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Easiest Cell Phones for Seniors to Use

Our team researched and tested the simplest cell phones on the market to find our top five picks for the easiest to use cell phones for seniors

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Cell phones keep seniors connected and safe, but only if they know how to use them. If you’re looking to join the 91 percent of seniors age 65+ who own cell phones1 or just want an upgrade, let us help! We’ve compiled a list of the easiest to use cell phones for seniors.

How We Chose the Easiest to Use Phones for Seniors

After hours of research and testing, our team created a list of the top six easiest to use cell phones for older adults. We evaluated each phone’s usability, size, quality, plan options, and other senior-friendly features to create our ranked results. Our final list includes several different phone styles, but all five are simple for seniors to use.
Some of the most important metrics we considered were:

  • Senior-friendly features: Every phone on our list is designed to meet the needs of older adults. They have bigger buttons and icons, larger and brighter screens, adjustable speakers, optional safety features, and easy-to-grip designs.
  • Usability: We only included phones with simple interfaces that are easy to navigate. In our book, the more straightforward a phone is, the better!
  • No long-term contracts: All of the phones listed give month-to-month options for flexibility. Seniors who become more comfortable with technology can switch to a more advanced phone without costly cancellation fees. Talk about no strings attached.
  • 1. Alcatel GO FLIP 3 from T-Mobile

    Why It Made the Cut

    If you desire some of the useful features of a smartphone without the frills of an actual smartphone, the Alcatel GO FLIP 3 may be just what you’re looking for. The pocket-sized flip phone has some high-tech features such as Google Assistant, mobile hotspot, and email capabilities. But, it is still great for older adults who are new to mobile devices, thanks to its large buttons, simple menu, and intuitive design. This balance of simplicity and modern technology at a great price is why the Alcatel GO FLIP 3 from T-Mobile debuted at the top of this list.

    We can’t mention T-Mobile without acknowledging T-Mobile’s competitive pricing and unique 55+ plans. That’s right, T-Mobile designed these plans specifically with the budgets and lifestyles of older adults in mind! With plans starting at $40 a month for one line and nationwide availability, we’re impressed with the provider’s effort to serve seniors with extra perks and affordable plans. Read our full review of T-Mobile’s 55+ plans for more details.

    Go Flip 3 from T-Mobile

    Go Flip 3 from T-Mobile

    Overview of Offerings

    Camera quality 2MP
    Device cost $100
    Monthly rates starting at $40 per month (for one line)
    Cellular network T-Mobile
    Hearing aid compatibility M4/T4 rating
    Contracts No long-term contracts
    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Affordable flip phone
    • Internal and external display
    • Built-in Google Assistant
    • Large keypad
    • M4/T4 hearing aid compatibility
    • Bluetooth compatibility
    • Mobile hotspot
    Cons
    • Low-end 2MP camera
    • Battery life of only 7.9 hours
    • No built-in flashlight

    Who Is Alcatel GO FLIP 3 Best For?

    • Seniors who want a flip phone with some modern capabilities
    • Older adults on a budget
    • Couples who want the benefits of T-Mobile’s 55+ plans
    • Seniors with diminished eyesight
    • Those who will mainly use their mobile phone for texting and calling

    What to Know Before Purchasing

    We have to say, the Alcatel GO FLIP 3 doesn’t have the best camera. You’ll still be able to take photos of your sweet grandkids or furry friends, but just know they won’t be super high quality. For seniors planning to use their mobile device for texting and phone calls primarily, the Alcatel GO FLIP 3 will be sufficient.

    Inside Tip: Our cell phones for seniors buyer’s guide has everything you need to know about the top cell phone carriers, best senior phone features, and how to choose a phone plan that meets your needs.

    To get the most bang for your buck with any T-Mobile phone, we recommend adding an extra line to your plan. T-Mobile gives a significant discount when you add a second line. We love a good discount! One line is $40 per month, while two lines cost $55 per month ($27.50 per line). T-Mobile does charge some extra taxes and fees, so factor that in when you’re considering monthly charges.

  • 2. Lively Flip

    Why It Made the Cut

    The Lively Flip phone had everything we were looking for in an easy-to-use flip phone with urgent response capabilities. It features a long-lasting battery, a powerful speaker, big buttons, a large screen, and a magnifier with a flashlight for starters. That means it’s excellent for older ears, eyes, and fingers. Plus, if you have a hard time remembering to charge your devices, the battery life will come in handy; just plug in your Lively Flip every night before bed, and you’ll be set. Older adults also enjoy voice control with the built-in Amazon Alexa assistant. Sending long texts to the family will be a cinch using just the sound of your voice!

    Plus, we love that this flip phone doubles as an easy-to-use personal safety device. The basic Health & Safety Package ($19.99 per month) provides seniors access to Urgent Response if you need help during an emergency. Just press the big red Urgent Response button to connect with an IAED-Certified Response Agent.

    Lively Flip

    Lively Flip

    Overview of Offerings

    Camera quality Main camera: 8MP; Front camera: 2MP
    Device cost $99.99
    Monthly rates starting at $14.99 (talk and text)
    Health & Safety Packages $19.99 to $34.99 per month
    Cellular network Verizon
    Hearing aid compatibility M4/T4 rating
    Contracts No long-term contracts
    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Simple and easy to use
    • Amazon Alexa capable
    • Powerful speaker
    • Hearing aid compatibility
    • Urgent Response and Lyft connections
    • Variety of Health and Safety packages
    Cons
    • No Internet connectivity
    • Extra fee for Health and Safety packages

    Who Is Lively Flip Best For?

    • Seniors who don’t want a smartphone
    • Older adults who need extra safety features
    • Families who want the Lively Link app to keep track of their loved one
    • Seniors who want to keep the same phone number
    • Those looking for voice control

    What to Know Before Purchasing

    Lively uses the Verizon network, so don’t go with this option if you don’t have reliable Verizon service in your area. Make sure you explore all of the Lively plans and pricing so you don’t pay for more than you need. The Lively Flip offers several packages with the most expensive—Unlimited Talk & Text + Ultimate Health & Safety—costing $54.99 per month. However, there are plenty of more affordable plans to choose from, starting at $14.99 per month for 300 minutes. Take some time to consider how much you plan to use the phone and what you will use it for. Keep in mind, the Health & Safety Packages available with the Lively Flip and Lively Smart are optional. If you’re uninterested in these features, you can use your Lively phone to simply text, call, and have monthly data.

  • 3. Lively Smart

    Why It Made the Cut

    Did you know that smartphones are now more popular among seniors than regular cell phones?1 It’s all thanks to smartphones like the Lively Smart, aka “the simplest smartphone ever.” Its large 6.2-inch screen features a simple, list-based menu. Older adults can easily navigate between email, maps and directions, camera, text messages, and more. A front-facing speaker and camera make video chatting simple. No more awkward video calls where you see your grandkids, but they only see your carpet. The Lively Smart is excellent for older adults who want to dip their toes in smartphone tech for the first time without being overwhelmed by complicated features.

    The Lively Smart offers the same Health & Safety Packages as the Lively Flip, so it’s great for those who want to stay connected and protected with one sleek device. After in-depth research and testing, we awarded Lively five out of five stars. Check out our Lively phone review for the inside scoop.

    Lively Smart

    Lively Smart

    Overview of Offerings

    Camera quality 13MP with flash
    Device cost $149.99
    Monthly rates starting at $14.99 (talk and text); $2.49 (data)
    Health & Safety Packages $19.99 to $34.99 per month
    Cellular network Verizon
    Hearing aid compatibility M4/T4 Rating
    Contracts No long-term contracts
    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Large 6.2” screen
    • Voice typing
    • Video chat capabilities
    • 13 MP camera for clearer photos
    • 5Start Urgent Response
    • Internet access
    • Simple list-style menu
    Cons
    • Urgent Response and safety packages cost extra
    • $35 additional activation fee

    Who Is Lively Smart Best For?

    • Seniors looking for an easy-to-use smartphone
    • Older adults who drive and need mobile directions
    • Seniors who want a hybrid phone and personal safety device
    • Families who want the Lively Link app to keep an eye on their loved one
    • Older adults who want video call functionality

    What to Know Before Purchasing

    Before you choose the Lively Smart, check Verizon coverage in your area, as Lively uses Verizon’s cell towers. Also, make sure a touchscreen smartphone is really what you want. The smartphone costs more than the Lively Flip and could be a big jump for seniors who’ve never used a touch screen device before. Plus, if using your mobile phone exclusively for texting and calling is more your style, there’s no need to spend the extra money on a smartphone with features you won’t find useful.

  • 5. Snapfon ez4G

    Why It Made the Cut

    The Snapfon ez4G offers a simple yet functional design with large keys and streamlined menus. Using just the buttons (without any extra navigating), you can access a calculator, take pictures, send texts, turn on the flashlight, and make calls. The phone even has some smartphone applications you can use like Facebook, email, and the weather.

    Snapfon ez4G comes with straightforward safety features too. Seniors who purchase the sosPlus plan can call for help by pressing the phone’s red SOS button. This puts you in touch with a trained agent who will assist you, connect you with emergency services, and notify your family and friends that there’s an emergency. The phone even comes with built-in fall detection capabilities, which is pretty rare for a cell phone. It’s a great choice for those who want a simple phone with powerful medical alert features.

    Snapfon ez4G

    Snapfon ez4G

    Overview of Offerings

    Camera quality Main camera: 5MP; Front camera: 2MP
    Device cost $33.95
    Monthly rates starting at* $10.00 (talk); $1.00 (text); $2.00 (data); $25.00 (unlimited talk and text)
    Built-in health and safety features sosPlus ($19.99 per month): mobile monitoring service and fall detection
    Cellular network SnapMobile
    Hearing aid compatibility T3/M3 rating
    Contracts No long-term contracts
    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Average Above Average Average
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Fall detection available
    • SOS button
    • Hearing aid compatible
    • Simple design and navigation
    • Speech-to-text capabilities
    • Internet access
    Cons
    • Small internal memory
    • Not available in all areas, check availability first

    Who Is Snapfon ez4G Best For?

    • Seniors looking for a compact, easy-to-use cell phone
    • Older adults on a tight budget
    • Those who wear hearing aids
    • Older adults who want mobile apps
    • Users who want more advanced health and safety features

    What to Know Before Purchasing

    The Snapfon ez4G gives older adults extra features like GPS and mobile apps while still keeping things simple. In addition to the phone’s preloaded apps, the ez4G makes it easy to download apps like the best cell phone apps for older adults. Don’t expect to take any award-winning photographs with its 5MP camera or video chat with your loved ones on this device. However, that shouldn’t matter if you’re just looking for something with a few advanced features that’s still easy to use.

    Inside Tip: Trying to decide between Snapfon and Lively? We have you covered! Check out our Lively vs. Snapfon review for details.

  • 6. Consumer Cellular GrandPad

    Why It Made the Cut

    Consumer Cellular’s GrandPad, the only tablet to make our list, merges modern technology with senior-friendly features, like a large screen, stylus, large icons, and apps that keep families connected, along with a camera, video calls, and email. This tablet is a great option for those who spend a fair amount of time at home and get frustrated with small phone buttons and screens. Since older adults can call or video chat with approved contacts on the tablet, it makes staying connected via technology easy and safe.

    FYI: Wondering how Consumer Cellular ranks as a carrier? Our Consumer Cellular review covers the important details.

    What makes the GrandPad stand out from other tablets is the GrandPad Central app, designed specifically for seniors and their families. One member acts as an administrator, controlling who can connect with the GrandPad. Invited family members and friends can also download the app to upload photos to the GrandPad, send messages, and video chat. Plus, the GrandPad is easy to grip for older hands, and the large screen is perfect for those with vision loss.

    Consumer Cellular GrandPad

    Consumer Cellular GrandPad

    Overview of Offerings

    Camera quality Rear: 5 MP; front: 5 MP
    Device cost $250
    Monthly rates starting at* $40 per month
    Built-in health and safety features Secure network for online safety
    Cellular network Consumer Cellular
    Contracts No long-term contracts
    Ease of use Equipment Service & Response Features & Tech Pricing
    Excellent Excellent Above Average Excellent
    Please scroll to the right for more info.

    Who Is GrandPad Best For?

    • Users who want a senior-friendly tablet
    • Those who want to video chat with friends and family
    • Older adults who spend a lot of time at home
    • Families concerned about internet safety for seniors

    What to Know Before Purchasing

    The GrandPad isn’t a cell phone; it’s a tablet. You can’t use it to make calls to phone numbers that aren’t in your approved contact list or send SMS messages. With the GrandPad, you just get unlimited data use, ad-free music streaming, video calling, secure internet browsing, and mobile access with the smartphone app. If you just want to communicate with close friends and family, this won’t be an issue, but it’s still important to note.

Senior-Friendly Features To Look For in a Cell Phone

Shopping for a cell phone can feel overwhelming, especially with all of the different options and features on the market. But not to worry! We’ve compiled all of our favorite senior-friendly cell phone features so that you can narrow down your options. While evaluating different cell phones, consider the following:

  • Hearing aid compatibility: If you are in the process of choosing hearing aids or already have hearing aids, look for a phone that’s hearing aid compatible with a high rating. This will make it much easier to make calls and stream music and other entertainment directly to your hearing aids.
  • Simple navigation: The simpler the navigation menu, the better. If the phone is easy to navigate, you or your loved one will be more likely to use it. We love phones with list-style menus, large and clear icons, and intuitive layouts.
  • Large screen and font: Larger screens and font options are easier on seniors’ aging eyes.
  • Large buttons: As you age, dexterity declines, so look for phones with large buttons or large touch screen icons that are easy to press.
  • Powerful speaker: A loud, adjustable speaker is a must, especially if you’ve already been diagnosed with hearing loss.
  • Easy-to-grip design: For those with arthritis or other dexterity issues, it’s essential that the phone is easy to grip and won’t be easily dropped, which could damage the device. Plus, if you drop your phone, you’ll need to bend down to pick it up. This can put you at risk of falling. Prioritize phones with an easy-to-grip design or add a grippy case.
  • Safety features: Whether it is an urgent response button, fall detection, or GPS capability, these safety features can be extremely beneficial if you find yourself in an unsafe situation. Plus, the extra layer of protection provides you and your loved ones with peace of mind.

Money-Saving Tip: Snag some extra savings on senior cell phones and plans by becoming an AARP member! Learn more by reading our guide to AARP membership.

FAQs About Cell Phones for Seniors

  • Why should seniors have a cell phone?

    Seniors need cell phones for medical emergencies, staying connected with friends and family, and staying safe in and outside of the home. For older adults who live alone and plan to age in place, a cell phone can be a means of socialization and safety.

  • What are the different types of cell phones for seniors?

    Companies make flip phones, smartphones, bar or brick phones, and tablets for seniors. Seniors can also choose between a phone-only mobile device or one that doubles as a personal safety device.

  • Are big button phones good for seniors?

    Yes, phones with big buttons make it easier for seniors to navigate their phone. This is especially true if the senior has limited dexterity.

Written By

Taylor Shuman

Senior Tech Expert & Editor

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

Citations
  1. Pew Research Center. (2020). Mobile Fact Sheet.