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Rainbow Apple

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 21, 2023
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20
My step-grandmother is computer-illiterate, yet she desperately needs a computer to help her with shopping and all. My father and I will get her an iPad and iPhone, because we think that will be the easiest for her to use (we don't want her to have to deal with a desktop system such as MacOS or Windows). To be clear: We're not pushing this on her, she does want an iPad. I'm hoping you folks can help me help my step-grandmother. Any tips, advice, and insight would be appreciated.
 

Beards

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2014
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Derbyshire UK
The iPad will definitely be easier to understand and quicker than a Laptop. Just go for the cheapest model as I expect the majority of power from them will be used for FaceTime, email, shopping and maybe a little internet browsing.
The biggest cost though will not be with the hardware but your time in helping her to understand how they work.
 
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mikedude86

macrumors regular
Sep 2, 2010
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I’d suggest base model also, but if you’re going with 9th gen, then I’d also suggest an iPhone with a home button. It helped my mom a lot to have the same basic user experience, same buttons and what not.
 

AJB1971

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2011
440
409
I can understand why you would want to avoid MacOS and Windows, but I wouldn’t overlook Chromebooks. They’re inexpensive and the setup procedure is simple. Also, having a larger screen and a physical keyboard could be beneficial for some users.

Try downloading Chrome OS Flex (the successor to Cloud Ready) onto a USB drive and booting a computer from it (be careful not to install it as it will wipe the drive).
Overview - https://chromeenterprise.google/os/chromeosflex/
Direct link for the free home edition - https://support.google.com/chromeosflex/answer/11552529

If you’ve got an old computer that you no longer use, you could repurpose that and see how your stepgrandmother gets on with it. In my experience, Chrome OS Flex is not as good a solution as having a dedicated Chromebook - the last one I tried wouldn’t play video on the BBC website - but it’s a good way of testing it out.

There's also Chrome Remote Desktop for troubleshooting -

This video might be useful -

If you do go down the Apple route, I’d start with an iPad first as I think the bigger device will be easier. You can decide about an iPhone later.

Also, look to see if there are any courses at local libraries that may help her.
 
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cupcakes2000

macrumors 68040
Apr 13, 2010
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I can understand why you would want to avoid MacOS and Windows, but I wouldn’t overlook Chromebooks. They’re inexpensive and the setup procedure is simple. Also, having a larger screen and a physical keyboard could be beneficial for some users.

Try downloading Chrome OS Flex (the successor to Cloud Ready) onto a USB drive and booting a computer from it (be careful not to install it as it will wipe the drive).
Overview - https://chromeenterprise.google/os/chromeosflex/
Direct link for the free home edition - https://support.google.com/chromeosflex/answer/11552529

If you’ve got an old computer that you no longer use, you could repurpose that and see how your stepgrandmother gets on with it. In my experience, Chrome OS Flex is not as good a solution as having a dedicated Chromebook - the last one I tried wouldn’t play video on the BBC website - but it’s a good way of testing it out.

There's also Chrome Remote Desktop for troubleshooting -

This video might be useful -

If you do go down the Apple route, I’d start with an iPad first as I think the bigger device will be easier. You can decide about an iPhone later.

Also, look to see if there are any courses at local libraries that may help her.
You cant seriously recommend Chrome OS over an iPad for a computer illiterate grandmother? You just need to look at an iPad and tap an icon. The fact you’re posting tutorial videos and suggesting troubleshooting guides should really already tell you all you need to know. I can put my iPad in front of my 2 year old son and he can operate it, he could from the get go. He tries to tap the YouTube icon when he sees it on a street sign. The iPad is king over any other system for people that don’t understand a computer. To say anything else is just failing looking properly at just how deeply some people cannot understand technology.
 

AJB1971

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2011
440
409
You cant seriously recommend Chrome OS over an iPad for a computer illiterate grandmother? You just need to look at an iPad and tap an icon. The fact you’re posting tutorial videos and suggesting troubleshooting guides should really already tell you all you need to know. I can put my iPad in front of my 2 year old son and he can operate it, he could from the get go. He tries to tap the YouTube icon when he sees it on a street sign. The iPad is king over any other system for people that don’t understand a computer. To say anything else is just failing looking properly at just how deeply some people cannot understand technology.
Read some of the comments on the thread below and listen to the first 90 seconds of the video I included in my earlier post -
https://www.reddit.com/r/chromeos/comments/o3oeps

You might have a different opinion, and I'm not saying that the iPad is in any way a bad choice, but I wouldn't dismiss a Chromebook so easily. As I said, the Remote Desktop feature is very useful when the user encounters issues.

By the way, I am talking from personal experience having helped elderly friends and relatives out with their tech problems.
 
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neutrino17

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2022
103
112
My mom’s in her 90s and loves her iPad. A couple of suggestions:

Get a small notebook and write down any passwords she generates. Keeping track of mom’s passwords is one of our biggest headaches. Maybe you could keep that yourself.

Don’t try to teach her about all that she can do. Find the four or five things she needs to do and start with that. Once she is competent at that you can try branching out.

Mostly mom likes to use email and text to communicate. She likes to get photos from friends and relatives. A good thing is to show her how to save a photo from a text or email into the photos app so she won’t lose it.

She likes to play a few games like crossword puzzles and candy crush.

We showed her how to use Siri for a few things and she likes that. “What’s the temperature?” “Will it rain today?” “What’s the date?” She likes hearing a voice respond to her.

She visits a few websites. So far she is not doing on-line banking.

FaceTime might be good. My sister and my mom use this. It’s nice because you can carry an iPad around to show off things like furniture, flowers, etc.

Notes might be good for shopping lists and stuff. So far my mom isn’t doing this. When I visit we have to deal with scraps with notes on them.

I’d recommend finding a 20-30 year old nephew you can trust to help her setup online delivery from the grocery store or similar things requiring sign ups.

Before the iPad mom had an iBook but that didn’t work very well for her. The iPad is much simpler.
 

teh_hunterer

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2021
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The iPhone and iPad are a good combo because they essentially have the same OS. Anything they learn on one they can translate to the other. My 80 year old grandma is pretty bad with tech but I got her set up on that iPad iPhone combo in her 70s and after some teething issues she got up and running.
 

AJB1971

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2011
440
409
Chrome OS FLex dosen't have Android, correct? Wouden't that make it just the Chrome browser?

Chrome OS Flex doesn’t support Android apps but there is a web store -
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions

Android apps are a recent-ish addition for Chromebooks and I’m not sure how well they work.

I put Cloud Ready (the forerunner to Chrome OS Flex) on a neighbours ancient (c.2008) laptop, which had been running Windows Vista. The idea was for them to try it for a short while before upgrading to a Chromebook. They ended up using it for another three years until the laptop finally broke.

The only issues they had in that time were hardware related. The machine was so old that it had a switch to enable and disable Wi-Fi and that caused some problems.

All they wanted a laptop for was browsing, shopping, and email.

Their new Chromebook took a few minutes to set up.

If you don’t want to try Chrome OS Flex, go to a store and try one of the demonstration models.

I'm not saying it would necessarily be better than an iPad, but it is an option worth considering.
 

Rainbow Apple

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 21, 2023
42
20
Android apps are a recent-ish addition for Chromebooks and I’m not sure how well they work.

Well enough that I use Chromium OS (the "Fyde OS for You" distbution) as my Android. My primary coumputer is a tablet-laptop hjybrid, running both Windoes and Chromium OS. Actavate Chromium OS's Andrpoid subsystem, change a few settings to get the proper Android interface and feel, and Chromium OS becomes Android.
 

AJB1971

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2011
440
409
Well enough that I use Chromium OS (the "Fyde OS for You" distbution) as my Android. My primary coumputer is a tablet-laptop hjybrid, running both Windoes and Chromium OS. Actavate Chromium OS's Andrpoid subsystem, change a few settings to get the proper Android interface and feel, and Chromium OS becomes Android.
You will already be familiar with the Chromebook experience then.

Let us know what you decide and how your step-grandmother gets on.

I always think that tech companies should use people like her to improve their products. I once had to talk a distant relative through setting up a Windows laptop over the telephone and it was a tortuous but enlightening experience.

Could someone with no previous experience with smartphones, tablets, or computers, really set up a new device without some assistance? I doubt that many would be able to do it.
 

Rainbow Apple

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 21, 2023
42
20
You will already be familiar with the Chromebook experience then.

I'm not convinced that I am! As I said: I use Chromium OS as my Android. I've never used Chromium OS as Chromium OS.

You didn't quite answer my question: Is Chromium/Chrome OS, without Android, just the Chrome broswer? True, you can install extetions onto the Chrome broswer (via the Chrome web store). But is there more to Chrome OS than the Chrome broswer and its extetions?
 

AJB1971

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2011
440
409
No, there's more to it than just the Chrome browser, but a lot of apps do run through the browser. Have a look at the following -

When Chromebooks first launched they were quite restrictive, but that's not so much the case now. For example, when they first launched you couldn't run Skype, you had to use Google Hangouts if you wanted to video call, but now you can run it through the browser or by installing the Android app.

Similarly, you could only use Google Docs, but now you can use Office through the browser.
 
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Rainbow Apple

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 21, 2023
42
20
No, there's more to it than just the Chrome browser, but a lot of apps do run through the browser. Have a look at the following -

When Chromebooks first launched they were quite restrictive, but that's not so much the case now. For example, when they first launched you couldn't run Skype, you had to use Google Meet if you wanted to video call, but now you can run it through the browser or by installing the Android app.

Similarly, you could only use Google Docs, but now you can use Office through the browser.

The question is:
Is Chromium/Chrome OS, without Android, just the Chrome broswer?
Talking about Android apps dosen't address that question, because I said "without Android". As for the "run it through the browser" bit: What does that mean? Does that mean going to a website?
 

AJB1971

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2011
440
409
For many years Chromebooks didn't run Android apps but they still had a web store where you could download apps. Machines that supported Android apps were gradually released over a period of time. Think of running Android apps as a bonus rather than a core feature.

As for what I mean by running it through a browser, on a Windows PC you might have Office installed on the computer, but on a Chromebook, you access it by going to the Office website -
 

KaliYoni

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2016
1,731
3,823
As for the "run it through the browser" bit: What does that mean? Does that mean going to a website?

As for what I mean by running it through a browser, on a Windows PC you might have Office installed on the computer, but on a Chromebook, you access it by going to the Office website -

An important benefit of using web-based applications, such as MS Office or Zoom (that's right, you do not have to download Zoom to participate in most conferences), is that the device user does not have to worry about updates or unpatched security exploits. Again, as I discussed in the linked thread in my earlier post, many people rely on memorized patterns and muscle memory to use their computer, tablet, or phone. So, the less change and maintenance these users have to face means both a better experience for the users and less troubleshooting and teaching time for people supporting these users.
 

Rainbow Apple

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 21, 2023
42
20
For many years Chromebooks didn't run Android apps but they still had a web store where you could download apps.
Ah, you're talking about Chrome apps. I remeber those now. But I wouden't trust them! Google's allredy canceled them on OSs except ChromeOS, and keeps talking about canceling them on Chrome OS. It's Google's thing: They release somthing, people get dependent on it, and then Google takes it away. Unless Google shows that they're searous about Chrome apps, that they won't cancel them, I'd just avoid them.
Think of running Android apps as a bonus rather than a core feature.

Depends on you're useing Chrome OS for. Me, I use it as my Android. So for me, that is a core feature. @AJB1971 and @KaliYoni you two are seguesting I get my step-grandmother Chrome OS as Chrome OS. If I went that route: The Android apps would be a bonus. If I got her Chrome OS for the sake of Android, then I may as well just get her an iPad.
 

teh_hunterer

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Jul 1, 2021
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Just an observation, but I think some people are forgetting that this person is going to have a phone as well. Having the phone and the tablet run the same OS is critical for someone who is tech illiterate. Why make them learn two OSes when they only really need to learn one?
 
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AJB1971

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2011
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Just an observation, but I think some people are forgetting that this person is going to have a phone as well. Having the phone and the tablet run the same OS is critical for someone who is tech illiterate. Why make them learn two OSes when they only really need to learn one?

Nobody has forgotten that. I even said: 'If you do go down the Apple route, I’d start with an iPad first as I think the bigger device will be easier. You can decide about an iPhone later.'

In my opinion, it’s better to learn how to use one device at a time. Two devices at the same time could complicate things even if they share similar operating systems. Once they're computer literate, that opens up more options.

The primary consideration that the OP mentioned was that 'she desperately needs a computer to help her with shopping and all.' They didn’t 'want her to have to deal with a desktop system such as MacOS or Windows' and I suggested that they shouldn’t 'overlook Chromebooks.' I then provided some details for the OP to try out the Chromebook experience for themselves and they asked some questions about Chromebooks. That was all.

It’s for the OP to decide what they think is best for their relative.
 
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teh_hunterer

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Jul 1, 2021
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Nobody has forgotten that.
Maybe, maybe not.
It’s for the OP to decide what they think is best for their relative.
And who exactly is arguing otherwise?
In my opinion, it’s better to learn how to use one device at a time. Two devices at the same time could complicate things even if they share similar operating systems. Once they're computer literate, that opens up more options.
In my experience, my grandparents only ever fully learned to use their iPads. They struggled eternally with the Android phones they kept buying until I could finally convince them to get iPhones, and they haven't needed help with their phones ever since because they essentially already knew how to use them. They never wanted options, just something they could use.
 

AJB1971

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2011
440
409
Maybe, maybe not.

That’s so vague it’s impossible to respond to.

Just to reiterate, for anybody else reading this thread, I made one post in which I suggested the OP might not want to ‘overlook Chromebooks’ as I thought this could address their relative’s primary needs. I also provided some details on how to test this for themselves.

In the same post, I also referenced their comments about iPads and iPhones, which I would suggest is a good indication that I hadn’t forgotten this.

I’m assuming that the OP had some vague interest in my post as they asked a series of questions that I and another member tried to answer.

For their own reasons, the OP decided against this, and I was happy to leave them to make the decision for their relative.
 

Rainbow Apple

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 21, 2023
42
20
For their own reasons, the OP decided against this
I don't think I said that. I had questions about the Chrome OS experience.

I did say that I wouldn't trust Google not to cancel Chrome OS apps, like they've cancelled so many other Google services.

I did say that if I were going to get my relative a Chromebook to be an Android tablet, then at that point, I may as well get her an iPad. But that was about a Chromebook as an Android tablet, not a Chromebook as a Chromebook.

But I never said that I decided not to get her a Chromebook.
 
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