Whilst using a device is not for everyone, they can open new worlds for all ages. For the older generation in particular, there are a wealth of apps out there that can make life easier and provide a new way of passing the hours whilst still learning something new, keeping the brain active or simply enjoying a new way of playing traditional games.

Whilst we appreciate that not everyone is able to use a smart device or access the internet, we’d highly recommend those who can explore this avenue where suitable,. We’ve written previously about the different types of apps there are out there to make communication easier, and this time we’re focusing on apps that engage creativity and perhaps push users to the next level to enjoy their device even further.

Drawing & Painting Apps

If drawing has always been a passion but now may be a struggle, then apps that encourage drawing and mark making are great alternatives. Depending on the user requirements, apps range from basic painting on a blank canvas to being able to create intricate pieces on the screen. Users can also buy a smart pen / pencil to enhance their lines and accuracy.

Adobe Illustrator Draw / Photoshop Sketch

Available on iOS and Android, these are both free to download and use, serving different types of artwork individually.

Illustrator Draw is aimed at those who prefer to work with vector art, whereas Photoshop Sketch is more for those who prefer freehand drawing. Photoshop Sketch is a little easier to use and perhaps best for beginners.

Sketch – Draw & Paint

This is Sony’s official drawing and photo editing app and is free on Android and iOS. This is billed as suitable for all skill levels so well worth downloading. It has autosave so reduces the risk of losing a favourite piece, and also allows users to add in different brush and filter effects.

Draw Something (Classic)

This was a big hit a few years back as it was one of the first apps to really combine drawing with gaming, but it’s still fun now and it adds an extra level of connectivity with friends who also use the app. It is free to download and allows users to take it in turns drawing something as a challenge. Users can choose to play with just friends and family or anonymous games with other app users across the world.


For those into crafting then there are a whole range of apps dedicated to just that.


This also ranks highly in the social media category, but unlike traditional social media platforms, Pinterest (which is free to download and use) does not push you to make friends and connections. Whilst those features go exist, they are by no means compulsory, and neither is sharing to any other networks.

You can create your own “Boards” for whatever topics you like and then “pin” or “repin” images to them – for crafters, this is invaluable, especially now boards can be divided into subsets of images (i.e. Make Your Own Blanket board could then be split into Patchwork and Crochet, for example). There are many tutorials and visual guides on Pinterest; many people say they find the majority of their inspiration through it!


Popular website WikiHow now has it’s own free app on iOS and Android, which makes life easier for anyone who relies on it for how-to-guides for…almost everything! From creating a terranium out of a glass jar to framing a jigsaw puzzle, crafters will be in their element with this app.

Cross Stitch

For cross stitchers, this is a great alternative to putting thread to Aida. This allows you to practice to a range of set templates and will tell you if you make a mistake. It has 6 categories to choose from and is suitable for all age ranges.

Music Apps

For anyone who loves to make their own music but may find it hard to play an instrument, there are apps on which you can make your own music. As with all apps, they do vary in skill level and technique, but there’s sure to be something for everyone.

Drum Pad Machine – Make Beats / Beat Maker

A free app for Android and iOS, this allows users to make their own beats using the screen as a virtual drum kit. You can make loops and listen to your own sounds on playback, as well as those from other users. It’s also possible to upgrade in-app to different packs, if desired. Perfect for any drummers who can no longer use a real drumkit easily.

Music Studio Lite

This is the free version of the premium Music Studio app but offers enough features to keep users happy. You can choose from a virtual piano keyboard, flute, Guitar and drum kit amongst others, as well as edit notes, take advantage of the 127-track sequencer and add other effects to really make your tune your own.

Further Apps to Explore

If you’ve found this list useful, please see our post on Mobile Communication apps for older people as well as 13 Reasons Why Older People Should Use Social Media