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Cell phones for seniors: Smart and not so smart options to consider
If you need a cell phone for a senior relative or are an older person in the market yourself, there is plenty to keep in mind. As capable as the best smartphones are, they’re not always the easiest to use. That can be a big problem for anyone jumping into a new operating system.
So what are the best cell phones for seniors? This guide answers this question by giving you several options in the smart and ‘traditional’ phone realms.
How to pick the right phone for a senior
If you plan to pick up a new phone for yourself or a family member, you have a few considerations to make.
Should you get them a smartphone, or is a feature phone better?
First, do they want or need a smartphone? While some seniors love being connected to their friends, family, and information at all times, others want a simple calling and texting device.
Simplicity is key
While you may like all those fancy features and complex customization capabilities, most seniors won’t. They want a simple phone that they can use without much messing around with. Look for a phone that gets straight to the point. Nothing fancy.
Picking the right screen
Senior citizens also commonly want a larger screen that can display magnified content. This is especially the case for users with limited vision.
Watch out for audio, too
Likewise, it might be essential to get a device that can get significantly loud, if they have any hearing problems. Many devices now support hearing aids, too.
Senior specialized features
Some devices even offer specialized features like emergency shortcuts, simplified user interfaces, accessibility features for seniors and disabled users, etc. You might want to look at some of these options and see if they might be of benefit.
Some say growing old is kind of like becoming a kid again. That’s all subjective, but we do know that motor functions are affected by age. Senior citizens may lose balance, trip, or drop things more often than younger adults. It’s important to have a phone that can take a tumble or two, maybe even a dunk in water.
While not too important, having something that is IP-rated might be important. At the very least, it shouldn’t be a very delicate phone that will crack at the first fall.
The best phones for seniors
Editor’s note: We will regularly update this list of the best cell phones for seniors as new devices launch.
The best smartphones for seniors
Jitterbug Smart 3
Jitterbug is a brand created by Lively. It is intended to help the elderly with their smartphone needs by providing an interface that is easy to use, and offering emergency services that are easily accessible. The Jitterbug Smart 3 offers all this and more.
The phone boasts a large 6.22-inch display, which may make for a slightly awkward handling experience for some, but the icons and other elements on the screen are much easier to see with the larger screen. A simple menu is organized as a single list, allowing all your essential information to be within easy reach.
Lively offers affordable plans and access to a slew of valuable car, medical, and emergency services right at your fingertips. The device is also hearing aid compatible and comes with 4G connectivity. It’s also very affordable, so there is no need to splurge on an expensive device.
The GrandPad technically isn’t a phone for seniors. Instead, it’s a convenient 8-inch tablet that comes preloaded with 11 simple apps, some of which let you stay connected with friends and family. Its large size makes navigation a breeze, and the apps feature large and informative labels. The GrandPad includes a handy stylus, so your loved ones should be able to navigate easily.
Instead of fumbling around with a tiny USB cable, the GrandPad charges with an included wireless cradle. The creators behind the GrandPad seem to have thought of every detail that can make life just a little bit easier. If you’re worried about control, the GrandPad offers a companion app where you can share pictures and make calls like you would with any other phone.
Light Phone 2
The Light Phone 2 isn’t exactly made for the elderly, but it offers a proposition that could make it one of the best phones for seniors. The idea is that the Light Phone 2 is a super simple device that mixes the benefits of a feature phone with some of the conveniences that come with an intelligent device.
This handset offers an E-ink display, which helps extend the battery life up to 13 days. You can use it to make calls and send texts, but it can also take advantage of alarms, a music player, a podcast tool, navigation, and more. It can also connect to 4G LTE and work as a hotspot for other Wi-Fi devices, making it an excellent choice for seniors who may also have a tablet.
You can opt for one of the company’s plans, or grab the unlocked version and pick your carrier of choice. It’s also not a cheap phone, but it’s simple, clean, portable, and convenient, especially when looking for simple functionality.
Google Pixel 6a
While the Google Pixel 6a isn’t made specifically for seniors, it works very well for them. It’s actually one of the best budget phones around, and will still offer a near-premium experience. It will be a nice treat for anyone, and it won’t break the bank.
The performance is excellent, the display is enjoyable, and it’s still a very competitive camera phone. Seniors can watch videos, take great pictures with family, and more. And because it is a Google phone, the user interface is as simple as Android can get. It also has some tools seniors will enjoy, just in case they need a bit more help using the phone.
Google integrates a lot of accessibility tools to help seniors and disabled people. You can use features like TalkBack, which will speak out items on the screen. The display size and text can be customized, items can be magnified, the Accessibility Menu can help control the device with large options, Voice Access makes it possible to control the device using your voice, and you can even amplify sound and connect hearing aids to it.
Of course, you’ll need to enable all these features first. Let’s show you how it’s done.
How to access Accessibility features on Pixel 6a:
- Open the Settings app.
- Go into Accessibility.
- Go through all the options and customize them to your liking.
iPhone 14 series
Yes, we know we are an Android site, but the reality is that the easier-to-use UI makes the iPhone much easier to learn for those new to smartphones, seniors included. After all, if your parents or grandparents have questions, they might be easier to answer with an iOS device. Apple’s current flagship lineup includes powerhouses like the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, but those are overkill for most seniors and should be reserved for more demanding users, or those who need a much larger screen.
An iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Plus should be good for most seniors. These also offer outstanding performance, among the industry’s best design and build quality, high-definition screens, and an overall good experience. Not to mention Apple has stores nationwide, and the company is known for its superb customer service. This means seniors can always walk into an Apple Store to get help. In fact, the company is known for offering in-person classes for using its products. You might not even need to teach your loved ones how to use their phones!
For a more affordable alternative, you might also want to take a look at the iPhone SE (2022). It’s smaller and more manageable. It could be an excellent phone for seniors.
Great software support
Updated 12MP camera
Large-display base model iPhone
Upgraded main camera
The best feature phones for seniors
Jitterbug Flip 2
If this flip phone’s name seems familiar, it’s because we also featured one of its smartphones above. This Jitterbug Flip 2 offers a super-simple experience, large buttons, and that flip phone form factor many love. However, what makes it one of the best phones for seniors isn’t the design, as there are many similar flip phones.
Like its bigger brother, the Jitterbug Flip 2 has an SOS button to contact emergency services. Text and content look large, and you get to enjoy easy ridesharing shortcuts, as well as access to Amazon Alexa.
Nokia 2780 Flip
The best phones for seniors don’t have to be made specifically for seniors. A simple flip phone like the Nokia 2780 Flip might do the trick. It has a simple UI, large buttons, easy operation, and a flip form. Not to mention it’s very affordable.
It’s available unlocked, so you should be able to take it to your favorite carrier. It also has an 18-day standby battery life, which is outstanding.
Do you remember the good ol’ Nokia feature phones? Your grandparents surely do! They were simple, easy, portable, and resistant. That’s what the 8210 is trying to recapture. It resurrects the classic design with a slightly updated look, but you can still play Snake, which is what matters.
Nokia’s 8210 should work on most GSM networks, and it has 4G LTE support. The device is as simple as they get, and the best part is that battery life can extend to as much as 29.4 days! It’s also pretty affordable.
The Punkt MP02 is as simple as they get. It has large buttons and straightforward operations. You can pretty much make calls and texts. It’s a minimalist handset from beginning to end.
Why get it over one of the other feature phones? After all, the Punkt MP02 is significantly more expensive. The main lure here is that the Punkt MP02 comes with 4G LTE connectivity and can be used as a hotspot to keep other Wi-Fi devices connected.
Easyfone Prime A6
The Easyfone Prime A6 is among the best phones for seniors thanks to its very large buttons, which make it easy to dial. Additionally, the UI is straightforward, and the experience is straightforward.
The phone has no real bells or whistles, but it is affordable, and you get some emergency and SOS features to keep the elderly safe. There’s also a flashlight, and you get a charging dock for easier charging.
Also, consider a launcher
The beauty of Android is that you’re not only limited to the devices above. You can always pick up a smartphone that fits your budget and download a third-party launcher that fits your needs. Some launchers offer convenient features for seniors.
We would suggest that you check out Simple Launcher. It’s free and offers a super-simple interface, as the name entails. There’s a quick dial option for calling friends and family right from the home screen, and you even get an SOS button to call your emergency contact and send a text when in danger. Of course, there are plenty of other customizations you can apply.
We also like Big Launcher‘s fast and simple Android interface for seniors and people with vision problems. It makes smartphones suitable for seniors, children, and people with eye diseases, motor problems, or the legally blind. Visually impaired and technically challenged users can use the simple and easy-to-read interface. There is no fear of making a mistake and losing everything with stress-free navigation, and it also features an SOS button. Large texts and color-coded icons make everything easy to use and leave no room for errors, and the app comes with multiple language support.
With the right launcher, you have no limitations. You can go for any of the best Android phones, best budget Android phones, or even the best rugged phones.