Do I need a subscription to use Folktells?
A subscription is not required to use Folktells. For a detailed description of the features available with and without a subscription, please refer to our Feature Comparison
Here are a few of the features available without a subscription:
- By connecting the Folktells app to online sources (Google Photos & iCloud), shared albums will appear in Folktells. When photos or videos are added to a shared album, everyone can enjoy them, no Folktells subscription is needed.
- Photos and videos stored on the device are also available to enjoy in Folktells. Stories can be added to any local or online album for enjoyment on the device.
- Likewise, events from online calendars from Google and iCloud accounts, and those from any calendars on the device will be displayed in Folktells. Family members can manage a seniors calendar for them online.
- Phone numbers, TV channels, meal times and more can be added to the Noticeboard.
A subscription to a Share Plan enables remote sharing features. There are two types of Share Plan:
- Share Plan: the share plan is designed for family & friend groups to share stories with one another. The photos & videos from Google Photos & iCloud are visible in Folktells without a subscription, but a subscription is required in order to add and share a story about the album. A Share Plan also enables you to launch a story on another user’s device remotely so that you can both enjoy the photos together. This is designed so that you can help a senior member view a story – as you swipe through the slideshow, they see the same photo that you do, and you can tell them the story behind the photos. See an example here.
- Share + Messaging Plan: by adding a messaging plan, the subscriber will be assigned a phone number at which they can receive text & photo messages from loved ones. Typically this subscription is recommended for the senior member of a Folktells group – anyone who already has a mobile device with a texting plan would not need this subscription. No subscription is required to send a message to a subscriber. See an example here.
Can Folktells tell stories automatically?
Yes. Folktells can show a prompt to engage in a story on any schedule you choose. Just go to Settings | Stories offered at, and use the + button to add a new notification time. You can add as many times as you like. At the time(s) you choose, a notification will appear offering to show a random story. Story prompts encourage engagement by reminding users that there is content for them to watch and/or listen to. Explore more in our learning article about scheduled stories
Can I choose which photo albums appear as stories?
Yes. First, make sure that Folktells is in Storyteller mode. Then, tap ‘Manage Stories’ on the main screen to go to the story selector. Tap the heart icon to include or not include an album in the list of visible stories. Albums with a solid heart will rotate through the featured stories area on the main page and be visible to everyone in the story selector. Stories with a heart outline will not be visible to non storytellers, even in the story selector, and will not be used for scheduled stories
or featured on the main page. Please see our learning article on Creating & Managing Stories
for more details.
Can I create events on my device and have them appear in Folktells on my parents device?
Yes, if both users have Internet and have access to a shared online calendar (such as a Google calendar). On your device, create an event in a shared calendar. Any entries you enter into the shared calendar will appear wherever the calendar is shared. You can manage your loved ones events remotely from your own device even if you don’t have Folktells installed yourself. This is an easy way to remind them of appointments, friends and family coming to visit, and important events. Folktells displays the title of the calendar entry, the location, and the description of the event. For more details on how to set up and use calendars, please see our learning article on Selecting calendar(s) to display
Can I create repeating events like mealtimes?
Yes. Folktells uses information from the calendar(s) on your device to display events. Create a repeating event in the calendar and it will show up in Folktells. Please see our learning article for more information on how to use calendars
Can I format noticeboard content?
Yes. The noticeboard content uses Markdown so you can easily create headings, lists, and bold & italic text. See our article on the basic usage
. There are also many Markdown
guides available on the internet.
Can I make Folktells even simpler to use?
Some folk don’t want a lot of choices and prefer, or need, simpler, less detailed, content. Folktells has an option just for them. Go to Settings | Primary user(s) | Simplify and turn on Simplified mode. The application display changes to show only the most immediately relevant information in the simplest way possible. For more details on what happens when you turn Simplified mode on, please see our Personalize Folktells
Can I make the font larger?
Yes. We’ve designed Folktells with large, easy to read, fonts already, but if you’d like them even larger that’s easy to do. Use the accessibility features on your iOS
device to customize the font to your liking. We’ve done our best to make it possible to use as large fonts as possible, but some text may be cut off or truncated due to limited screen space. Experiment with the settings on your device to find what works best for you and your loved one.
Do I need a tablet?
We think that Folktells is best viewed on a tablet. The larger screen makes it ideal for seniors to read and listen to stories and keep apprised of their daily schedules with a single main screen that keeps everything in view. It also runs great on small tablets and phones for storytellers to create content. On smaller devices, the main screen is broken into 3 tabs, one each for featured stories, events, and the noticeboard.
Does Folktells have a day/night clock?
For folks with some cognitive decline, like dementia or Alzheimers, a simplified clock that shows only the day of the week and the general time period of the day – i.e. Wednesday Afternoon – is helpful to keep them oriented. You can turn on Simplified mode in the Folktells settings. For more details on what happens when you turn Simplified mode on, please see our Personalize Folktells
Does Folktells have any voice and speech support?
Yes. Folktells uses speech in a couple of ways. It reads stories out loud and it accepts voice commands to respond to story prompts. Even folk who are experiencing vision loss or otherwise have difficulty reading text on the screen can engage with your shared stories.
Does Folktells need an internet connection?
We know that not everyone has a convenient internet connection in all facilities so we designed Folktells to provide a great experience even without a connection. Setup your stories and scheduled events on the local device and they can be viewed and listened to, even without an internet connection. Events from the device calendar will appear as well. Having an internet connection does enhance the app by making it possible to update events and share albums from other devices.
How are stories related to photo albums?
The set of stories, as well as the photos in those stories, come from the albums in the photos app on your device. To create a new story just create a new photo album and add any photos you’d like. You can select some or all of the albums for display in Folktells and change your mind at any time. Please see our learning article about Creating and Managing Stories
for more details.
How can I make sure that the Folktells settings don’t get changed by accident?
For folk who aren’t that comfortable with technology and frequently get lost after tapping on something unexpected, there are some settings in Folktells that can help. If you turn Storyteller mode off in Settings | Primary user(s), Folktells will not let anyone into the settings dialog without a 4 digit PIN code. (It’s 1234
) That way you can be confident that no settings will be changed by accident. For more details on what happens when you turn Storyteller mode off, please see our Personalize Folktells
How do I change the title of a story?
Folktells takes the title of a story from the name of the album. If you want to change it just edit the album title in the photos application on your device. Please see our learning article on Creating and Managing Storie
s for more details.
How do I get events to appear in Folktells?
Events are pulled from the calendar(s) on the device. Enter events into the calendar(s) as you normally would, then select the applicable calendar(s) in Folktells | Settings | Calendar. Any events in the selected calendar will appear in Folktells if they are scheduled within the default time frames. For more details on how to set up and use calendars, please see our Select calendar(s) to display
learning article. In normal mode, the event shown in the Happening Soon section is the next event scheduled within the next 3 days. Upcoming events shows events scheduled within the next week. If you have simple mode turned on, the time frames are shorter. For more details on what happens when you turn Simplified mode on, please see our Personalize Folktells
How do I prevent my parent from closing Folktells? (How to use kiosk mode)
Both Apple and Android devices have a ‘kiosk’ mode where the device can be locked into allowing the user to use only one application. By using this mode, you can be confident that a user who is easily confused won’t close Folktells and get lost by accident. For Apple devices, you can find instructions on how to enable ‘Guided Access’ on the Apple Support website
. For Android devices, you can find instructions on how to enable ‘screen pinning’ on the Android Support website
I don’t like the voice used to read the stories – can I change it?
Don’t like the voice used to read the stories? You can change it! Both iOS
have a variety of voices to choose from. The options will vary depending on the version of the OS on your device, and for Android, could also vary with the manufacturer.
If I have questions how do I get support?
We love to get feedback, feature requests and general questions. Get in touch
with us any time.
Is Folktells only for seniors?
Folktells is not only for seniors. We think we’ve crafted a great experience for seniors but as so often happens that turns out to be a great experience for other people as well. Any group of folk who want to share stories privately will love the ease-of-use and features of Folktells, especially if there are seniors, or other people in the group who find using technology a challenge. The whole family can get involved in building and supporting memories by creating stories to share with all ages of users.
Is Folktells simple to use for seniors?
Yes. We designed Folktells to be simple to use so that people wouldn’t get stuck. We know that things like dialog boxes that won’t go away can be confusing so we made an application without those kind of dead ends. Just as an example, every dialog box and secondary screen that appears will disappear automatically within a minute or so if no action is taken. That way Folktells is always on the same familiar screen. Anyone, even folk who think they can’t use apps, will find it easy to use Folktells.
Privacy: What kind of data do you collect?
When you launch Folktells for the first time, we ask you if you will share usage data with us. You can opt out of sharing that data. We want to collect data about basic usage patterns to help us learn what features are important to our users, and identify where we should concentrate our development efforts. When you agree to share usage information with us, we promise that:
- no personal or identifying information is ever collected,
- no content, story titles, noticeboard information, etc. is seen or stored with our analytics,
- the data we collect is never shared with or sold to anyone.
What devices does Folktells run on?
Folktells runs on any iOS device running version 10+ and any Android device running version 6+. For seniors and others who may have vision or other accessibility issues, the larger the screen the better, so a tablet is ideal.
What is Folktells?
Folktells is an app designed for families, especially families that include seniors, or anyone who can’t use common social media platforms to keep in touch. Rather than excluding them from our lives, Folktells enables everyone to keep those folk in the loop by sharing the stories of their daily lives. For more read our story of how Folktells came to be
What is Storyteller mode and how is it different?
Folktells can run in normal mode or Storyteller mode. The default is Storyteller. Storyteller mode provides additional options to allow folks to select which stories to display and create content for them. Noticeboard editing and calendar selection is also restricted to Storyteller mode. For users who are easily confused and may get lost in the additional settings and screens, turn Storyteller mode off to keep things simple. When Storyteller mode is turned off, users need to enter a 4-digit pin to enter the Folktells settings. This prevents inadvertent changes to the set up of the app. For more details on what happens when you turn Storyteller mode on or off, please see our Personalize Folktells
What is the purpose of the noticeboard?
The noticeboard (notices) is designed for information that should always be accessible. The details will vary depending on the individual but some uses we’ve seen for it are:
- Address information
- Phone number(s)
- Things to do
- Names of important folk
- Emergency contact information
- Favourite TV channels
- And more … limited only by your creativity
Having the information always at hand can benefit not only the primary user. Other family members, friends, and caregivers may also find the information useful.
What’s a story?
A Folktells story is a combination of photos & videos (based on the albums in your photos app or albums shared from Google Photos) along with some text that tells the story of those photos. You can add stories to the albums in the story selector. These stories are then available to be viewed and/or listened to at any time on that device. If you want to share stories with people on other devices, you & those you want to share with can enrol in a Share Plan as an in-app purchase. Please see our learning article on Creating and Managing Stories
for more details. Folktells will optionally offer a randomly selected story at times you can define in the settings to encourage engaging with the content. Please see our learning article on Scheduled Stories
for more details.
Why did you choose the name Folktells?
One of our major goals was to bring a range of folk closer together through shared stories. In other words, enabling folk to tell each other stories, so – Folktells.
Why do you charge for your app?
We do not sell ads in our app, nor do we sell your data to anyone. Many free apps support themselves in one or both of these ways – advertising and the sharing/sale of data collected from their users. We want to make Folktells the best way for you and your family & friends to share your lives with the seniors you love, while still protecting your data. To do that, we need to charge a small amount for the app so that we can devote our resources to improving and adding great features. On Apple devices, Folktells is part of Family Sharing
. On Android devices, Folktells is supports Family Library
. These programs allow you to share your purchase of the Folktells app with family members who are part of your app store accounts. Please note however, that family sharing of in-app purchases is not allowed by either Apple or Google.
Why does Folktells need permission for speech recognition or to record audio?
When Folktells offers to tell a story, it listens for voice confirmations using speech recognition. Instead of tapping a button, you can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Both iOS and Android support voice commands but when asking for permissions, they use different terminology. On iOS 10+, you will be prompted to allow access to speech recognition. On iOS 12+ you will also be prompted to allow access to the microphone. On Android, you will be prompted to allow Folktells to record audio. If you choose to deny permission for these features, you can still use all the functionality of Folktells but voice input will be disabled. If you at first deny access and later change your mind, you can grant permissions in the device system settings for Folktells.
Why does Folktells need permission to access my calendar?
Folktells uses the calendar(s) you already have in order to show your upcoming events. You need to allow access to your calendar in order for the feature to work. Folktells reads and displays your device calendar(s) but does not create create or edit events. For further details on calendar access and setup, please see our learning article
Why does Folktells need permission to access my photos?
Folktells allows you to turn the photo albums that you already have on your device into dynamic and informative stories that engage and entertain. In order to show you your albums, Folktells needs your permission to load your albums and photos. These permissions are only for local albums and photos, and on iOS, for albums shared via iCloud. To view albums shared through Google Photos, sign in with a google account in Sharing
. Please see our learning article and Creating and Managing Stories