Getting Started with Folktells

Getting Started with Folktells

Getting Started with Folktells

Whether you are setting up Folktells for yourself or a loved one, this article explains how to install our app and get off to a great start. Folktells runs on Apple mobile devices that have iOS 10+ or Android mobile devices that have Android 6+. The Folktells home screen shows everything important in one place – stories, calendar events, and important information are always in view. When choosing a device for a senior, someone who isn’t confident using a touch device, or someone who needs larger fonts, a large tablet is a great choice. On smaller tablets and phones Folktells has a tabbed main layout.

Download Folktells

Grant Permissions

Get Familiar

Share Some Stories


Set Up Calendars

Add Info to Noticeboard

Get a Share Plan

Download and install Folktells from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Available for iOS & Android
Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play


The first time you open Folktells it will prompt you to grant permissions to several system features. As each prompt appears it explains what permission Folktells needs and why. Tap Allow on Android and Ok on iOS.


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.On iOS 13+ you will need to allow access to all photos and albums in order for Folktells to be able to display them.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.

Voice Services

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. OniOS 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.


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.

The Folktells Home Screen

layout of Folktells
  1. The header area of Folktells shows a personalized greeting, time, date and weather.
  2. Stories and new messages rotate through the featured items area.
  3. More stories & messages can be discovered and managed by tapping the Sharing Hub area to the right of the features.
  4. Calendar events show what’s coming up. The calendars being displayed can be selected in the settings.
  5. Important information that doesn’t often change can be shown on the noticeboard.

What is a story?

Before you can write stories in Folktells, you need to have some photo albums. The albums can be on the local device, or they can be albums shared via iCloud (iOS only) or Google Photos (iOS & Android). 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 Sharing Hub. These stories are then available to be viewed and/or listened to at anytime 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 Storiesfor more details.

Share Photo Albums

  • Local albums: Stories can be created about albums on the same device. This is a great option if there is no internet connection available. You can transfer photos and videos from one device to another using Air Drop on iOS or Nearby Sharing on Android. If you have an internet connection available, you can download photos and videos from email or other online storage options such as Dropbox. Once you have the photos &videos on the device, organize them into albums in the photos or gallery app. As long as Folktells has permission to access the local photos, the albums will appear in the Sharing Hub where you can create your stories.
  • iCloud albums: If you share albums with family & friends using iCloud, the albums will appear in the iOS Photos app for everyone they are shared with. These albums will appear in Folktells in the same way that local albums do, as described above.
  • Google albums: You can also give Folktells permission to read your Google Photos albums. You can connect to your Google Photos account in Folktells by going to Sharing | Photos Albums and signing in with your Google account. For further details, please see our learning article on this topic.

Create & Manage Stories

Now that you have some albums of photos & videos, you can add the text that turns it into a story. Stories are added to albums by tapping on the Sharing Hub (see Get Familiar above). The Sharing Hub shows you all the albums that are available to Folktells. If you are creating stories on the device on which they will be enjoyed you need neither an internet connection or a Share Plan. If you want to share the stories from your device with groups of family &friends on their own devices, you can sign up for a Share Plan which is offered as an in-app purchase from the Share menu option inside Folktells. You can find a detailed description of creating and managing stories in our Learning articles. story prompt

Schedule stories to start automatically

If you are setting up Folktells for someone who isn’t confident using apps, you can set up a schedule for stories to be suggested at specified times of day. This way, even when you can’t be there to help, they will be given the option to enjoy some stories about their loves ones. For details instructions on how to schedule a story, please see our story schedule learning article.

Enjoy stories together remotely

If you have a Share Plan, you can enjoy a story with a loved one with a remote guided story session – controlling their device from your own. Chat by phone while you both look at the same photos at the same time.

Make Folktells Yours

personalized headerThere are a number of things that you can do to personalize and customize Folktells. Specify the name and location of the person using Folktells so that greetings and weather are personal. Depending on the capabilities of the person using Folktells, toggle Storyteller and Simplified mode off or on. There are also a number of accessibility options that can be customized as well. You can find detailed information in the learning article about this topic.

Calendar Events

calendar display The Folktells events display helps keep you informed about what’s coming up. Events that are happening in the next few days are an always visible, easy reference on the main screen. Events can be from calendar entries in the local device calendar (no internet required). If there is an internet connection, you can display a shared iCloud calendar, or you can add a google account to the device and use a shared Google calendar. By entering events into a shared calendar and connecting it to Folktells, you can keep your senior folk easily informed about what’s coming up. The event title, time & date, description, and location of events coming up in the next few days are an always visible, easy reference on the main screen. Learn more in our shared calendars article.

Update the Noticeboard

noticeboard The noticeboard is a go-to place to display information like important phone numbers for family, friends& care providers, the names and relationships of family members, TV channels, meal times, and more. See our noticeboard article for more details.

Share & Messaging Plans

Available as an in-app subscription, a Folktells Share Plan allows you to create groups of family and friends and share stories with them from afar. It’s a terrific way for the whole family to share their important and fun life events with parents and grandparents who aren’t typically following along on other social sharing platforms. To sign up, go to the Share Menu and tap one of the Share Plan options. For those older folk who don’t have a texting plan, a Share + Messaging subscription let’s them receive text & photo messages from anyone who wants to share the in-the-moment fun of their adventures. Once you have your Share Plan, you can create groups and invite friends & family to join in the fun!

You have a new message! Can I tell it to you now?

Share your in-the-moment adventures with messaging

Grab your tablet! I'll start the slideshow from here.

Can’t be physically together? Share some memories with a remote Guided Story Sharing session.