Intuitive cell phones specifically designed to protect and empower seniors.
SeniorLiving.org is compensated when you click on the provider links listed on this page. This compensation does not impact our ratings or reviews.
Lively phones launched in 2006 as one of the very first cell phones designed just for seniors. The company's mission is to create simple phones with older adults' needs in mind. More recently, Lively launched the Jitterbug smartphone, along with an integrated set of health and safety services. Thanks to the company's focus on senior-friendly features, older adults have the freedom to run errands, travel, and stay active with a cell phone that fits their unique needs and comes equipped with medical alert technology for added safety.
In this review, I'll take you through my experience of buying, setting up, and testing Lively's latest phones, the Jitterbug Smart3 and Jitterbug Flip2. Both competitively priced and easy to operate, their extensive features — like hearing-aid compatibility and 24/7 emergency response — all cater to older eyes, ears, and minds. And the fact that Lively operates on the Verizon network,1 a carrier with notable dependability, is a big plus. Read on to learn more about my experience with Lively.
Both Jitterbug phones are sold on the Lively website, over the phone, in various big-box stores, and on Amazon. The flip phone and smartphone are very different from one another, so it's easy to compare and contrast the features. Basically, it all comes down to whether you want access to high-tech features and capabilities.
Did You Know: The Jitterbug Flip2 and Jitterbug Smart3 made our list of the best cell phones for older adults.
I wanted to know more about pricing directly from the source, so I called Lively to chat. I learned that monthly cell phone packages start at $14.99 a month for talk and text. Health & Safety Packages are also available for an additional monthly fee (more on those later). Despite a $35 activation fee, shipping is free, and no long-term contracts are required. Everything is very clear: You simply go online, select your phone, and then add a service plan, accessories, and any Health & Safety Package to see how much it will cost.
As for my customer service experience, I learned why Lively received the North America Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Service Leadership.2 I spoke with a representative named Martin from the Carlsbad call center, and he was exceptionally kind, patient, and forthcoming. Here's what I learned during my chat with Martin:
Lively keeps everything simple for older adults. Instead of a long list of phones to choose from, you just have two: the Jitterbug Flip2 and the Jitterbug Smart3. You'll have to choose one of them if you go with Lively, because you can't bring your own phone to Lively like you can with some other providers, including Snapfon.
Quick Tip: Want to compare senior-friendly phone carriers? Visit our Lively vs. Snapfon guide to see how the two stack up.
Compatible with most Bluetooth devices and hearing aids, this comprehensive smartphone appeals to older ears and eyes. Lively has put a lot of thought into age-appropriate functions like a larger touchscreen, list-style menu, powerful speaker, and accurate voice typing (perfect for anti-texters). The 22-hour talk time and dual rear cameras, complete with video and flash, are great features for those who travel often or take countless snaps of their grandchildren. Fast mobile internet access, Google navigation, and a lineup of pre-installed, senior-geared apps round out why this phone is so useful and convenient. Also, the Jitterbug Smart2 costs $149.99 plus the cost of the monthly plan and an activation fee, which is very reasonable for a smartphone.
If you go this route, we'd recommend adding on the Basic Lively Health & Safety Package, which gives you access to the Urgent Response services. Just press the Urgent Response button on your phone and you'll be connected to an emergency operator who's already familiar with your medical history and personal contacts.
This straightforward cell phone is universally praised for stylishly offering all the best features for seniors who may not be as comfortable with technology. With a bright screen, bigger textured buttons, a powerful speaker, a simplified menu, and hearing-aid compatibility, the Jitterbug Flip2 really does have it all, except for internet access. It also has a lower-quality camera, but makes up for it by including a magnifier with a flashlight.
Pro Tip: Visit our Jitterbug Flip2 review for a look at our hands-on experience with this senior-friendly flip phone.
Plus, the Jitterbug Flip2 features built-in Amazon Alexa tech, so you can compose texts, make calls, and perform any other tasks on your phone with just your voice. For those with arthritis or other dexterity issues, this is an excellent feature. This model can also incorporate health and safety features like Urgent Response for help during an emergency, or Lively Rides, which connects you to a personal operator who can schedule a Lyft ride for you. The Jitterbug Flip2 costs $99.99, and with the ability to add these vital features, we think it's well worth the price tag.
Lively is powered by the nation's most reliable wireless network, Verizon. Verizon offers coverage across the country, including most rural areas. To check coverage in your area, you can visit Lively's coverage page on its website and type in your ZIP code.
With Lively, you aren't roped into a long-term contract or charged any cancellation fees — aside from a $10 restocking fee if you send back equipment. Other plans, like AT&T’s senior-friendly plans, require a two-year contract, so this gives Lively an edge.
Lively offers a fairly standard warranty. When I spoke with Martin from Lively's customer service team, he informed me that Lively offers an automatic “standard limited warranty.” This means you get a one-year equipment warranty for cell phones, including batteries and accessories. Lively will repair or replace the product without charge.
Since the warranty only covers manufacturer defects, accidents like dropping your phone in a puddle aren't covered. However, you can enhance and extend the standard limited warranty by purchasing a Lively Protection Plan for $3.50 per month. It covers accidents, battery replacement, normal wear and tear, and all accessories that came with your original phone purchase. You will still be charged a replacement fee, though. Costs vary, but it's $50 for a replacement Jitterbug Smart3 and $25 for a replacement Jitterbug Flip2. That's still cheaper than the full cost of buying a new phone, so it might be worth it if you're hard on your devices.
All Lively customers will choose between Lively's two Talk & Text plans.
|Plan name||Cost||What it includes|
|Value Talk & Text||$14.99 per month||300 minutes + $0.10 per text|
|Unlimited Talk & Text||$19.99 per month||Unlimited minutes and texts|
If you purchase the Jitterbug Smart3, you'll also need to choose a data package, which adds another monthly fee to your Talk & Text plan. The Jitterbug Flip2 doesn't come with internet access, so you won't need to add a data plan.
|100 MB data per month||$2.49 per month|
|500 MB data per month||$5 per month|
|3 GB data per month||$10 per month|
|5 GB data per month||$15 per month|
|Unlimited data||$30 per month|
Lastly, you can add a Health & Safety Package if you want your phone to have medical alert features. These packages are optional.
|Health & Safety Package||Cost||What it includes|
|Basic||$24.99 per month||
|Premium||$34.99 per month||
Did You Know?AARP members can receive a $60 discount on Preferred and Ultimate Health & Safety Packages!
The Value Talk & Text plan costs $14.99 per month for 300 minutes and 10 cents per text, making it Lively's most affordable plan. It's great for older adults who are on a tight budget and don't plan to use their phone very much. Your monthly bill will include charges for any texts you send or receive during that month, plus taxes and fees.
The plan only includes 300 minutes of talk time and texts at 10 cents per text. It doesn't include any data, but you do get voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, long distance, and roaming.
You can enjoy unlimited talking and texting with Lively at just $19.99 per month. Compared to other options, like Consumer Cellular's plans, Lively offers a great deal for this plan. You'll also owe taxes and fees each month, which is standard with any cell phone carrier.
Did You Know: Lively also makes wearable medical alert devices, in case you're looking for added protection on the go or automatic fall detection. Visit our review of Lively's medical alert systems for a closer look.
This plan truly is unlimited. You can talk and text as much as you want each month without facing overage charges. That's why we recommend it to seniors who love staying connected with family, and especially for those who don't own a landline. The plan also includes voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, long distance, and roaming. If you purchase the Jitterbug Smart3, you'll also need to purchase a data option separately.
Older adults who purchase the Jitterbug Smart3 must purchase a data plan. Data costs $2.49 per month for 100 MB, $5 per month for 500 MB, $10 per month for 3 GB, $15 per month for 5 GB, or $30 per month for unlimited data. That brings the total cost for unlimited talk, text, and data to $49.99 per month, which is situated right between Consumer Cellular's $55.99-per-month plan and T-Mobile's Essentials 55+ plan, which costs $40 per month.
Money-Saving Tip: Call Lively's customer service team before purchasing to ask about any deals or discounts. These may include a percentage off your phone purchase, a free car charger, or a credit to your account.
Seniors who are unsure which data plan to purchase should talk to their friends and family. They know you best and can help you choose a good fit. If you're still stuck, Lively recommends that seniors purchase 500 MB. You can always switch to a different data plan if you need to.
Your data plan includes the amount of data specified when you purchase. You use data when you're away from Wi-Fi and use your phone to browse the web, watch online videos, check email, get directions, and more. If you go over your plan allowance, it costs 10 cents per megabyte, which is better than the industry standard.
Once you've chosen your phone and talk, text, and data plan, you also have the option to add a Health & Safety Package. The prices of these plans are $24.99 per month for Basic and $34.99 per month for Premium.
The chart above shows you which services are available in which packages, but now we'll look at what exactly each service entails.
The different Health & Safety apps are all accessible on the Jitterbug Smart3, but some cannot be accessed on the Jitterbug Flip2 itself. If you have the Flip2 and subscribe to any of the services, you can access them on a computer or on a family member's smart device.
If you want to access Lively's health and safety features but aren't looking for a new phone, you have options! You can purchase a Health & Safety Package, download the Lively app, and access your health and safety features on an iPhone or Apple Watch. If you decide to go this route, your chosen Health & Safety Package will cost an extra $5 per month.
Lively also offers discounts on a new Apple Watch. If you sign a two-year contract for a Health & Safety Package, you can get up to $200 off a new Apple watch at Best Buy.
When you combine the quality of the Jitterbug phones with the award-winning customer service and breadth of add-ons, it really doesn't get much better than Lively. With plan prices starting at just $14.99 per month, there are options for most budgets. However, we'd recommend considering another provider if you have your heart set on a phone that isn't made by Jitterbug. All in all, the company provides senior-friendly phones that keep older adults entertained, connected, and protected. It's not only about safety; it's about fun, too.
The Jitterbug Smart3 is very reasonably priced compared to other similar smartphones. Even without any kind of discount, the model is only around $150; some others on the market go all the way up to $1,000.
The Jitterbug Flip2 has 16 GB of built-in storage, while the Jitterbug Smart3 has 32 GB of built-in storage and up to 256 GB of expandable storage.
No, you can only sign up for automatic fall detection if you have purchased the Lively Mobile+ or the Lively Mobile+.
Yes, there is a clear, designated Urgent Response button on each of the phones, which you can quickly press during an emergency.
Lively’s automatic warranty includes one year of protection if the phone is faulty outside of your control. If you were to crack your screen or drop it in water, you would have to repair it on your own dime. However, for $3.50 per month, you can purchase a Lively Protection Plan that provides coverage for screen damage, even if you caused it.
Lively. (2022). Coverage Map.