As smartphones keep getting smarter and more complex, they also get more confusing for people who just want basic phone functionality. Luckily, seniors, and other people who like a simple, easy-to-use phone, don’t have to fret: plenty of companies are still manufacturing simple mobile phones and cell phones for seniors.
The best cell phones for seniors are easy to read, simple to use, and equipped with extra safety features. Today, there are a variety of phones that you can choose from depending on your needs, preferences, and level of tech savvy: you can opt for a flip phone, a basic, function-first phone, or a smartphone or tablet with tools in place to make it more accessible to those with hearing or vision issues. Whatever your needs, you’ll enjoy being able to communicate using one of these 10 best cell phones for seniors.
Many seniors just want a simple phone that can make calls and send texts. Options like the Light Phone 2, which is stripped down to just calls and messages, are an ideal choice. You could also try one of the Doro Phone Easy models, which have widely spaced buttons that are easier for shaky fingers to press, and shortcut keys for calling favorite contacts. The more recent 740 model includes senior-friendly apps and, if the phone’s owner has trouble setting up preferences, relatives can take control of the phone to fix things and set up the shortcuts.
The Snapfon EZ models also have an easy-to-use keyboard with large buttons. Similarly, the Jitterbug Flip presents a simplified phone menu which can be navigated using arrow buttons instead of a touchscreen. It also offers voice dialing, which is a useful feature for weak or trembling hands.
Seniors who want smartphones can also find simplified options here. The Samsung Note has an “Easy” mode which shows larger icons and a cleaner layout with just your 6 favorite apps on the home screen. The JItterbug Smart 2 is a smartphone designed expressly for seniors and includes apps like cameras, email, and internet connections, but with larger icons, an easier navigation system, and voice typing.
If your hearing or vision is suffering but you still like having your gadgets, the GrandPad offers a great alternative. This large tablet features audio and video calls, as well as plenty of smart capabilities such as internet, music streaming, and photos.
For seniors and anyone with poor eyesight, smartphone screens can be hard to read at the best of times. When you’re using it outside or in bright sunlight, it can be even harder. It’s helpful that the iPhone 6 has accessibility settings which allow users to adjust the size of the font, contrast, brightness and colors for maximum visibility. The Samson Galaxy Note is a great phone for elderly users with vision issues due to its enlarged font and intuitive layout. With Snapfon EZ, users enjoy a clear black and white display that is designed for the best possible visibility.
For the hearing-impaired, finding a cell phone that is hearing aid compatible can make an enormous difference to their ability to connect with family and friends. The Jitterbug Smart 2 shows its senior-friendly credentials again with hearing aid compatibility. The Smart also offers a louder than usual speakerphone. As well as hearing aid compatibility, the Doro PhoneEasy has a visual ring indicator on the outside of the phone, so that anyone with hearing difficulties will also get a visual cue to answer the phone.
iPhone 6 users can tweak the volume and switch on the hearing aid support on their phones in order to improve audio quality. Along similar lines, the Moto G7 by Motorola has an active noise cancellation feature that offers a special microphone to reduce background noise and make phone conversations sharper and clearer.
Both seniors and their loved ones have a lot of appreciation for cell phones that come with extra safety features. Both of the Jitterbug phones—the Jitterbug Smart and Jitterbug Flip—are produced by GreatCall, which integrates with the 5Star Urgent Response service. This gives the user a single emergency button that’s built into the phone. When it’s pressed, it makes an urgent call to a 5Star agent who responds to calls 24/7, can call emergency services, summon medical assistance, and identify the caller’s location. The Smart model also offers optional health and safety features, like medication reminders and easy access to professional medical support.
Doro’s PhoneEasy flip models all include a large, red, emergency call button on the back of the phone where it can easily be reached to call 911 or an emergency contact. The integrated GPS technology makes it easy to identify your location, too. Snapfon EZ also has a red SOS button that connects the caller to a OneCall support agent. The agent can call emergency services or a designated contact.
For many seniors, choosing the best cell phone means deciding between weight and size. On the one hand, having a larger phone usually means getting a bigger screen and larger buttons, which will make it much easier to use. However, the downside to a larger phone is that it tends to be heavier and bulkier too. The appeal of the Nokia 105 is precisely because it is small and light. The screen isn’t large, but it is simple and easy to read so that seniors can make calls and send texts without worry. The Light Phone 2 similarly lives up to its name by being only around the size of a credit card and weighing just a few grams. It’s small enough not to weigh anyone down.
Plugging in a cell phone to charge is just another item that needs to be remembered in a busy life. Whether you’re too busy to charge your phone or your memory isn’t what it used to be, a cell phone with a long battery life saves you from having to charge it on a regular basis. The Nokia 105 is famed for its low power needs. You can go for as long as a month between charges if it’s on standby and a week or more with active use. The Light Phone 2 has a similarly impressive battery life. Once charged, you can manage up to 20 days before charging it again.
Without the confusion of a cluttered interface and with the added benefits of simple buttons, easy-to-read screens, and extra safety features, there are plenty of options for seniors to stay in touch with family and friends. Simple mobile phones are a great way for seniors to stay connected without being bogged down. No matter what you’re looking for, there's a straightforward cell phone to suit your needs.