notify your mother in law when there is a new photos she will be able to find it with no problem.
No. She can't really handle it. She's the type that struggles with a flip phone :)

I can't emphasize enough how low tech and easily confused she gets. Her husband isn't a guarantee to always be helpful so trying to make this as brain dead simple as possible for her.
 

Jeeg

macrumors member
Feb 12, 2010
72
12
Have you considered getting the iPad yourself so you can set it up, and then just mail it to your mother in law?
I'd also consider taking some screenshots and make a quick manual of how to use the photo app and facetime app and printing them off and sending it with the ipad.
 

bag99001

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2015
111
71
Have you considered getting the iPad yourself so you can set it up, and then just mail it to your mother in law?
I'd also consider taking some screenshots and make a quick manual of how to use the photo app and facetime app and printing them off and sending it with the ipad.
The plan was definitely me setting it up first. We have a month until we move. Mostly I'm sure curious if anyone else has any experience doing this as I assume this isn't a totally unique situation. I think printing out a simple "Manual" of sorts is a very good idea. I might even laminate it for her :)

I'm trying to see the most affordable iPad I can get too if possible...I think an original iPad Mini might have some issues with Apple Photos eventually since it won't support new OS upgrades past iOS9 I think. I have considered an iPad 2 also but I think she'd do better with the smaller size.

I've looked at Gazelle and Swappa but never used them before for purchases. I have used Ebay. Any experience using those two or other good sources for used iPads? Should I go with the iPad Mini 2 or is the original acceptable?

If I knew she'd definitely use it I'd just buy her a new iPad Mini 2 direct from Apple with warranty but I worry she might not be able to handle even this simple a setup so don't want to invest too much if it is all for nothing.

Brett
 

bufffilm

Suspended
May 3, 2011
4,227
2,536
Setting up FaceTime is easy...the photos thing is harder.

Get a Mini2 at the minimum. Or the new iPad.
 
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profets

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
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While my mother in law doesn't live too far away, we set her up with an iPad mini some years back and she is really not savvy at all when it comes to technology. But it was for similar reasons - using FaceTime and seeing shared photos (on photostream). Actually we've done the same with my older grandparents who are close to 90 and have a language barrier as well. They could never understand how to use a computer but with the iPad they absolutely love seeing photos from all different family members and using FaceTime.

I'd try to stick with an iPad that has an A7 or newer. Previous ones really feel painfully slow to use.
 

Legendts

macrumors regular
Apr 3, 2012
178
85
Victoria Australia
I think printing out a simple "Manual" of sorts is a very good idea. I might even laminate it for her :)
I did this with my mother in law for using a DVD player/recorder which worked for her.

If I knew she'd definitely use it I'd just buy her a new iPad Mini 2 direct from Apple with warranty but I worry she might not be able to handle even this simple a setup so don't want to invest too much if it is all for nothing. Brett
You have probably done similar but have your simple manual and go through it with the practical side too. By that I mean use the iPad with her doing the steps and maybe a family member with an iPhone or another iPad and coach her through a practical session. This could make her feel more at ease using it.
 
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bosatsu

macrumors member
Dec 15, 2015
50
79
Tokyo
It may sound too much but for Facetime, if they have a big TV screen, I´d really recommend you the combo Apple TV + iPad.
If they learn how to AirPlay the iPad image in the TV screen, they will see you almost in real size.
I´m doing this with my family, sit down with them to teach them, having them to call me a couple of times while I was there with them, and it worked.

They sit down in the sofa, and they almost feel I´m there with them.
 
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Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
1,871
710
Hawaii, USA
Getting a Siri-capable device might simplify a few things, unless Siri absolutely can't understand her. That way, instead of messing around with trying to find an app or figure out what to press where, she can just use voice commands. It's probably easier to just give her a sheet with what verbal commands to use, too. "FaceTime call (name)" and "FaceTime audio call (name)" will handle the video and audio calls, and is a lot easier than trying to have her navigate the apps.

Unfortunately the photo-sharing isn't quite as easy... I have a shared photo album so that grandparents can see photos of my child, and they all do well with it, but for the sake of helping your mother-in-law I tried using Siri to get to it and couldn't find a good command for it. Siri can open Photos and seems to create a custom, temporary album based on the command (I think?), but won't get you into a shared album. Admittedly I don't find the shared albums to be the most straight-forward thing to navigate, either, as it seems to insist on making the first thing you see be the "activity" instead of just the photos (which is what people really want to see).

If you do go with another photo-hosting service, note that websites that are bookmarked can be placed onto the home screen as if they were apps. That way, your mother-in-law would just need to tap it to launch Safari loaded with the URL for your photo album. I don't have any particular suggestions as to what service to use for sharing photos or videos, though.
 

JessieComputes

macrumors newbie
Sep 11, 2016
27
7
I also have elderly relatives who are completely hopeless with technology. My advice is to give up on using an iPad (I have tried.) Instead get them an old iMac and configure it and their router for remote screen sharing. Configure the iMac to sleep etc. and wake up when the mouse is clicked. Then when you want to FaceTime, phone them up using the ordinary land-line phone, and get them to wake the computer, then start FaceTime. You can remotely show them photos etc. You could also set up a slide show screen-saver which comes on for a while before sleep.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,971
14,675
Central U.S.
My wife and i have a whole lot of elderly relatives (in their 70s and 80s), many of which have never even owned a laptop, who have iPads and are subscribed to our kid's photo stream. We usually post 1-2 photos or videos per day to that feed and anyone in our family who wants to subscribe can. They enjoy tapping out short comments and liking things. The best part is they pop up as a notification so they're easy for them to open and view by just tapping on them. It's stupid simple and the only trouble we've had was the initial setup of their accounts and the WiFi, or if they got a new device, which usually only happens every few years.
 
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