Mother’s Day is a perfect time to catch your mom up on new tech. Whether it’s a new tablet, phone, or computer, she’s probably going to want some fun apps. A smartphone is more than just a phone and a tablet is more than just a computer with a touch screen. Show your mom how much you care by setting up her new device with useful and fun apps.
Whether you got her an iPad, Android or Windows device, we’ve got a great list of apps to get her started.
If you didn’t get a Kindle ebook reader, she can still read ebooks using the Kindle app. The app offers a great reading experience with annotations, a dictionary, and myriad reading options. My favorite option is the sepia reading mode, which warms up the screen to prevent eye strain.
Goodreads is a social network for book lovers. Amazon owns Goodreads and has integrated some of its features into the Kindle app but not everything is available. The full Goodreads app is a great place for your mom to share what she’s reading, see what her friends are reading, and to look for recommendations based on what she’s read.
If your mom likes to read magazines, Zinio is a great app. While Apple already has its own Newsstand app, it’s limited to only iPhones and iPads. If your mom wants to read magazines on any device, Zinio is a better option.
There’s a ton of different magazines and the app offers free articles as samples all the time. Zinio frequently has sales on magazine subscriptions so you’ll probably save her some money compared to using Newsstand.
Flipboard puts an easy to read interface on top of news articles from around the internet. The app literally lets you “flip” through pages for easy reading. The best part about Flipboard is that you can add your own websites you follow for a customized reading experience. Flipboard also features editors that curate news and other content so there’s always something interesting to read.
Jamie Oliver’s Recipes / Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals
If your mom likes cooking, she’ll love Jamie Oliver’s Recipes app. The app itself is free but you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription to get the best out of it. Free users will get a sample of fifteen recipes that rotate every Monday. The app is well designed and features a ton of recipes for all types of cuisine.
Android users don’t get Jamie Oliver’s Recipes app (boo!) but there is another app called Jamie’s 20 Minute meals, which features more than 65 simple recipes.
Download Jamie Oliver’s Recipes: iPhone and iPad
Download Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals: Android ($7.69)
Martha Stewart Makes Cookies for iPhone and iPad
If you want your mom to bake cookies for you, download the Martha Stewart Makes Cookies app. The app is gorgeous and provides solid recipes for a ton of different baked goods. You can browse by category and collect recipes for quick access. There’s even a section for ideas on how to box the cookies for gifting.
Download Martha Stewart Makes Cookies: iPhone and iPad ($1.99)
You’re probably going to open a can of worms for your mom if you download Pinterest for her. The app is a digital pinboard for things she finds around the web. There are so many types of content from recipes to clothing to interior design. Expect your mom to make frequent trips to Michael’s for craft supplies to create things she saw on Pinterest.
Shopping online is super easy with Amazon. The online retailer carries just about everything, including household items and groceries. If your mom likes hunting for deals, Amazon’s daily Gold Box deals are a great place to start. If you’re a super awesome kid, you’ll pick up a Amazon Prime subscription for your mom too (or at least add her to yours).
Can’t find something on Amazon? Try eBay instead. Over the years, eBay has transformed from a digital auction house to an online retailer. Many products feature a “Buy It Now” price instead of bidding so you can buy the product immediately. eBay is a great app for moms who like hunting for vintage things and collectables.
After all her online shopping, your mom will probably want to manage her finances. Mint is an app that integrates all of your bank accounts so you get to see how your finances are doing over all. You can add investments, create budgets, and set alerts for overspending. It’s a great tool for keeping track of what you’re buying and for seeing where you can cut back.
Fitbit / Jawbone UP / Nike+ Running
If you bought your mom a fitness tracker, you’ll want to help her download the corresponding app for her smartphone. These apps are critical for pulling in the data the fitness trackers so she can track her goals and progress.
Apple Watch and Android Wear apps
If you bought your mom an Apple Watch or Android Wear smartwatch, you’ll want to help her make the most out of it with some apps. Check out my list of favorite Apple Watch apps and our list of the best Android Wear apps. We constantly update these posts so check back for more recommendations.
While most tablets and smartphones have their own weather apps built in, they’re usually not very good. One of the best weather apps is AccuWeather. The app provides a ton of details and fairly accurate forecasts. You can even set the app to warn your mom about severe weather.
If your mom wants a simpler, prettier app, download Yahoo Weather instead.
Facebook and Messenger
It’s difficult to remember to call your mom sometimes. Let her keep up to date on your life by getting her on Facebook. The social network provides a great place for her to keep track of her friends (and you). She can post photos, videos, and even chat.
There’s a separate Facebook Messenger app you can download for her so you two can chat instead of text. Messenger features a ton of cute stickers and even lets you make free voice and video calls.
If you just want to chat with your mom, WhatsApp is a better app than Facebook Messenger. It’s fast, lets you share photos, and even lets her know your exact location. You can create a group chat with your entire family so everyone can keep in touch.
If your mom likes chatting at her computer, be sure to set up WhatsApp in her browser. Check out our guide on how to do that.
If you primarily want to video call with your mom, Sype’s a great choice. The app has been around for a long time and provides great video call quality. Skype also supports text chat when you’re not available to take a video call.
If your mom likes taking photos with her smartphone, help her set up an Instagram account. The app makes snapping and sharing photos super easy and there’s a ton of celebrities for her to follow. The community is what makes Instagram a great photo sharing app.
While her phone or tablet may already come with basic photo editing features, Snapseed gives her more options while still remaining easy to use. There are a ton of filters and the app’s interface is designed for touch. When the stock photo app just doesn’t cut it, Snapseed is a great alternative.
Help your mom find new things to do and new restaurants to try with Yelp. The community driven reviews app features trending new places and reviews to help her decide where to go. Photos are especially useful for seeing inside a restaurant and looking at food.
Wunderlist is an excellent to-do app. Your mom can create lists and notebooks for different products. She can add notes and links to her tasks so she doesn’t forget what she needs to do. There’s also collaborative lists so you two can plan an outing together or she can make a list of tech issues she wants you solve next time you visit.
If your mom likes listening to music, Pandora is a great place to discover new artists. Start a radio station by genre or from a specific artist and the app will slowly learn what she likes to listen to. The more she rates each song, the smarter Pandora gets.
If your mom doesn’t want streaming radio, a subscription to a music service like Spotify might be a better option. She can listen to millions of songs ad-free and can create playlists. Spotify is also great for seeing what her friends are listening to. You can even collaborate on a playlist with your mom so you’re not stuck listening to Simon and Garfunkel at every family dinner.
Spotify costs $9.99 per month but you can use the service for free with ads.
No tablet or phone would be complete without YouTube. There’s so much content on YouTube that your mom may end up binge watching for days. Make sure to check up on her to see if she remembered to eat and to go outside.
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