HuffPo Listicle “The 7 Must-Have Apps For Middle-Aged People”


For some reason, “the kids” are not content to live their own mad life filled with pointless “must have” apps and inappropriate touch screens. Now they feel they can project their lifestyle onto grow ups, AKA “Middle-Aged People”.

Ann Brenoff is ready to tell us what is good for us, whether we want it or not. This isn’t about what midlife people might want or need, but what hip, “tech savvy” kids want them to want.

Again, sigh.

Brenoff’s list is underwhelming at best, and radically stupid at its worst.

  1. A Mapping app.
  2. A real-time traffic app
  3. A fitness tracking app
  4. An app to remind you of stuff.
  5. An app to diagnose what ails you.
  6. An app to keep your brain sharp.
  7. An app to help you pick out watermelons

OK, #1 is absolutely useful for everyone—middle age has nothing to do with it. Every smartphone comes equipped with this feature, and I haven’t met too many people who don’t already use one when needed. So—sure. But this is not really needed advice.

Item #2 presumes that (a) we drive and (b) we drive in a city and (c) we are in a hurry to get there. I’m pretty sure that everyone who does that has already figured out that there may be useful apps to help the process. Everyone who doesn’t do that stuff, doesn’t need #2 at all. (Yay for public transit!)

Item #3 is, well, highly questionable. Actually, Brenoff herself makes a good case for why you don’t need or want these gadgets.

“it seems that fitness tracking apps are technology’s way of shaming you”

If you are going to try to diet or get fit, you might want to use a device to help with your specific program. But you’ll have to shop around to get something that actually does what you need. Most are just generic dreck.

I’m trying to figure out what, exactly item #4 would be, if not a calendar app that, like a map app, you already have. And, like the maps, everyone needs this, not just midlifers. And everyone already has several.

I would say that Item #5 is flat wrong, and sort of insulting. Brenoff seems to imply that “midlifers” have lots of health problems, and little understanding of them. Really? First of all, most of us “midlifers” already know the main things that are wrong with us—no real mystery about it. We know because we have had professional medical assessments. Second, web apps are less than helpful for anyone, because they are very generic, and always tells you to seek professional care to get a real diagnosis. This is definitely a “don’t need” app.

Item #6 is not only insulting, it is also useless and seriously misguided. Brenoff implies that old geezers need help to keep our brains sharp, with the additional assertion that these brain apps do something about that alleged deficit. Unfortunately, regardless of what “everybody knows”, these apps probably do not doing any more good than crossword puzzles or talking with friend. Worse, spending time looking at a tiny screen (which, by the way, is increasingly problematic as eyes age) is really bad for you in a lot of ways, so these games are probably a net negative.

Finally, item #7 can only be taken as tongue in cheek. A non-solution for a non-problem, that isn’t even real. This app does, however, catch the preposterousness of the entire notion that any app is truly “must have”, or can actually make you happier by solving the problems in your life.

The overall score is two obvious ones, two highly questionable, two insulting and/or harmful, and one (intentionally?) absurd.

Zero good or ueeful recommendations.

Stop it! There is no such thing as a “must have” app.

Focus on solving your own problems, and leave us out of your app-mad world!

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