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Best Smartphones for Seniors

After researching and testing out the best smartphones on the market, we've narrowed our list down to the top five smartphones for seniors.

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How Did We Choose the Best Smartphones for Seniors?

Finding a smartphone—or any phone—can take a lot of time. It’s a big decision, especially for seniors planning to invest in a phone. If you’re in the market for your first smartphone or a new smartphone, we can help you. We’ve spent more than 300 hours researching, asking questions, and testing out various phones to create a list of the best cell phones for seniors.

Back of Jitterbug Smart3

Back of Jitterbug Smart3

Of course, we knew creating just one list wouldn’t do because some seniors—like you—have their hearts set on a smartphone. Smartphones have many more features than a regular cell phone, so we had to develop a list of criteria to help us rank the phones. The four most important criteria we looked at were:

  • Senior-friendliness: This is a list for seniors, after all. We look for senior-friendly features, including large screen size, simple navigation, medical alert capabilities, bright screens, adjustable speakers, and hearing aid compatibility. Of course, not every phone has it all, but each offers a good mix of senior-friendly features.
  • Value: We don’t know your budget, but we did try to include various budget-friendly and higher-end smartphone models. Our pricier picks certainly have the high-tech features to justify the cost. Our low-end picks still get the job down without breaking the bank.
  • Camera quality: All of our top picks have excellent cameras, so you can video call loved ones, take gorgeous pictures of your garden or grandkids, and get your selfie game on. We wanted models with rear and front-facing cameras too.
  • Usability: A phone is no good if you aren’t able to use it. Each phone on the list is easy to use. Compared to a flip phone, figuring out your smartphone will require some extra effort, but not as much as you’d expect with the right help.

Overview of the Best Smartphones for Seniors

Top 5 Phones Jitterbug Smart3 REVVL 4 from T-Mobile Moto G Power from Consumer Cellular iPhone 11 Pro from Verizon Galaxy Note20 5G from AT&T
Device Cost $149.99 $120 $150 $999.99 $999.99
Financing Available? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Contract Required? No No No No No
Battery Life 12 hours talk time 19 hours talk time 72 hours talk time 16 hours talk time 34 hours talk time
Hearing Aid Compatibility M4/T4 M3/T3 M3/T3 M3/T4 M3/T3
Screen Size 6.2-inch 6.22-inch 6.6-inch 5.8-inch 6.7-inch
Other Features -Built-in GPS and navigation
-Voice typing for sending text messages
-Facial and fingerprint unlock
-Built-in scam-blocking protection
Voice recognition
Dual Dolby speakers
-Secure Face ID
-Includes a pair of Apple EarPods
-S Pen for touch-free operation of the phone
-Fingerprint ID

Pro Tip: Start your smartphone search by reading our cell phones for seniors buyer’s guide. We cover top brands, pricing, how to choose the right phone for your needs, and more!

Do I Need a Smartphone?

More seniors end up answering “yes” to that question than not. An impressive 61 percent of seniors age 65+ own smartphones, while only 29 percent own regular cell phones.1 Why do so many seniors use smartphones? For one, the majority of seniors associate smartphones with a sense of freedom.2 Smartphones also help older adults feel connected. Because smartphones offer many features and access to thousands of mobile apps, they can keep seniors connected, entertained, and protected on a whole new level.

Of course, how you answer the question for yourself depends on a few things: What you do, how comfortable you are with technology, and why you’re looking for a new phone in the first place.

Our Editor's grandma testing out the iPhone 11 Pro

Our Editor’s grandma testing out the iPhone 11 Pro

How Do Smartphones Compare to Flip Phones?

A smartphone lets you access the Internet, video chat with loved ones, watch movies and TV shows, stream music, download mobile apps, and so much more. Many mobile apps even make life easier for seniors. You can find apps for brain games, medication reminders, exercise routines, your pharmacy, and telehealth appointments.

Flip phones are a whole lot simpler. Most let you send texts, make calls, and surf the web. Since they lack so many of the features smartphones have, they also lack some of the benefits. While we’ve found some great flip phones for seniors, they’re best for those who want to keep things basic. However, if you simply want to stay connected and don’t care about the bells and whistles like a high-quality camera, touchscreen, or mobile apps, a flip phone will be a better fit for you. Plus, traditional cell phones tend to be the more inexpensive option for those on a tight budget.

Types of Seniors Smartphones Are Best For

Any older adult willing to learn how to use a smartphone has a lot to gain from one. But we’d say smartphones are best for those who:

  • Love new technology
  • Want to video chat with their friends and families
  • Want to add smart devices to their homes like smart bulbs or a home security system
  • Need mobile apps and internet access
  • Enjoy taking high-quality pictures and video
  • Volunteer or work and need to access emails and use the web on the go
  • Aren’t satisfied with their current block-style phone or flip phone

If you feel like a smartphone is right for you, read on as we get into our top picks!

A Senior’s Guide to Choosing a Smartphone

Even after looking at our top picks, you still might need help deciding on a smartphone. Here are some factors you should consider.

Price

It’s easy to get distracted by the fancier smartphone models like the iPhone 11 Pro. It’s a great phone, which is why we put it on our list, but only if you can afford it. Make sure you narrow your search down to phones within your price range. Sure, you can finance a phone to avoid a steep upfront cost, but that locks you in with the carrier. There are plenty of other affordable smartphones with great features on our list!

Money-Saving Tip: If you’re on a budget and on the fence about using a smartphone, check out our cheapest cell phones for seniors list.

Medical Alert Capabilities

Do you want your phone to double as a medical alert device? If so, there’s a simple solution to your smartphone search: The Jitterbug Smart3. It’s one of the best cell phones for seniors because of Lively’s Health & Safety Packages. Help will be just a press of a button away. And, compared to the other smartphone options, you can’t beat the price.

Battery Life

Smartphones work great for older adults, but only when they’re charged. If you’re forgetful or just don’t want to be bothered to charge your phone every day, look for a smartphone with long battery life. The Moto G Power has the longest battery life of our top picks, with up to three days of talk time.

Consider Your Loved Ones’ Phones

Talk to your family about their smartphones. Knowing what they use or are familiar with can help you decide. For example, if your loved ones use iPhones, going with the iPhone 11 Pro or another iPhone is a smart choice. Your family already knows Apple products and can help you learn how to use them. Plus, you’d be able to FaceTime them and send iMessages.

You can also ask them what carrier they have. Sometimes bundling with your family’s phone plan can lower the price per line. Of course, prepaid phone plans for seniors are another way to cut service costs too.

Smartphones for Seniors FAQs

  • Which iPhone is best for seniors?

    The iPhone 11 Pro is best for older adults because of its premium features. If you want a budget-friendly iPhone, the iPhone SE is a good choice too.

  • How can seniors learn how to use smartphones?

    The easiest way for seniors to learn how to use smartphones is by asking a family member, friend, or neighbor for help. Some senior centers and libraries offer technology classes for seniors too. If they can’t find in-person help, seniors can look for videos online to help also.

  • How many seniors use smartphones?

    An estimated 21.2 million U.S. adults aged 65+ use smartphones.4

  • Are smartphones intimidating for senior citizens?

    Some seniors might find smartphones intimidating, but seeing as 61 percent of seniors own smartphones, most don’t!1 Senior-friendly smartphones like the Jitterbug Smart3 and help from family and friends make smartphones more approachable too.

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.

  2. Pew Research Center. (2015). For vast majority of seniors who own one, a smartphone equals ‘freedom’.

  3. Federal Trade Commission. (2019). Protecting Older Consumers.

  4. Institute on Aging. (2020). Our Mission & History.