I only started using these things called “apps” in the last year or so. Sure, I’ve used the Facebook app and the Instagram app since upgrading to an iPhone from my brick in 2012, but I never branched past social media until last spring because technology is hard.

brick phone

The iPhone 4 had already been released when this picture was taken, if that gives you any idea how behind-the-times I am. #grannylife

It all started when my coworker got tired of cashing checks at the bank with me on our way back to the office after lunch at Sweet Green. One afternoon, he refused to leave the parking lot until I’d downloaded my bank’s app, then showed my how to deposit a check on my phone. Even after the first lesson, I was quite resistant, but now– like most people– I can barely imagine life before the camera on my phone served as a bank teller.

I still don’t have many apps on my phone, because I quickly become overwhelmed, but here is a list of my 5 favorite apps that I immediately re-downloaded last week when I got my new iPhone 6 (rose gold, of course!). Obviously, I haven’t mastered the whole “backing up your phone” thing. It’s fine.

This list excludes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all social media platforms, plus the ones that come built-in to the phone.

1. Venmo

Venmo is amazing. It’s the hassle-free way of paying your friends money without carrying cash, stroking a check, or knowing all of their bank information. Simply sign up using your bank account info and voila! You can find friends and immediately transfer money into their bank accounts. Better yet, they can do the same for you. Forgot your wallet at brunch? No worries– Venmo me! Planning a trip and want me to buy the tickets? Venmo me! Roommates owe monthly utilities? Venmo me! And if they don’t know exactly how much they owe you, you can charge them the exact amount. When they see that notification, all they do is press “Accept & Pay.”

I mean, it’s really brilliant. I am even able to send someone a congratulatory $5 “coffee on me” when they get a promotion…oh, I should mention that you can write a short explanation for each transaction. These memo lines can become very creative, and in no way need to be accurate. I personally like to make things as weird as possible, because Venmo has a social media aspect, where everyone can see your transactions with everyone else. No one can see the amount of $$ passed around, but everyone can see who you paid or who paid you– and for what. Therefore, it’s one big inside joke. “Thanks for last night” could mean “Here’s the water bill,” but who’s to know? Plus it’s sometimes fun to scroll and see who pays each other, because that’s a pretty solid indicator that they hang out a lot. #stalkerstatus


A few notes: 1) This is my own Venmo newsfeed, so I had to block out the $$ numbers. You can’t see those if you’re on the main newsfeed looking at transactions between other people. 2) Obviously I haven’t updated the software on my phone, so only every other emoji shows up correctly. I should get on that. 3) Shout out to Nicole for the Zenon reference.


2. The Bank

I mentioned it before, but if you happen to be even more granny-esque than I am, and still don’t use your bank’s app, fix that. Right now.

Taking photo with smart phone


3. FaceTune

This app gets a bad rep because people use it to photoshop their bodies, but that’s not why I use it. Have I adjusted arm fat with it before? Well, yes. But I only did it like 3 times before I felt too guilty to continue. Now I only use it because it has the best photo editing tools, in my opinion, for things like lighting, red eye, filters, etc.

3 red dresses

The body photoshop on the right looks totally natural, right?? 😉 (For the record, nothing is edited except lighting in the 1st and 2nd pictures)


4. Waze

Coming from a girl who still printed MapQuest directions to use on road trips until last year, downloading this app was tough for me. But so worth it. Waze tells you the fastest way to get somewhere by choosing routes that avoid current traffic jams, plus it warns you about hidden cops, potholes, cars broken down on the side of the road, best/worst gas prices, etc.

How does it know all of this up-to-date information? Because of your fellow drivers! Someone types in “Police car right before exit 19” and boom, everyone knows to watch out. My friend and I used Waze on our way home from a bachelorette party once, and we got home an hour faster than the girls in the other car that used Google Maps. Booyah!



5. Generation grannY 

Bet you didn’t know this blog has an app? Well, that’s because it doesn’t. Or does it? I’m not sure what technically makes something an app, but you can definitely get a little Generation grannY icon on your phone that leads you straight to the blog. Just type www.generationgranny.com into your web browser, then push the little blue “up” arrow that appears at the bottom of the screen, and choose “Add to Home Screen.” No excuses.

gen granny app


Have fun!