Elderly people often have a hard time finding a mobile phone with which they feel comfortable and can use hassle-free. This is quite normal considering they are not digital natives – meaning they weren’t born or raised with technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or touchscreens. Believe it or not but learning these things at a certain age can be quite difficult.

Mobile technology is one of the hallmarks of our era, and it has led to the greatest communication revolution in history. As such, it has impacted all generations and is accessible to all ages. However, finding the right smartphone for seniors so that they can make the most of it is not an easy task. In our guide below, you’ll learn everything there is to know about these mobile phones.

Key Facts

  • Smartphones for seniors are mobile phones that integrate all or most existing communication technologies. However, their main characteristic is that they feature more intuitive design, interface, functions, and navigation for elderly people to learn to use them more easily.
  • The idea behind smartphones for seniors is to ensure that this population group – generally unfamiliar with the latest technologies – can always stay connected. This is also important for their families, or even for their healthcare providers.
  • Seniors generally want simplicity when they’re looking for a smartphone. Convenient and accessible software, large icons and numbers, loud and clear sounds, and a functional keyboard are some of the key purchasing criteria that we’ll discuss in our article.

Our Selection: The Best Smartphones for Seniors on the U.S. Market

While it is true that generalizing wouldn’t be fair to all the seniors that do adapt more quickly to technological advances, we can honestly say that they don’t handle smartphones with the same ease as younger generations. This is why choosing the right model for them will make their life all that much easier. In the following section, you can discover our selection of the best products in the market.

Best Smartphone with Charging Dock

Easyfone’s Prime A1 flip phone was designed specifically with the needs of the elderly in mind, starting from its clamshell design that prevents pocket dials and unwanted calls. Its keypad features large buttons that are well spaced out so that the user doesn’t make typing errors, with big icons and font for easier navigation. Delivered with a dock to keep the device charged at all times, this phone also includes a camera.

Best Touchscreen Smartphone

The Jitterbug Smart2 is one of the most comprehensive models for seniors on the market, including the majority of features found in regular smartphones. However, it is intended to be easy to use for elderly people with a no-frills menu from which you can directly access all of its functions. You’ll be able to navigate the Internet, take photos, or find your way around the city using its straightforward touchscreen.

Best Smartphone with SOS Button

Snapfon is a company that focuses solely on providing quality smartphones for seniors, and its ezTWO model is an incredibly simple device that fulfills all the basic functions that these users need. Its most appealing feature is naturally the SOS button placed on the back, which can call family members or emergency services when pressed. It also features a camera, large buttons for typing and a LED flashlight.

Best Flip Phone

This flip phone by GreatCall is another easy-to-use yet quality device that has met the needs of hundreds of customers already. The use of the keypad is minimized for the most essential functions, and seniors can easily answer and hang up calls by simply flipping it open or shut. The speaker button located directly on the keypad is another useful feature that makes talking simpler for those who have hearing impairments.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Smartphones for Seniors

Our grandparents, and seniors in general, must remain connected to live more comfortably and address their own needs. The problem is that many find next-generation phones difficult to handle, which is why opting for a smartphone for seniors is the best way to offer them connectivity and simplicity. In the following section, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions regarding these devices.

Los smartphones para mayores son móviles que traen incorporadas todas o casi todas las tecnologías de comunicación existentes.

Elderly people can also make great use of smartphones.
(Source: Dmitriy Shironosov: 34852159/ 123rf.com)

What are smartphones for seniors exactly?

These mobile phones are designed and geared towards the needs of the elderly. This means that all or the majority of today’s standard mobile phone features are adapted so that seniors can use them more easily and comfortably. In that regard, there is a special emphasis on the main functions such as calls, messaging, audio and searching for frequent contacts.

Why do seniors need smartphones?

As we mentioned earlier, elderly people aren’t digital natives and didn’t grow up using smartphones. Most of them didn’t need these devices in their work or family life. Nowadays, however, most of society interacts and communicates using these mobile phones. The incredible number of benefits and features they offer makes them difficult to assimilate.

This is why many manufacturers have started marketing smartphones for seniors, with the aim of reducing the more complex functions and facilitating use. Elderly people can therefore become an integral part of the hyper-connected world in which we live, which is particularly useful to meet various needs.

Edgewood HealthcareAmerican Healthcare Company

“Today’s smartphones often feature locks that require a fingerprint or code to enter the phone. However, they also have an emergency mode that anyone can reach where a senior can store pertinent medical and personal information. If a senior fell while running errands and was unresponsive, a good Samaritan or an emergency medical professional could quickly learn the person’s name and any allergies or conditions that he or she may be affected by.”

How are smartphones for seniors different from regular smartphones?

The main goal of smartphones for seniors is that their basic features are easy to use while providing the highest possible quality. Regular smartphones – in particular next-gen models – integrate much more sophisticated features that the elderly often find complex or unnecessary. We’ve summed up the main differences in the following table:

Smartphones for seniors Regular smartphones
Design They are generally compact and resistant to falls and accidental blows. Their design tends to be more sophisticated, with less resistant but more aesthetic materials. They do not feature clamshell designs.
Screen It is usually small (no more than 3 inches). The screen covers all or most of the front face of the device. It is tactile and includes different sensors, such as fingerprint ones for security purposes.
Battery Its great autonomy can last several days. These phones are sold with a charging dock and a USB cable. Apart from very few exceptions, the batteries won’t last more than a day. They don’t come with charging docks, although wireless models are becoming increasingly common.
Applications They feature little to no pre-installed apps to prioritize calls, messaging and contacts. Many of these phones also have an application to listen to the radio. The pre-installed applications included depend on the smartphone manufacturer and range from news services, calendars, virtual assistants and electronic wallets.

Why do the batteries have so much autonomy?

This is due to the fact that the processors don’t need to work as hard since there are fewer applications running. As we said, few come pre-installed and seniors don’t usually install additional ones. In fact, elderly users rarely surf the Internet or have social media accounts, allowing the battery to take care of basic functions only.

Las características que más buscan las personas mayores en un smartphone son aquellas que simplifican su uso

This type of mobile phone is designed specifically to help the elderly.
(Source: Dmitriy Shironosov: 62299022/ 123rf.com)

What do elderly users prioritize?

When it comes to smartphones, the very first need for seniors is that they are easy to understand and use. In order to do so, the screen interface must be very simple, and the icons should be large and clearly seen. The same goes for keyboards: the characters must be big enough to be easily identified and pressed.

Do these smartphones have an Internet connection?

This actually depends a lot. While you can easily find models that do have an Internet connection allowing you to access applications and messaging services such as WhatsApp, there are many that do not. Some people believe that the latter should not be called smartphones at all. The model you should buy will be influenced by the profile and ability of the user.

What are the benefits of smartphones for seniors?

This type of mobile phone has been designed to help the elderly become an integral part of the hyper-connected world in which we live. Grandchildren can now communicate with their grandparents, who can have a valuable tool in case of specific needs or emergency. We’ve listed the main advantages and drawbacks of these devices in the table below:

Advantages
  • They are very resistant to falls and blows
  • People can quickly learn to use them
  • They have a lot of autonomy
  • Seniors have a safe, immediate and accessible means of communication
  • Some models include additional features such as cameras and flashlights
Disadvantages
  • Many models don’t include access to the Internet
  • The cameras tend to be very basic
  • They can quickly become obsolete

Why do these smartphones sometimes have a clamshell design?

Since elderly people aren’t very familiar with these devices, it is quite common for them to press numbers or keys by mistake or pocket dial. The clamshell design is a great fix for this problem, as it covers the whole keyboard and prevents unintentional calls that can end up being very expensive.

You may also configure smartphones for seniors so that flipping it open or shut performs different functions. That way, elderly people can automatically answer and hang up all their calls. This is particularly useful for seniors who prefer calling rather than sending messages.

Jonathan Joe & George Demiris in Older Adults and Mobile Phones for Health: Review

“As of 2012, 69% of older adults aged 65 or older owned a cell phone. Over the next 20 years, the number of adults aged 65 years or older in the United States is projected to grow briskly, rising from 40 million in 2010 to 72 million in 2030.”

What is the SOS button?

Many mobile phones for seniors feature an SOS button for emergencies on their clamshell cover. This is how it works: when the button is pressed for a long time, the phone automatically starts calling contacts that have already been pre-selected and registered in the system. If the first contact doesn’t answer, the phone moves on to the next contact.

Las personas mayores no solamente no son nativas digitales, sino que además tampoco han crecido con el uso de smartphones ni los han necesitado en su vida laboral o familiar.

Many smartphones for seniors have an emergency button on their external cover.
(Source: Katarzyna Białasiewicz: 42421002/ 123rf.com)

Is the voice function useful for seniors?

Many elderly people have visual and hearing impairments, which makes it difficult for them to use the keypad to call or send messages. The voice function allows them to perform these functions automatically at the touch of a button. That being said, the audio system must be good and the volume turned up.

Buyer’s Guide

Nowadays, it is very difficult for a senior to live and communicate without a smartphone. Elderly people naturally want to interact with their friends and family, and they may also have emergencies that require immediate attention. If you’re unclear about the model you should opt for, we’ve prepared a list of purchasing criteria to help you make your decision.

  • Software
  • Screen
  • Keyboard
  • Battery
  • Emergencies

Software

The main aspect that differentiates these models from regular smartphones is the software. It has to be first and foremost clear and simple. Elderly people aren’t looking for complex features or very comprehensive ways to navigate their mobile phones. The basic use they want requires a basic software, which is defined by its internal settings.

View this post on Instagram

Spring is here! 💐Snapfon is wishing you a wonderful Easter week with friends and family! . . The ezTWO 3G makes a wonderful gift for Grandma, Grandpa, or any person with a visual or hearing impairment! With big buttons that speak when pressed, an easy to read screen, and sos button that sounds an alarm the ezTWO 3G can be the perfect phone! . . Please visit us online at www.snapfon.com or give us a call 800-937-1532 to learn more. . . . #snapfon #cellphone #phone #mobile #mobilephone #sos #sosbutton #emergencyresponse #emergency #senior #seniorcitizen #sosplus #sosplusmobile #fone #cellular #cellularnetwork #network #phonenetwork #seniorphone #phoneforseniors #bigbuttonphone #bigbuttoncellphone #hearingaid #hearingaidcompatible #elderly #elderlycellphone #elderlyphone #eztwo3g #springsales #phonecases

A post shared by Snapfon (@snapfon_) on

Screen

The screen is the very first aspect that a senior tries to understand when buying a smartphone. While they don’t need a FullHD interface like those found in high-end models, they should still have a quality screen. Icons, navigation menus, and inscriptions should be large, with clear and easy-to-read letters.

Keyboard

The keyboard tends to be the hardest thing for seniors to handle correctly. They often find it hard to differentiate the keys or make typing errors if they’re too close together. This is why you should check that the distribution of the buttons is optimal and easy to use. As we mentioned earlier, a model with a clamshell design will also help prevent pocket dials.

Battery

It is essential that a senior’s smartphone always has battery in case of a need or emergency. The good news is that most models have a very large autonomy. That being said, you should make sure that the batteries are at least 700 mAh and that the mobile phone doesn’t have applications that consume a lot of energy.

View this post on Instagram

Snapfon brings you the easy to see, easy to hear, and easy to use ezTWO 3G cell phone. Created for users with visual or hearing impairments. This phone is compatible with hearing aids (M3/T3) and features a 120db siren activated through the SOS button on the reverse side of the phone. An additional feature to this phone is our SOSPlus Mobile Monitoring Service which can be activated through the SOS button and connects you to our SOSPlus agents. These agents have information previously provided to them by you which will help contact friends, family, and emergency responders. The ezTWO 3G is now only 29.99 with service plan activation!Find out more information on our ezTWO 3G and the SOSPlus Mobile Monitoring Service on our website www.snapfon.com or call (800)937-1532 . . . #snapfon #bigbuttonphone #cellphone #phone #senior #visualimpairment #hearingaid #eztwo3G #cellphoneforseniors #seniorcellphone #seniorcitizen #sosplus #sosplusmobilemonitioringservice #loudsiren #emergencyservice #emergency #elderly #mobile #mobilemonitoring #hearing #sight #easytouse #simple #simplephone #handset #handsetreplacement #phoneservice #phonecompany #cellphonecompany #snapfonmobile

A post shared by Snapfon (@snapfon_) on

Emergencies

As we discussed previously, emergency calls are one of the main reasons elderly people look for smartphones. This is why the emergency button featured on many devices can be extremely useful. If the model you’re interested in doesn’t have this button, other settings can fulfill the same function and should be taken into account.

Summary

Smartphones for seniors are mobile devices whose operation, features and design are simplified to make them easier to use. The elderly aren’t necessarily very familiar with mobile technology, and they can take advantage of the communication advantages offered by these products – mostly making calls and sending messages.

These mobile devices are characterized by their simple interface, a quality screen, and an easy-to-use keypad. Their batteries tend to have a lot of autonomy, but keep in mind that not all models have access to the Internet. Many of them feature an SOS button to quickly call selected contacts in case of emergency.

If you liked our guide on smartphones for seniors, feel free to share it with your contacts so that others can also learn about their incredible benefits. We’re confident that the information you read in our article will help you make the right purchase. Don’t forget to leave us a comment in the section below, and we’ll be happy to get back to you as soon as possible!

(Source of featured image: Rido: 56370537/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.