Best device configuration for slight dementia?

Owen, using Focus to block calls works but legitimate businesses that might be in her contacts list use multiple numbers. That seems true, especially in the medical community.

My attempt at using Focus created more issues than the spammers were causing.


Ah, thanks Steve, ull Take that into consideration.

My brother now has Durable Power of attorney, so scamming is no longer the primary concern. We just need to find a configuration that balances functionality with potential problems.

I’m pretty sure an iPad anyway can be a good part of the solution…

Edit: Just found out that Durable Power of Attorney gives my brother access to all my mothers finances, but it doesn’t remove her access. So scamming/fraud is still an issue, making 2fa to my brother is an absolut necessity.

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Hello my fellow Scandinavian dweller, I use the setting under Settings> Phone> Silence unknown callers. People who call me and are not in my address book are getting my voicemail, where they are told how to get in touch with me. No telemarketers or scammers bother following that instruction. You could have a voicemail message that explains that legitimate callers have to text or call your brother to get access to your mom. Using this, it is important to select Settings> Notifications> Phone> Allow Notifications Off. Because I have not turned that off and I get a notification, as the call from the unknown is in progress.


Oh, that was a great suggestion P! I actually wondered recently when that setting would be useful :sunglasses: (speaking of senility…).

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I prefer to call me absent minded. :sunglasses:


What I red is to check AirDrop. Turn it off in all the devices. There are people in e.g. train sending scam by AirDrop.
Louis (also 73 years old :-)

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We set up my mother-in-law with an iPad and also a shared iTunes account. That allowed us to purchase songs for her and have it pushed onto her iPad (I believe it was download all purchases).
I wonder when the Take Control book will come out on this topic?


Thanks, I’ll look into that!

FWIW, I don’t think anyone should have AirDrop configured for “Everyone”.

I have my devices set to receive from “Contacts Only”. So I can share files with my friends and family, but strangers can’t send me anything.


Yes, definitely, I agree.

This is yet another difficult topic and the technology companies are not really giving us the tools to help.

Great suggestions, except you still get alert bugs (red dots for unseen content) on the Phone app, specifically for Recents (missed calls). Since Apple insists on making this tab instantly dial any number you even hover your finger over, it is a lingering problem because those little dots are a tantalizing lure for many people. Especially from older generations where it was considered rude to NOT call someone back.

Recents is the area perhaps most at fault for accidental calls (or “butt dials”). It does not help that the different “tabs” in the Phone app use the same style and color scheme. Except, unlike the other tabs, Recents loses its label at the top when you scroll down. This makes it very easy to mistake Recents for something else. Combine this with trigger-happy dialing if someone is just trying to view information and you have potential problems.

There are 3rd party SMS/Call Reporting apps, but you open a very large can of worms there (ie. security, shared information, etc.)

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The Focus settings (DND, Personal, Work, etc.) can be set not to show badges when the focus is active.

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Thanks Doug and @macguyver for pointing that out. I’m learning a lot.

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I’m noting a problem/dilemma that could be interesting for this thread. We’re changing two factor authorization (2fa) for all Mom’s logins to my brother’s iPhone to thwart new scamming. But ironically this is difficult with an AppleID! Mom’s iPhone is set as a trusted device, which seems to be necessary in order for the iPhone to be connected to her iCloud, photos, email, etc, which we want. But then the iPhone is prioritized for 2fa! We want instead that one of the prioritized telephone number be the only way approve logins and changes to the AppleID. But I can’t see any way to change this.

Let me rephrase the the problem/dilemma that I described above. It’s a problem related to AppleIDs that we really need to solve:

Is it possible to give access to iCloud, email, Photos, Music etc, without making the device an AppleID “trusted device?”

Whatever device we decide on in the end for Mom - be it an iPad and/or continuing to user her iPhone 6s Plus, or her MBA - we want her to be able to send and receive email, access her photo library in Photos and maybe be able to listen to music in Music, while at the same time minimizing vulnerability.

But as far as i can tell, that would require the devices to be “trusted devices” for her AppleID, which in turn prioritizes the devices for 2fa, which then makes her AppleID and iCloud content vulnerable to scammers who could convince her to approve an access atempt. Do I understand correctly? If so, is there some way around this? Maybe there is a level of protections I’m missing?

In my experience having my iPhone as an additional trusted device for my late father’s Apple ID, any time 2fa was required, the notification would pop up on both his devices (iPhone and iPad Pro), as well as my iPhone simultaneously.

In fact since he passed away (only five months ago :frowning:), I have had his iPad Pro in my possession (as I’m in charge of editing his memoirs), whereas my mom still has his iPhone though turned off.

A couple of months ago when I needed to do something with his Apple ID, I had no trouble doing the 2fa on my iPhone, when I also saw the notification pop up on his iPad Pro — while his iPhone (the original number associated with his Apple ID) was off.

I don’t know if this helps you, but perhaps you could somehow convince your mom to ‘ignore’ such simultaneous notifications, and just let your brother deal with them?

Strange. Even though by brothers iPhone tel no. is listed, 2fa notifications are only sent to my mothers iphone.

Sorry, my bad! It was not my iPhone that got the simultaneous notification (with map), but my own iPad that’s also a trusted device of my dad’s Apple ID:

This is because Apple sends notifications with map to ALL trusted devices simultaneously, while trusted phone numbers would only receive a text/SMS with authorization code upon request. (As when one did not or cannot receive notifications cum map for some reason.)

To wit:

NB however, one can actually remove a trusted phone number but without removing the actual phone as a trusted device. In this case my dad’s phone number isn’t even among the two trusted numbers, whereas his iPhone X remains a trusted device.

Which means that his iPhone X retains full privileges under his Apple ID, complete with 2fa notification with map, whereas his actual phone number cannot receive the 2fa code by text.

I hope this isn’t too convoluted, but my hope is that if you can add your brother’s iPhone as one of your mom’s trusted devices (instead of a trusted number), then he will receive the simultaneous notification with map, too.


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These words and the continuing data are very helpful in a big picture view of 2fa notifications – Apple provides snippets of data from various closeup views but does not tie these views into a coherent overview.

Thank you for this help.


If the Apple ID is an iCloud email account, if your brother just adds the account as a mail account to his phone, he will start getting the 2FA notices as a trusted device (as opposed to trusted phone number - different things.) If it’s not an iCloud mail account (or or, then he should also be able to do so by logging out of his own Apple ID on his phone, and then logging in to your Mom’s (which will make it a trusted device.) Then he can log back out of her account and log back in with his. A bit of a pain in the neck for him, especially if he uses iCloud Photo Library. And there are other things, such as he should probably delete contacts, calendars, etc., when he logs out of his account so that they then don’t sync with your Mom’s account.

It’s too bad Apple has no other way of making a device a trusted device other than having once been logged in to sync something on your Apple ID.