It’s official: Seniors have joined the smartphone revolution.1 But that doesn’t mean the “smart” transition is a piece of cake. There’s plenty to get used to, like emailing, video chatting, and making appointments by phone. Settings aren’t always easy to find. And for high-end models that have the gadgetry older folks want these days, prices can be prohibitive.
Going with an Android cell phone will solve most of those problems for seniors. Android phones are generally easy to use and have price points for practically every budget (from $35 to $399), which is a big plus for golden-agers on fixed incomes. Even if you’re not totally on board with the idea of using a smartphone yet, Androids come in a bunch of basic models that keep the tricky stuff to a minimum.
And that’s the only catch. Because there are so many Android phones out there, finding the one that will make you happy isn’t as easy as using an Android! Our Android buyer’s guide will be a big help in that direction, with quick breakdowns of the top Android cell phones for seniors, their standout features, and the best carriers to pair them with.
FYI: Taking your first steps in the cell phone market? Our seniors cell phone buyer’s guide offers an inside look at the best cell phones and cell phone plans for seniors around.
Our Top 5 Android Phones for Seniors
Our list starts at the tech-savvy end of the spectrum and makes its way down to more basic models. So if you’re looking for something really simple and practical, start with Consumer Cellular’s Link II at the bottom of our list.
Did You Know: Androids aren’t the only cell phones seniors are using. Plenty of older folks swear by Apple’s stylish but generally more pricey iPhones. Check out our guide to the best iPhones for seniors for tips on finding an iPhone to fit your budget.
We’re crazy about T-Mobile’s Unlimited 55+ senior cell phone plans and recommend pairing your Samsung Galaxy A11 with one. All of them are contract-free and offer unlimited talk, text, and data for as little as $27.50 per month.
If you want a bargain-basement prepaid plan, we’d also recommend checking out newcomer Mint Mobile. Mint’s no-nonsense cellular packages start at $15 per month.
The Samsung Galaxy A11 isn’t just our No. 1 Android pick for older adults who want the freedom to choose their own apps — it’s one of our top cell phone picks of 2023. The $180 A11 also has a very large screen, in case you want to magnify your text, and all modern accessibility features. You can take your Galaxy anywhere, but pairing it with a tried-and-tested T-Mobile senior plan is your best bet in our book. For a closer look at those plans, check out our hands-on T-Mobile Unlimited 55+ review.
If you choose a Jitterbug Smart3, you can’t use it with, say, AT&T. You’ll have to pair it with a Lively plan. Is this a problem? We don’t think so. Like T-Mobile, Lively’s senior cellular plans are truly aimed at older folks on fixed incomes. If 300 minutes of talk time per month is enough, you can get started for as little as $14.99 per month. For just $5 more, you can take advantage of Lively’s Unlimited Talk & Text plan.
Senior Safety Tip: You don’t need to be housebound to benefit from a medical alert button on your phone. In fact, many active older adults use medical alert buttons too. Check out our complete guide to medical alert systems to learn more about how medical alerts work and how much the top brands cost.
Many older folks these days are also looking for cell phone plans with data to stay connected to friends and family, especially since the pandemic has made face-to-face meetings impossible for a lot of seniors.2 Lively is a good bargain here too, with data packages starting at $2.49 per month.
In many ways, the Lively Smart3 is the perfect first smartphone for older adults. It combines the best exclusively senior features — big screen, easy interface, hearing aid compatibility, and medical alert button — with basic Android apps to help you stay connected with loved ones. The $149.99 price tag is competitive, and Lively Talk & Text plans are among the cheapest on the market, even if you add on 500 MB of data per month.
You can use your Sonim XP5s with most major cellular carriers, but we recommend pairing yours with one of AT&T’s senior-friendly plans. If you are 55+ and living in Florida, you can sign up for the AT&T Unlimited 55+ plan, starting at $40 per line with two lines. If you don’t live in Florida but still need data to stay connected, a basic AT&T Unlimited Starter plan is $35 per month.
Senior Tech Tip: You might not be able to do much browsing on your Sonim XP5s, but you can use your Sonim to connect up to 10 devices (including laptops and tablets) to the internet using its mobile hotspot technology.
The Sonim XP5s is a tank of a phone that you wouldn’t be able to break if you tried (but don’t try). That durability comes with a higher price tag ($399 upfront) than your average flip phone, but it also means your Sonim should last you longer. The XP5s doesn’t have the app variety or screen size of a Samsung Galaxy A11, so this phone is primarily for talking and messaging, but not necessarily surfing the web (even though you can). The sound quality is exceptionally good, and the coverage is way above average, even in rural areas.
While you don’t get the leeway to choose your carrier for the Lively Jitterbug Flip2 like you would with a Sonim XP5s or a Samsung Galaxy A11, you do get the benefit of an affordable monthly bill and a bargain phone made for seniors. To put that into context, the Jitterbug Flip2 is only $99.99. Lively senior plans start at $14.99 per month. Not bad at all.
The Jitterbug Flip2 is one of the easiest cell phones we’ve tested, and it didn’t get that way by accident. A lot of thought went into the Flip2’s easy-to-use menu and buttons. For older adults who live with chronic medical conditions, the Flip2’s Urgent Response button can literally be a lifesaver, giving instant access to certified healthcare professionals 24/7. When you consider its $99.99 price tag, you can see why this is one of the most popular phones on the market today for those 65 and over who want to keep things simple.
We didn’t pick our top Android cell phones out of a hat. We were looking for specific criteria.
Generally speaking, yes, Android phones are cheaper than iPhones.
No, you can’t. Jitterbugs come with fixed apps. If you want to be able to download apps, check out the Samsung Galaxy A11 (No. 1 on our list).
Not if staying connected just means talking and texting for you. But if you plan on doing a lot of video chatting, taking pictures, checking email, or surfing online, a Wi-Fi-ready smartphone is probably your best bet.
Yes, with most carriers, you can bring your current phone number with you when you sign up.
Ordering online may save you money, especially during promotions like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
For over five years, Taylor has been writing, editing, and researching products and services covering topics such as senior care and technology, Internet and the digital divide, TV, and entertainment, and education. Her research on media consumption and consumer behavior has been… Learn More About Taylor Shuman
AARP. (2020). Older Adults Keep Pace on Tech Usage.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Injury Prevention and Control: Keep on Your Feet.