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These Millennial Apps Have Boomer Appeal

Money transfers, meal delivery and more help make your life easier

WhatsApp, Millennial Apps that Aid Boomers


Apps to tap that are for millennials but have boomer appeal

En español | While many millennials are scoping social media on their smartphones, they're also using apps for all kinds of things — from preordering lattes and checking public transport for delays to reading downloaded articles sans Wi-Fi and arranging for an at-home massage.

Millennials use apps more than any other generation, spending 86 hours per month on mobile apps to run their 24/7 lifestyle. "You can make apps hyperpersonalized," says Tyler Becker, a 24-year-old marketing director at Social Media Week. "They allow you to have a little compartment for your very specific needs, right on your phone that's always with you."

Is there a downside to apps? Hyperconnected lives cause young people "to thirst for instant gratification, settle for quick choices and lack patience," according to a Pew study.

Jackie Widmann, 23, a manager at the Infatuation, a restaurant review app, recalls getting impatient when she ordered an Uber that was supposed to arrive within four minutes … and didn't. "I am constantly in a rush and was frustrated because the Uber was taking more time until I realized I was being crazy impatient."

We asked Becker, Widmann and a few other millennials to share their favorite apps that aren't for dating or social media. In the interest of making boomers' lives easier (and more hip), here are some that every generation can enjoy:

Venmo. This digital wallet transfers money from one person to another. It is so popular that its name has morphed into a verb, as in "I'll Venmo you." Money is transferred via a debit from the user's bank account or credit card. It's often used at restaurants: One person pays the bill and the other diners transfer their share of repayment via the app. "It's unbelievably helpful and makes splitting the bill very easy when out with friends," says Becker, who also uses it to pay his roommate for his share of their joint expenses.

Seamless. Come mealtime in big cities, the streets are swarming with delivery people dropping off food orders placed on Seamless and similar apps from hundreds of restaurants. As one student says: "Why go out when you can order any kind of food delivered anywhere, even the library when studying?"

Spotify. The app allows users to play music directly from the cloud rather than downloading it. The social media feature is popular for sharing curated playlists. "I appreciate following other people's playlists to find out what's new," Widmann says.

Google Play Music. Becker likes the playlists designed to match the listener's mood, from working out to cleaning or relaxing on a Sunday afternoon.

WhatsApp. Users can send texts, images and videos for free using Wi-Fi instead of their data plan. There's also a "send your location" feature. 

Foursquare. The newly revamped app finds restaurants based on food preferences within a certain area. Becker recently visited Seattle and Portland and downloaded lists for coffee shops, pizza places and beer bars, as well as cuisine-specific restaurants.

Finally, Keeper securely stores passwords, and Flashlight turns your phone into a beacon of light. Apparently millennials forget their passwords and need to see in the dark, too.

Mary W. Quigley, a journalist and author, has written two books about motherhood and work. An NYU journalism professor, she is the mother of three adult children and blogs at