Before the demise of simple clamshell feature phones, selecting the best mobile phone for seniors was simple. There’s even a little cottage economy dedicated to marketing cell phones to senior citizens. Despite their small screens, these phones tended to have large buttons and large typography.
As networks around the country adopt LTE and 5G, 3G and other outdated technologies are being phased out, so this cottage business has all but dried up. As outdated network technology gets decommissioned, so too are the old voice-only flip phones that rely on it.
There is no single “senior” persona, and there is no unique “senior” cell phone; just because you’ve gone around the sun a few more times doesn’t imply you need a specific phone today.
That said, if you’re looking for “mobile phones for seniors,” you’re probably looking for simplicity of use and maybe accessibility features, so let’s have a look at our possibilities with those in mind.
The iPhone provides a user-friendly, curated experience that is reasonably easy to learn.
Tip: if the senior in question already knows how to use an iPad, they will be able to operate an iPhone as well.
The iPhone’s operating system is the same on all iPhone models, unlike Android phones, which have a broad range of interfaces. Of course, there are upgrades, and certain older iPhone devices may be unable to install them. Changing from an older iPhone to a newer iPhone, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as difficult as upgrading to a new operating system.
If you need accessibility capabilities to help with hearing or vision loss, the iPhone’s accessibility suite is the best available.
A Samsung mobile phone.
Samsung incorporates an easy-to-use function called Easy Mode that transforms any Galaxy smartphone into a more user-friendly version of itself, making it the ideal cell phone for the elderly.
In Easy Mode, only a few key characteristics are highlighted. The home screen transitions from a wide grid of apps to a much smaller grid of larger icons for only the apps you select. The phone dialer has larger buttons, and the settings menu has been simplified, among other things. The phone hasn’t been “dumbed down”; it can still perform all of the same functions. Easy Mode, on the other hand, emphasizes the essentials, such as email, web surfing, phone, text messaging, social networking, and other apps you choose.
How to turn on Easy Mode on Samsung Galaxy phones:
- Open Settings and tap Display.
- Tap on the Easy Mode toggle to turn it on.
A feature phone.
Simple feature phones are still available. However, they are the exception rather than the rule. In PC Mag’s review, the Nokia 225 4G is described as having “old-school style and old-school functions.” Here, simplicity is the watchword.
Other solutions are more specifically designed to help you unplug. The $350 (?!) Punkt MP02 makes a point of avoiding all but the most basic forms of communication. It takes aim at today’s smartphones’ “designed-for-addiction notifications” without requiring you to unplug completely.
With their emphasis on the essentials, either option (or another simple phone) could be ideal for seniors seeking cell phones.
An Android phone
With a simple app download, any Android phone can be customized with ease. The launcher in Android can be customized by users (basically, the look and feel of the phone itself).
BaldPhone and SimpleLauncher are among the most popular apps. MakeUseOf has done an excellent job of describing seven such apps, each with its own distinct approach but all aimed at making the Android experience easier for older users.