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Cell phones for seniors: Everything you should look for

By Mint Fox

Originally published December 7, 2023

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Last Updated February 27, 2024

Fox browsing phones online "Best cell phones for seniors"

Whether you’re looking for yourself or a family member, finding the right cell phone for seniors might feel a bit overwhelming. What features should you have? What factors haven’t you considered? 

Finding the right cell phone for seniors doesn’t need to be rocket science, which is good because astrophysics was never our thing. Luckily, helping you find the right cell phone for you or a senior in your life is more of our thing.

In this article, we’ll make sure to cover all the bases so you or your loved one can get the most out of their next phone. After all, selecting your next phone is a big decision at any age.

In this article
Mint Fox pointing at the Mint website on a smartphone

So, what is the best cell phone for seniors?

There’s no one-size-fits all option. What makes the “best” phone really comes down to what features matter most to you or your loved one. One thing that is important for every user is that the phone is easy to use and accessible.

Two phones wondering "Does screen size matter?"

Display features to consider in a senior cell phone

Screen size does matter

As long as cell phones have been on the market, having the “right” screen size has always been a thing. And screen sizes have fluctuated quite a bit from tiny flip phone displays, to phones whose entire front face is a screen. 

So this area will depend a lot on the taste and preference of the person using this cell phone.

Generally speaking, larger displays make reading and viewing easier. However, there may be some that are used to having ergonomic buttons. So, base your decision on whatever is most comfortable for the phone user. 

For those who enjoy a large and beautiful display, the iPhone 15 Plus is a great option. Its large screen is just short of 7 inches diagonally, and includes a beautiful display with 2796 by 1290-pixel resolution at 460 ppi.

Screen resolution

Just as important as the screen’s size is the screen’s resolution, which affects the overall brightness, clarity and readability of your phone screen; adequate screen resolution is a must-have for comfortable daily use. 

Closed captioning

If you hate wondering “what did they say?” when you’re watching TV, having closed captions on your, or your senior loved one’s phone is important. Many devices offer closed captioning for any streaming video apps you might use like YouTube or Netflix. For Android users, the app Live Transcribe is a free speech to text application that’s available on Google Play that can also provide closed captioning.

Mint Fox showing a picture of himself

Magnifying cameras and zoom-in capabilities

If getting up close and personal with your text is a priority, some phones include magnifying cameras to make it easier to zoom in. The best phones for older people will include a zoom-in capability so you can make small text bigger…and even the display settings should be adjustable so you can increase the size in case your glasses aren’t doing it for you anymore. 

Customizable menus 

A super easy way to make your phone easier to navigate is being able to customize your menus and home screen. Choose a phone that lets you delete any extra icons or apps you don’t need to cut down on phone-clutter and save phone storage. Samsung Galaxy phones also go one step further and offer an Easy Mode that makes a phone easier to use just by simplifying the interface and adding larger text.  

Audio & voice features that any phone for seniors should have 

Call quality and volume

There have been major improvements in phone audio and speakers, but there are additional features that can make calls even clearer. Conversation Boost, a feature available on most iPhones and Adaptive Sound (available on Google Pixel 7) reduce background noise on calls for that crisp, clear, in-the-room feeling. iPhones also include a feature called Voice Isolation during Facetime audio and video calls to block out unwanted noise, like your neighbor’s leaf blower. 

Bluetooth compatibility 

Bluetooth enables your phone to connect to some external devices such as your car, music speakers, Smart TV and more. Bluetooth functionality is also a plus for people who use hearing aids (which Bluetooth can connect to). Luckily, Bluetooth is a fairly standard feature in most of today’s phones.

Voice features 

Many phones allow you to dictate texts and emails so you don’t have to type them yourself, as well as voiceover features that will read messages you receive out to you.

Consider VoiceOver or Speak Screen, available on iPhone, or TalkBack, available on OnePlus 11, to make dictating texts and hearing text read out loud a breeze. 

Voice assistants 

AI features like Siri and Google Assistant can help perform various phone features for users so they don’t have to do it themselves, including asking them to call a saved contact instead of needing to manually dial, saving time and thumb energy.

Health and safety features checklist

Health and safety features in phones for seniors 

These days, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to people of all ages. Here are a few great phone features to consider that help seniors live their best lives. 

Health apps

Fortunately, most leading phone manufacturers include health monitoring apps to make it even easier to track your steps, heart rate and even your sleep metrics.

GPS location services

Phones that offer services like tracking and sharing your location are extremely beneficial for those more likely to require medical assistance.

Emergency services 

It never hurts to be overly prepared. Consider a phone with emergency buttons in case of emergency. For example, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models come with an off-grid emergency SOS button that alerts the authorities in case of emergencies no matter where you are. 

If you find a phone that does not have an emergency SOS button, you may want to research some medical alert apps that provide a similar enough function, just in case.

Focused driving time 

Keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road is easier without any distractions on your phone. That’s why the Wellbeing feature on Androids and Driving Focus feature on iPhones automatically pause notifications, silence calls, and provide greater focus in general when you’re on the road. So you can get where you’re going, safe and sound.

Facial recognition

Keeping track of passwords and pins to log in to your phone can be tiresome. Fortunately, most phones over the last few years have incorporated facial recognition to keep your password and phone content safe. 

This is a great feature if you have a mobile banking app or other apps with sensitive information you’ll want to keep safe. 

Other things to consider for cell phones for seniors

To stylus or not to stylus

If you like the feeling of using a pen to navigate through your tech, a stylus might be right for you or your senior loved one. Styluses enable greater precision for typing/swiping and can be fun to use. Some phones, like the Samsung S23 Ultra, come with a stylus. They can also be purchased separately; just make sure to check stylus compatibility with your phone brand/model first.

Insurance 

Like any big purchase such as a car or home, you might want to consider insurance in case you ever need a repair or have accidental damage, hardware defects or other issues. In this day and age, having a working phone is a basic need, and phone insurance can help cut the cost if any accident should occur that can’t be solved with a bowl of rice. Phone insurance can save the day with all kinds of issues, but here are some of the most common to name a few.

  • Cracked screen
  • Liquid damage
  • Unresponsive buttons or touchscreen
  • Damaged or unresponsive charge port

If you want to do a deep dive on phone insurance, check out our cell phone insurance article.

Mint offers great cell phones for seniors

Now that you have an idea of all the great features you might want in a cell phone for seniors, check out our wide variety of phone options at our phone deals page. Did we mention we also have a Mint 55+ plan for seniors that includes all the plan features you need as well as personalized 1-on-1 support at no additional cost, including help with activation and more with our MINTech Advisors? Our Mint 55+ plan goes perfectly with our phone deals and a pair of comfortable shoes.

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