Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today

Bits & Bytes

Most Popular


9 Apps With the 50-Plus in Mind

These applications for phones and tablets can make life a little easier

Getting older? There's an app for that! Well, not really, but there are applications for smartphones and similar devices that may help smooth the road to aging.

See also: The smartphone is the new universal remote control.

With assistance from Amy Webb, CEO of Webbmedia Group and an expert on emerging technology, we scouted the world of apps in order to spotlight some recent ones with the 50-plus in mind.

1. HeyTell (for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android; free). Stiff fingers? Not a problem. "This is one of the most important applications available now," Webb says of this voice-based tool that lets you send, receive and record texts and calls with the touch of a single button. It not only instantly connects you to friends and family vocally, but also shows everyone's location, in case you need to find each other (different privacy levels can block the information if you prefer). And messages also can be saved and exported to Facebook and email.

2. Silver Surf (iPad; free). Does it appear that those buttons on your phone or keypad are getting smaller? This app offers high contrast, text zoom (up to 200 percent) and larger navigation icons, for when holding your gadget at arm's length just doesn't cut it anymore.

Eye Reader phone app on a menu to magnify words

The Eye Reader helps make small print bigger. — Courtesy of EyeReader

3. Eye Reader (iPhone; $1.99). Stop squinting at restaurant menus or trying to read your theater program in the dark. The Eye Reader lets you use your iPhone 4's LED light to magnify and illumine small print. The creator says an Android version is in the works, and promises more helpful tools to come in his Silver Apps series for the 45-and-over crowd.

4. SplashID Safe (for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android $9.99, BlackBerry $9.95). Get some help keeping up with all your user names and passwords. You can store them here — along with credit card numbers, PINs and other account numbers — and free up some brain space. "This is probably the most secure system out there if you're going to store your information," says Webb, because it has a couple of levels of encryption. "You have to pay for it, but it's very difficult to crack." And, she adds, it's a cinch to back up. "You have to connect your phone to your computer in order to sync, but that's actually better because you don't want to transmit [those records] wirelessly."

5. BuddyGuard (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, BlackBerry; free). Formerly called Plerts, this personal protection device has monitoring, detection and warning capabilities. "A really, really smart application," Webb says. The accelerometer senses increased G-forces generated during a car accident and will automatically call for help. You can even enter a distress PIN to send an emergency alert. And every three seconds, the app records audio, snaps photos and notes your GPS coordinates, all of which make it handy to have along if you're traveling or in an unfamiliar area.

Next: How fast is your heart beating? Find out with this app. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Social Networking

Step-by-step instructions on how to use some of the Web's most popular networking sites. Go


How to Use Your PC

Guides covering everything from setting up your desktop, to getting the most out of Excel. Go


Protect Your Digital Life

Keep your computer secure, your web surfing safe, and your inbox spam free with these tips. Go


Discounts & Benefits

Geek Squad Computing

Members save on Geek Squad services with Geek Squad® Tech Support & Guidance for AARP® Members.

AARP Discounts on ADT Companion Services

Members get 20% off NEW installation and activation of ADT® Personal Emergency Response System.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today


computer questions and tips

Computer Questions & Tips

Pick up some handy how-tos from this savvy group of techies. Discuss


Freebies Group

Favorite Websites & Freebies

Share your top sites for interesting information, helpful resources — and free stuff! Discuss