What You Should Know

  • Without a phone, seniors may become isolated and have no way to call emergency services.
  • Some seniors may find smartphones and phone plans too expensive.
  • Smartphones may be offered for free or at a reduced cost to low-income seniors. 
  • With an affordable phone, seniors can call for help and connect with others.
  • Many seniors can receive free phones and service through the national Lifeline and ACP programs.  

Though many seniors have remained uninitiated where consumer technologies like smartphones are concerned, a 2021 Pew Research Center survey found that about 61 percent of people 65 and older own a smartphone. While there are plenty of great flip phones available for seniors who do not wish to use smart technology, there are also easy-to-use smartphones available that come with some extremely helpful senior assistance features. Below, you’ll find our picks for the best devices for seniors of 2022, including a few flip phones. We’ve also included an ultimate guide to phones for seniors.

In the following device comparisons, we have noted the simplicity level of each device by sharing whether it’s best for people who are total smartphone beginners or those with a moderate understanding of smart technologies. Regardless, it is important for device shoppers to first consider how likely they or their loved ones are to be motivated to learn how to use smart technologies or a new style of device.

The Best Cell Phones for Seniors in 2022

Overview of the Best Cell Phones for Seniors
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone by Raz Mobility
  • Price: $309.00
  • Remote access for caregivers
  • Simple interface perfect for those with memory impairment
See Packages → Read Our Review →
The MiniVision2 Cell Phone by Raz Mobility
  • Price: $309.00
  • Large, tactile buttons for easy dialing
  • Voice commands
See Packages → Read Our Review →
The Jitterbug Flip2 from Lively
  • Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $99.99
  • Built-in medical alert service
  • GPS location tracking
See Packages → Read Our Review →
The Jitterbug Smart3 from Lively
  • Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $149.99
  • Integrated caregiver app
  • Large print and brighter-than-average screen
See Packages → Read Our Review →
Link II from Consumer Cellular
  • Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $59
  • Hearing aid compatibility M4/T4
  • Dual microphone noise suppression for conversation clarity
See Packages → Read Our Review →
The Blackberry Key2 LE
  • Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $449.99
  • Physical buttons
  • Text enlarger, screen reader and other visual aids
See Packages → Read Our Review →
The Motorola Moto G7 Power
  • Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $249.99
  • Can be used with any carrier
  • Access to Google Play store for senior assistance apps
See Packages → Read Our Review →
The Apple iPhone SE from Consumer Cellular
  • Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $399
  • Voice commands and voice dialing
  • Takes 4K video
See Packages → Read Our Review →
The Sonim XP3plus
  • Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $210
  • Long battery life
  • High-volume speaker and ringer
See Packages → Read Our Review →

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone by Raz Mobility

Best Smartphone for Overall Simplicity 

Raz Memory Cell phone

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone Relevant Features for Seniors

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone is perfect for seniors who want a simple experience. The phone only allows for making and receiving phone calls. No apps and a limited amount of settings help to ensure that users don’t accidentally take their phone out of service.

The biggest selling point of the RAZ Memory Cell Phone is its caregiver remote access feature. Caregivers can use their phone or another web-enabled device to access the phone and make relevant changes. Adding or removing contacts, checking the phone’s battery level, setting up “quiet hours”, restricting incoming calls, and GPS tracking can all be done remotely.

Other beneficial features of the RAZ Memory Cell Phone include:

  • One-touch dialing 
  • A large, bright 6.5” screen
  • 4G VoLTE cell phone signal access
  • An SD slot for up to 128GB of storage
  • Access to most major cell phone service providers
  • Raz emergency service (an alternative to 911) if desired
  • An unlocked version that works with Verizon and AT&T

Pros and Cons of The RAZ Memory Cell Phone

Pros:

  • Remote access for caregivers
  • Large, bright screens
  • Simple interface
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons:

  • Unable to download and use apps
  • No 5G cell phone access

Learn More About the RAZ Memory Cell Phone

The MiniVision2 Cell Phone by Raz Mobility

Best Smartphone for Tactile Dialing

MiniVision2

The MiniVision2 Cell Phone Relevant Features for Seniors

The MiniVision2 is made with the vision-impaired senior in mind. The phone sports large, tactile buttons for easy dialing, instantly making it stand out from the crowd. The 2.3” screen is designed to display just the basics: numbers, battery life, and general cell phone information.

For the senior who is visually impaired, the large buttons make for very easy dialing. In addition to large buttons, the MiniVision2 also includes voice commands that allow for even easier dialing as well as changing phone settings. Users can change the font size and color scheme of the screen with the right voice commands.

Much like Raz Mobility’s other cell phone, the MiniVision2 works with nearly every major cell phone service provider in the country. Users can also get three months of free service through Mint mobile if desired.

The features of the MiniVision2 Cell Phone that most benefit seniors include:

  • A simple design for ease of use
  • Large, physical buttons for easy dialing
  • Voice commands for dialing and changing settings
  • Compatibility with most major cell phone service providers
  • Three months of free Mint Mobile service if desired

Pros and Cons of The MiniVision2 Cell Phone

Pros:

  • Physical buttons that make for easy dialing
  • A small size that easily fits any pocket
  • 4G VoLTE cell phone signal access
  • 7 hours of battery life

Cons:

  • No smartphone features beyond making and receiving phone calls.

Learn More About the Minivision2 Cell Phone

The Jitterbug Flip2 from Lively

Best Flip Phone with Integrated Medical Alert System

Jitterbug Flip2 Relevant Features for Seniors

The Jitterbug Flip2 has a more simplified design than a smartphone, and as a result, it is attractive to seniors desiring an easy-to-use device. 

Although the Flip2 does not offer internet connectivity or apps, it does provide an extensive list of assistive features intended especially for seniors, including:

  • Urgent Response Service (medical alert)
  • Urgent Care (speak with medical professionals 24/7 and order prescriptions)
  • Lively Link app (caregiver connectivity feature)
  • Personal Operator (assists with tasks like finding addresses and setting up appointments)
  • Large, bright screen and buttons
  • Simple navigation
  • Voice-activated commands and texting
  • Magnifier and flashlight for reading
  • Pre-installed, mind-stimulating games for seniors
  • Hearing aid compatibility of M4/T4
  • GPS location tracking

Pros and Cons of The Jitterbug Flip2

Pros:

  • Simple, easy-to-use design
  • Battery lasts through ten continuous hours of call connection and provides several days of power in standby
  • Audio and visual features optimized for people with diminished hearing and eyesight
  • GPS phone tracking shares location with caregivers and emergency responders

Cons:

  • No internet connectivity
  • Simplified design prevents users from making adjustments, such as blocking calls and changing screen brightness

The Jitterbug Smart3 from Lively

Best Smartphone for Assistive Features 

Jitterbug Smart3

Jitterbug Smart3 Relevant Features for Seniors

The Jitterbug Smart3 does not have physical buttons like the Jitterbug Flip, other than the usual power and volume buttons which are positioned on the right-hand edge of the device. Lively’s Urgent Response Service (medical alert) button is located on-screen, right next to the virtual “home” navigation button, and the company’s other features for seniors can be accessed as apps through a simple tile-style navigation system. The Smart3 also differs from the Flip in that the screen’s brightness can be adjusted, making this phone more suitable for low-light settings, and in that it’s a more capable device for taking pictures and video.

The Jitterbug Smart3’s features for seniors are largely the same as the assistive feature set available on the Jitterbug Flip:

  • Integrated caregiver app with GPS location
  • Urgent Response Service button (medical alert)
  • Urgent Care access to speak with doctors and nurses
  • Large-print apps and menu items featured on home screen
  • Magnifier that uses the phone’s camera
  • Large-font screen text
  • Brighter-than-average screen
  • Hearing aid compatibility of M4/T4
  • Personal Operator to provide assistance 24/7

Pros and Cons of The Jitterbug Smart3

Pros:

  • User can download apps from Google Play store
  • HD calling using 4G LTE for better call quality
  • Simplified interface prominently displays apps that are most relevant to seniors
  • Volume adjusts from low to super-high, and there’s a speakerphone option

Cons:

  • Limited feature set compared to average Apple or Android smartphone
  • Requires purchase of a data plan

Best Budget Flip Phone for Seniors

Link II from Consumer Cellular

Link II from Consumer Cellular is a talk-and-text-only flip phone well-suited for use by people who like a very simple device without many apps or internet features. The Link II is exclusively sold by Consumer Cellular and is much like the Jitterbug Flip2 in terms of its hardware. However, this phone retails at a much lower price than Lively’s Jitterbug Flip2 and comes with Consumer Cellular’s more affordable service plans.

The Link II offers a host of design elements created with seniors in mind, including the following:

  • Programmable ‘Assistance’ button speed-dials emergency contacts
  • Enhance Volume feature increases audio by 7 decibels
  • Dual microphone noise suppression for conversation clarity
  • Magnifier that uses the phone’s camera
  • Easy-to-see keypad with responsive tactility
  • AARP member monthly discounts
  • Bright screen
  • Hearing aid compatibility M4/T4

Pros:

  • Highly tactile keys with color contrast
  • Compact, light-weight design
  • Very affordable
  • Hands-free calling with Bluetooth wireless connectivity

Cons:

  • No medical alert service
  • No integrated caregiver app

The BlackBerry Key2 LE

Best Smartphone with a Physical Keypad

The BlackBerry Key2 LE

The BlackBerry Key2 LE Relevant Features for Seniors

The Key2 LE is a quality, mid-range smartphone offering a feature set that makes operating this device simple, intuitive and enjoyable. Neither of our featured service providers for seniors offer this phone for sale, but a previously purchased BlackBerry Key2 LE can be used with a low-cost Consumer Cellular plan thanks to their Bring Your Own Phone policy.

Assistive features that benefit seniors who purchase the BlackBerry Key2 LE include:

  • Physical buttons (more tactile and easier to use than on-screen buttons)
  • Text enlarger, screen reader and other visual aids
  • Rubberized and textured back for more secure grip
  • Textured side-mounted buttons are easy to find
  • Fingerprint sensor in space bar for password-free unlocking
  • Virtual keyboard for large-font dialing
  • Very bright, high-definition screen with good contrast
  • Hearing aid compatibility of M4/T3

Pros and Cons of The BlackBerry Key2 LE

Pros:

  • App shortcut button for easy navigation
  • Access to download apps in Google Play store
  • Voice commands and voice dial
  • Preinstalled with Google Maps and Google Calendar reminders

Cons:

  • Cannot be used on the Sprint network

The Motorola Moto G7 Power

Best Smartphone Under $250  

Motorola Moto G7 Power

The Motorola Moto G7 Power Relevant Features for Seniors

The Motorola Moto G7 Power is an ideal phone for seniors who are moderately comfortable using smart devices. Although it is not available for sale from either of the two featured service providers discussed above, the device can be used with any carrier. This gives consumers a wide range of cost options when shopping for a service plan, including Consumer Cellular’s low-cost plans for seniors and AARP members.

The features of the Moto G7 Power that most benefit seniors include:

  • Text size adjustment
  • Voice commands and voice dialing
  • Talk Back voice reading of displayed text and number dialing
  • Fingerprint sensor for password-free security
  • Textured volume and power buttons are easier to find
  • Bright screen suitable for reduced vision
  • Access to Google Play store for senior assistance app downloads
  • Good volume for a single-speaker phone (88 to 90 decibels)
  • Hearing aid compatibility of M4/T3
  • Access to Motorola’s accessibility settings for people with diminished sight and hearing

Pros and Cons of The Motorola Moto G7 Power

Pros:

  • Freedom to choose your carrier – the phone works on all major networks
  • Very long battery life (up to two days or more on single charge)
  • Affordable
  • Smartphone functionality and large storage space allows for ample app downloads

Cons:

  • Phone body and screen are made of glass, which can lead to frequent cracks and breaks

The Apple iPhone SE from Consumer Cellular

Best Smartphone for Apple Enthusiasts on a Budget

Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPhone SE Relevant Features for Seniors

Consumer Cellular offers a broad range of Apple’s iPhones, but we chose Consumer Cellular’s iPhone SE offering because it comes with a relatively low price and a still-impressive feature set as well as low-cost coverage from Consumer Cellular.  This device offers a user experience that can be adapted for use by seniors who enjoy Apple products and have a moderate understanding of smartphones.

Seniors and people with diminished memory, vision or hearing will also appreciate this device’s comprehensive list of accessibility settings and features, including:

  • Text size adjustment
  • Voice commands and voice dialing
  • Voice assistant (Siri) eases phone navigation and use
  • Fingerprint sensor for password-free security
  • High-definition screen with exceptional contrast and color vibrance (Retina HD)
  • High-contrast setting
  • Brighter and less reflective screen than most smartphones
  • Hearing aid compatibility of M3/T4

Pros and Cons of The Apple iPhone SE

Pros:

  • One of the highest-quality smartphones available at its price point
  • Lightning fast processor offers speeds of up to 2.33 gigahertz
  • Quick charge battery uses Apple Lightning
  • Takes 4K video at 30 frames per second

Cons:

  • User interface is less flexible and cannot be altered for seniors beyond manufacturer settings

The Sonim XP3plus

Best Flip Phone for Durability and Internet Connectivity

Sonim XP3plus

Sonim XP3plus Relevant Features for Seniors

The XP3plus from Sonim is the most rugged flip phone on our list and the only one that comes with a three-year warranty. Often carried by people who work in extreme or hazardous environments, this device is listed as IP68 waterproof and ruggedized up to industrial standards. The Sonim XP3plus is a solid option for seniors who want a simple flip phone that can take years of drops and hard abuse.

Although the Sonim XP3plus is not sold directly through our featured service providers, customers can still bring their device over to the Consumer Cellular network through their Bring Your Own Phone policy to receive their cost benefits.

Features of the Sonim XP3plus that are of greatest assistance to seniors include:

  • Programmable button that can quickly launch selected apps
  • High-volume speaker and ringer
  • Simple navigation and app set
  • Withstands drops like no other device
  • Multiple call-screening options to reduce solicitations
  • Voice dialing and voice commands
  • Hearing aid compatibility of M3/T4
  • Flashlight uses rear camera flash

Pros and Cons of Sonim XP3plus

Pros:

  • Easily supports talk and text only plans
  • Long battery life (talk: 15 hours, standby: 18 days)
  • Extra-clear HD calling over 4G LTE
  • Freedom to choose your carrier – the phone works on 3 of the major carriers

Cons:

  • Comes with more apps than typical flip phone, so it might not be the best choice for seniors looking for a bare-bones phone

For information on other cell phones for seniors, read our reviews of the following devices:

Compare Cell Phone Costs and Features

Devices

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Offered with Service Plans for Seniors?

Built-in Medical Alert

GPS Location Tracking

Voice Commands

Carrier

Screen Size

Battery Life

Raz Memory Cell Phone

$309.00

Yes- Raz Mobility

Yes

Yes

No

Raz Mobility, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile

6.3 inches

Up to 24 hours

MiniVision2 Cell Phone

$309.00

Yes- Raz Mobility

Yes

No

Yes

Raz Mobility, T-Mobile

2.3 inches

7 hours

The Jitterbug Flip2 from Lively

$99.99

Yes — Lively

Yes

Yes

Yes

Verizon

3.2 inches

10 hours

The Jitterbug Smart3 from Lively

$149.99

Yes — Lively

Yes

Yes

Yes

Verizon

6.2 inches

10 hours

Link II from Consumer Cellular

$59

Yes — Consumer Cellular

No

Yes

No

AT&T and T-Mobile

2.8 inches

14 hours

The Blackberry Key2 LE

$449.99

No

No

Yes

Yes

Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile

4.5 inches

10 hours

The Motorola Moto G7 Power

$249.99

No

No

Yes

Yes

Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile

6.2 inches

16 hours

The Apple iPhone SE from Consumer Cellular

$399

Yes — Consumer Cellular

No

Yes

Yes

AT&T and T-Mobile

4.7 inches

5 to 12+ hours (heavily dependent on usage 

habits)

The Sonim XP3plus

$210

No

No

Yes

No

T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon

2.6 inches

10 hours

How to Get Financial Assistance for Cell Phones

If you want to buy a cell phone for yourself or an older loved one but are concerned about the cost, there are several resources available that increase the affordability of cell phones and monthly service plans. Unfortunately, seniors on a budget will not be able to use their Medicare or Medicaid benefits to cover the costs of a cell phone. However, there are other programs available that can provide financial assistance for a cell phone and/or service, such as the Lifeline and ACP programs. There are also additional low-cost phone plans offered by companies that are intended specifically for seniors as well as discounts given to veterans of the armed forces. Charities and various nonprofits may also provide cell phones for free or at a low cost to seniors. 

The resource guide below covers the eligibility criteria and application process for applying to several cell phone and cell phone plan assistance programs. It also provides links to program websites and includes contact information that can be used to inquire about further details from program or company representatives. 

Government and National Resources 

The Lifeline Program and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are national programs that enable qualifying low-income individuals to receive cell phone services for free or at a reduced cost. 

Lifeline Assistance Program

The Lifeline program provides discounts on landline or mobile phone services of up to $9.25 a month to low-income individuals (up to $34.25 a month for those on tribal lands). Individuals can only receive one Lifeline service at a time. To qualify for Lifeline benefits, individuals must meet the income and assistance program requirements outlined on the USAC Lifeline Support website.
Individuals can qualify for Lifeline online via the Lifeline National Verifier website or using a paper form, unless an individual resides in a few select states. Residents of California, Oregon, and Texas must call their phone company or visit their state website for information on qualifying. If approved, individuals have 90 days to select a phone company and sign up for service or ask their current company to apply their Lifeline benefits to an existing service.

Read our Guide to the Lifeline Assistance Program to learn more about the program and eligibility requirements.

Link-Up Program 

The link-up assistance program is available to those who meet the Lifeline eligibility requirements and reside on federally-recognized tribal lands. This program offers a discount of up to $100 towards the costs of connecting a primary residential telephone to services, including a wireless phone, should a phone company charge an activation fee to customers. Contact your telephone company for more information on applying the Link-Up discount. 

Affordable Connectivity Program  

This benefit program helps low-income households with one monthly discount on a broadband internet access service and one one-time connected device discount per household. Discounts may be up to $30 a month per household ($75 for those on tribal lands) and up to $100 for connected devices (with a required minimum copay of $10.01). These ACP benefits can be applied to mobile phone plans as long as they include internet access. 

To qualify for ACP Program benefits, individuals must meet the eligibility criteria listed on the Affordable Connectivity Program page of the FCC website. Those who qualify can sign up for ACP benefits via the Lifeline National Verifier page.  

Free Phones with Bundled Lifeline and ACP Benefits

Those with Lifeline benefits qualify for ACP benefits and both can be applied to the same wireless phone plan. Your current phone company should be able to apply both discounts upon your request. There are also companies with plans that bundle Lifeline and ACP benefits. StandUp Wireless, Life Wireless, Safelink Wireless, Assurance Wireless, and Access Wireless all have bundled plans that include free phones and unlimited talk and text, in addition to high-speed data and other benefits. 

Veteran Resources for Affordable Cell Phones 

Veterans can save on data costs and cell phone service with certain companies. However, discounts only apply to certain plans, and they must meet all requirements to qualify.  

Phone Service Discounts for Veterans 

Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular offer discounted phone plans for military veterans. All require verification of military service and may request supporting documentation.

Company

Discounted Plans*

Application Process

5G Do More, 5G Play More, 5G Get More

Verify service through ID.me and register on the Verizon website.

AT&T Unlimited Extra, AT&T Unlimited Starter, AT&T Unlimited Premium

Check eligibility and follow directions on the AT&T website. 

Magenta Military and Magenta MAX Military plans

Verify military status online within 45 days of signing up. 

15% off certain wireless service plans. 

Verify military status on the military discount page. Discount will be applied after one or two billing cycles.

*These discounts were available as of July of 2022, but are subject to change.

State and Local Phone Bill Assistance

State and local assistance with a monthly phone bill may be available from local organizations or state institutions serving your area. These resources can be located by contacting your nearest Area Agencies on Aging office. The AAA consists of a nationwide network of senior resource centers located in every state, and these function as sources of information and services for low-income seniors seeking assistance.

To find your nearest AAA location, visit N4A.org and enter your city/state or zip code in the fields provided.

Additional Financial Assistance Resources for Cell Phones

In addition to government financial assistance with cell phone costs, there are also various charities and nonprofits that provide free or discounted phones. Some companies also provide senior discounts on their phone plans. 

Resource

How It Helps

Contact Information

This site has items, including phones, for sale by auction.

Visit the Help Center or contact a Goodwill representative at support@shopgoodwill.com 

Users can place bids online for auctioned items, including cell phones and accessories. 

This nonprofit collects used cell phones for redistribution to those who need a phone to dial 911. 

Your local law enforcement agency or senior citizen center representative can call 301-891-2900 to make a phone request.

Donated cell phones are distributed to those who need a way to contact emergency services. 

Your local law enforcement agency or a shelter representative can call 866-290-7864 or send an email to request@911cellphonebank.org

Seniors can save with these special offers.

Message an expert on the senior discount plans page or call 1-800-937-8997.

Senior-Focused Cellular Companies

While numerous manufacturers offer devices that may be used by older adults, there are two cellular companies that specifically cater to seniors. Before we get into the best cell phones of 2022 for seniors, it’s important to get an overview of the companies that service the devices: Raz Mobility, Lively (maker of the Jitterbug phone), and Consumer Cellular

Choosing a device manufactured or serviced by one of these providers can make for an easier learning experience for older adults who are less familiar with cellular phones and simplifies the process of accessing senior-friendly features and apps. Lively, Consumer Cellular, and Raz Mobility supply renowned customer service, highly competitive pricing, and devices and service plans designed with seniors in mind. However, each provider takes a different approach to serve its customers. 

The main differences between these providers are fairly straightforward. Lively focuses on supporting emergency and caregiver-oriented services. Consumer Cellular is notable for its lower monthly costs, larger inventory of available devices, and AARP member discounts. Raz Mobility creates phones designed for the visually impaired. The following section consists of a quick profile of each provider.

Raz Mobility

Raz Mobility focuses on providing assistive technologies for those with disabilities and physical difficulties. Their two cell phones are designed for easy use by those with memory loss, vision problems, and hearing loss.

The company offers two phones — the RAZ Memory Cell Phone and the MiniVision2 — that provide seniors with flexibility and ease of use. The RAZ Memory Cell Phone is their main smartphone, offering basic call functionality from a large and colorful screen. The MiniVision2 is a tactile-button phone with large numbers that make dialing easy for those with vision loss.

While Raz Mobility prides itself on simplicity, their offerings may be too simple for some customers. The RAZ Memory Cell Phone only features a single home screen with 6 contacts (up to 30 contacts, if desired). No apps can be downloaded and only calls can be placed or answered. The MiniVision2 is even simpler, offering large, tactile buttons for dialing and a few voice commands for making calls and changing visual settings.

Raz Mobility offers the RAZ Memory Cell Phone at a price of $309.00, with an unlocked version compatible with Verizon and AT&T for $349.00. The MiniVision2 also sells for $309.00. While the cost may be high for the limited amount of features, either one of these phones may be the perfect fit for certain seniors with specific disabilities.

Raz Mobility’s Cell Phone Features

  • Easy-to-use, very simple interfaces
  • Remote management for caregivers
  • 4G VoLTE cell phone signal
  • Compatible with nearly all major cell phone service companies
  • Three months of free service through Mint Mobile (if desired)

Learn More About the RAZ Memory Cell Phone

Learn More About the MiniVision2 Cell Phone

Lively

Lively is the only cellular service provider in the country that offers an integrated, proprietary medical alert system with its devices. The company only offers two phones — the Jitterbug Flip2 and the Jitterbug Smart3 — but both phones come pre-installed with Lively’s software made just for seniors, as well as a host of highly practical, senior-oriented apps and hardware features. Lively uses the Verizon network and its devices are made in part by Samsung.

While Lively’s phones are beneficial for seniors and easy to set up, the company has received some criticism for the pricing of its service plans, though its prices are comparatively low-cost for lower-volume users. Lively offers the additional monthly purchase of a Health & Safety Package to go with its talk and text plans. This package includes Urgent Response Services, the Lively Link app which connects users with their caregivers, and 24/7 access to doctors and nurses.

Access to Urgent Response Services is included with the lowest-priced Health & Safety Package, which is offered at $19.99 per month. At $34.99 per month, the highest-tier package provides customers with unlimited access to a friendly operator that helps with tasks like finding addresses and setting up appointments.

Lively’s talk and text plans are low-cost compared to those offered by general service providers, at about $15-$20 per month. Talk, text, and data can all be purchased as individually priced options. However, Lively offers unlimited talk and text for just $19.99 per month and unlimited talk, text and data for $49.99 a month. The company offers up to 5 gigabytes of data per month at an a-la-carte price of $15 to Lively customers is the unlimited talk, text, and data plan with their highest-tier Health & Safety Package for a monthly total of $84.98, plus taxes and fees. 

  • Users who do not take advantage of Lively’s suite of Health & Safety features pay $19.99 per month for unlimited talk and text. They also pay the same amount for unlimited talk, text and data (though more limited a-la-carte options are available for each).
  • Startup costs include a device purchase price of $99.99 for the Flip2 or $149.99 for the Smart3.
  • New service plans with Lively require a $35 activation charge.

For a complete list of Lively’s service plans, Health & Safety Packages and pricing, visit Lively.com.

Lively’s Senior-Focused Features

  • Urgent Response Service (medical alert)
  • Urgent Care (speak with medical professionals 24/7 and order prescriptions)
  • Lively Link app (caregiver connectivity feature)
  • Personal Operator (assists with tasks like finding addresses and setting up appointments)
  • Large, bright screen and buttons
  • Simple navigation
  • Voice-activated commands and texting
  • Magnifier and flashlight for reading
  • Pre-installed, mind-stimulating games for seniors
  • Hearing aid compatibility
  • GPS location tracking

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular is considered one of the best cell service providers in the industry for its award-winning customer service and low prices. This company also has a marketing arrangement with the AARP that provides 5 percent monthly discounts on bills and 30 percent discounts on device accessories for paying members of the AARP. Other major highlights of this carrier are that it is 100 percent U.S. based and offers no-contract plans at very competitive prices.

Unlike Lively, Consumer Cellular does not manufacture its own phones. Rather, it offers a large selection of flip and smartphones, most of which can be found in the stores of the big four service providers, including the newest Apple and Samsung devices. Customers can also bring their own devices over to the Consumer Cellular network from another carrier. Consumer Cellular uses AT&T and T-Mobile’s s towers and networks to provide its service, so people in most areas across the country can use its services.

Consumer Cellular’s prices tend to be lower than those offered by Lively, though this is largely due to the fact that Consumer Cellular does not offer health and safety assistance features for seniors. However, this provider’s lower prices are also a result of the fact that it does not charge a service activation fee and it offers a less complicated pricing structure with no overage fees. Although Consumer Cellular’s plan offerings are more basic than Lively’s, what you see truly is what you get with this carrier.

Consumer Cellular’s Overall Pricing

  • There is no charge for a customer’s first line, but a second line can be added for $20 per month
  • All plans offer unlimited talk, and prices range from $15-$55 per month based on data gigabytes.
  • Text and Internet access plans are bundled together, as both use data. Customers have six options for the amount of data they use, from 1 gigabyte to unlimited.
  • 1 GB of data costs $20 per month, 3 GB of data is $25 per month, 7 GB of data is $35 per month, 10 GB of data is $40 per month, 15 GB is $45 per month, and unlimited data is $55 per month.
  • Unlike Lively, Consumer Cellular customers who use more than their monthly data or talk allowance are not charged per-minute or per-megabyte fees; Consumer Cellular bumps the overaged plan up to the next pricing tier instead.

What Makes a Cell Phone Good for Seniors?

To help seniors stay connected to a support system of caregivers, family, and medical professionals, cell phone companies often integrate assistive features intended just for them into modern devices. These features come in the form of apps, settings, and hardware functions. 

Most phones that are not made specifically for seniors do not come with these kinds of features pre-installed or built into the hardware. However, smartphones furnished with a monthly data plan can download a nearly limitless array of apps and software that can make life easier and safer for senior citizens. Read below to learn about the most common mobile device features for older users.

Feature

Senior Benefits

Caregiver Support Apps

Helps in emergency situations with GPS location tracking and visibility into seniors’ schedules, device charge level and overall well-being

Medical Alert Integration

Connects seniors to professional emergency monitoring service with their information on file and dispatches immediate medical assistance

SOS Buttons

Allows seniors to simultaneously contact multiple emergency contacts with the single push of a button

Hearing Aid Compatibility

Ensures seniors do not experience feedback issues when using a phone in combination with a hearing aid

Hearing and Visual Aids

Enables hearing and visually impaired seniors to use phones by incorporating screen magnification, heightened contrast, text-to-speech readouts, enlarged text, and more

Voice Command Features

Completes simple phone tasks, like making calls and opening apps, based on seniors’ voice commands (i.e. Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant)

Deciding Between a Flip Phone vs Smartphone

With more innovative technology coming onto the market every year, finding a device that will suit your needs and lifestyle can be a little confusing. To clarify what kinds of phones will be ideal for seniors with different needs and competency levels, read on to find out more about the basic types of consumer technologies that we have included in our list of the best devices for seniors.

Traditional Mobile Phones (Flip Phones)

While it’s difficult these days to find a candy bar-style phone with a physical keypad and limited functionality, flip phones are still in demand. Most flip phones available today appear to be relatively unchanged from the old flip-style Nokias and StarTACs that many people carried 20 to 30 years ago. Those devices were durable, simple machines with digital (rather than virtual) screens, and they did little more than make calls. Even after text messaging became popular, most flip phones stayed behind the curve, opting instead to keep things traditional.

What has changed for the flip phone is that most now support texting and provide a more graphical screen that can display a very basic set of applications, such as a text app, a calendar, a calculator and a dialer. Many also now come with a programmable button that can be set up by the user to dial an emergency contact or launch a specific app without the need to navigate the phone’s menu. Though all of the flip phones on our list can use 4G LTE data to support HD calling and GPS, these features typically do not result in monthly data charges to the user, so most flip phones can be paired with talk-and-text-only service plans.

Flip phones are generally sufficient for these uses:

  • Making calls
  • Texting
  • Using basic apps like calendars and calculators
  • Using caregiver apps to track the phone over GPS
  • Limited Internet browser use

Smartphones

Smartphones come in a broad array of styles, though almost all of them feature an all-glass face without a physical keypad, and also feature a more clearly defined display than most flip phones offer. These devices can support talk-and-text-only service plans for users who appreciate the virtual, on-screen navigation of a smartphone but who do not use Internet functionality. In most cases, however, the cost of smartphones will be higher than traditionally styled devices because they are capable of delivering a user experience that integrates a variety of online features, like the ability to download games and other apps, or even to download a completely different user interface to suit the owner’s needs and preferences.

Smartphones are also usually faster than flip phones, as their broader range of capabilities is increasingly tailored to consumers who subject their phones to heavier usage and thus need more processing power. Flip phone users may find that navigating their device’s apps and menus can take a little longer, especially if they have multiple applications open at the same time.

Smartphones can be used for these applications:

  • Making calls and texting
  • Having video calls with friends and family
  • Taking higher-quality pictures and video
  • Using social media and Internet browsers
  • Downloading apps and games
  • Utilizing more sophisticated caregiver apps
  • Using downloadable launchers to simplify the user interface (on Android devices)

Who Can Benefit from Using a Cell Phone?

Who Can Benefit from Using a Cell Phone?

With the huge variety of consumer tech devices on the market, there truly is something for everybody, but finding the right device for yourself or a loved one can be a difficult choice to make. To make your device shopping experience a little easier, here we’ll cover what kinds of device features may be best suited to seniors in particular circumstances. 

Independent Seniors and People with Disabilities

Living independently in one’s family home is increasingly popular among seniors, and there are now technological advancements that can help to make aging in place a safer, more secure experience. Even for people who must have the aid of a caregiver at least some of the time, remaining independent is now more within reach than ever thanks to preventative and emergency device features for seniors.

Seniors who fall into this category should look for a device with the following features:

  • Medical Alert: The only cell phones that currently ship with medical alert capabilities are GreatCall’s Jitterbug phones, which feature a large 5Star Assistance button that subscribers can use to reach an accredited call center. Users who download or utilize medical alert applications from any device manufacturer or app developer should first ensure that the call center tasked with providing the service is an effective emergency response center, and that it has the user’s full information on file. In some cases, it may be preferable that alerts are sent directly to 911 services rather than through a medical alert call center. For people who are at significant risk of needing emergency services, it may be best to buy a smartwatch with integrated Google GPS technology, with which 911 can be reached easily and directly. For users who are less likely to find themselves in an emergency situation, it may be sufficient to set up their phone so that emergency contacts can be reached without deeply navigating the device’s user interface. This can often be done with the use of a user-programmable button or speed-dial apps placed on a device’s homescreen.
  • Smartphone Functionality: Seniors who still have the drive and capacity to learn a new device may be better equipped to stay connected with younger family members, and thus may desire a more capable device. Some modern flip phones can support limited smart functionality, such as Wi-Fi calling and video chat. However, flip devices typically operate more slowly and do not allow app downloads for games and online banking, and accessing social media may not be an option. 
  • SOS Functions: An SOS button that can set off a loud alarm and contact emergency services and caregivers is a very useful new innovation for seniors who are living independently. These can typically alert family members when used to dial 911 and can also be useful for active seniors who find themselves in a situation where they feel unsafe. 

Seniors Experiencing Forgetfulness

For people who may be in the early to moderate stages of dementia, having a device around that can remind them to carry out vital functions or just to remember where they are is often incredibly useful. For users who may not remember to carry their device with them, most devices now come with a voice assistant that can be set up to give reminders audibly over a speaker so that it can be heard around the home. 

Seniors who fall into this category should look for a device with the following features:

  • Event Reminders: Calendar apps are integrated into all modern consumer devices, and these can be set to provide reminders on a recurring basis at a frequency of the user’s choosing. The volume and ring tone of an event reminder can be set up by the user or a caregiver, so for people who may come to rely on their reminder apps, a louder phone is ideal. Devices made particularly for seniors may offer more capable reminder applications.
  • SOS Buttons: As mentioned above, SOS buttons and apps are an easily accessible means of setting off an alarm and/or calling emergency services and a user’s emergency contacts simultaneously. If you or a loved one should ever forget where you are when you’re in public, sounding the alarm with an SOS button can significantly cut your chances of becoming more lost or endangered.
  • Caregiver Apps: A caregiver app may be the most useful feature that modern devices can offer for users whose memory has diminished. These applications generally offer caregivers the ability to remotely locate their loved one’s device using its GPS tracker, and also to allow caregivers to log into the phone. The exact features available with caregiver apps will vary with the brand and operating system of the device you buy, but most of these apps can allow caregivers to input event reminders, set up features and the user interface, lock certain apps and make sure that the one they care for has been remembering to get to important appointments. 
  • Navigation Apps: Many seniors are still quite active when their memory begins to weaken. Some may still drive themselves around or bike and walk frequently. With navigation apps such as Google Maps, a user’s most frequented destinations can be saved and directions can be downloaded for offline use, and these apps make it easy to pinpoint your current location as well. 

Seniors at Risk of Becoming Isolated

Isolation has always been a serious senior health and wellness issue. A modern contributor to senior isolation is the increasingly common trend of younger friends and family engaging digitally rather than in person or by making voice calls. As a result, the presence of seniors on social media phone apps like Instagram and Facebook has increased by about fourfold since 2010. Smartphones are a key piece in helping seniors stay involved with a support system of loved ones and caregivers.

Seniors who fall into this category should look for a device with the following features:

  • Caregiver and Wellness Apps: While caregiver apps offer lots of options to remotely monitor your loved one’s safety, some of these apps, and also wellness apps made for seniors, can include more social components. For example, GreatCall’s Jitterbug phones offer GreatCall Link and other proprietary apps which provide a place for a device user to express how they are feeling each day so that caregivers can check in and monitor their loved one’s sense of wellbeing. Jitterbug users can also use their phone and GreatCall’s services to reach a personal operator or receive calls from medical professionals.
  • Front-Facing Camera: Video calling is often integrated into pre-installed phone calling apps for smartphones, and it’s a function that young children and teens use quite often to communicate. For device users who wish to interact with young family members using video to make calls or to record content to send to loved ones, a device with a front-facing camera located near the display is ideal. While most smartphones will come with both a front and rear camera, most flip phones only have a rear-facing lens. 
  • Smartphone Functionality: Features like the GrandPad’s ability to automatically import media that friends and family post on social media sites make it easy for seniors to stay involved with the day-to-day lives of their families. Especially for seniors who have difficulty leaving the house, being able to get online to communicate or just to see what your loved ones have been up to can be very rewarding. As we stated above, most flip phones do not support Internet browsing or downloaded apps and games. 

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Cell Phone for Seniors

1. Determine the level of simplicity that the mobile device user will require.

Users who desire a completely bare-bones cell phone are not without options, but many seniors may find a talk-and-text-only flip phone a little too simple to suit their everyday needs. Even users who do not frequently use the Internet may want to play Candy Crush once in a while or download pictures of their grandchildren from social media sites. 

For these consumers, a slightly more capable smartphone, such as the Jitterbug Smart2, can be purchased nearly ready to use, requiring minimal effort to set up. Other devices that are simplified for use by seniors are set up with the help of a representative who will guide the whole process over the phone and even remotely install a user’s contacts and photos for them.  

There is also the option to buy a mass-market smartphone, like the iPhone 7 or the Android-based Moto G7 Power, and then program it to be as simple or complex as the user needs it to be. When purchasing this kind of device, however, it’s best to remember that the process of programming a smartphone’s user interface can become complicated and time-consuming if a lot of changes are needed to simplify the device for use by a senior who has a low competency for consumer technology. 

Caregivers and seniors should be aware of what kinds of apps, interface and accessibility settings they require in a phone before buying a device that could take hours or days to customize to suit those needs. Compared to the Jitterbug Smart2, the GrandPad from Consumer Cellular, or even Apple’s iPhones, smart devices based on the Android operating system have more capacity for customization and, as a result, can be more complicated to program.

2. Look for mobile devices that are compatible with your chosen cell service provider.

Cell service across the country is provided by the ‘big four’ service providers, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, and also their subsidiaries, like Cricket Wireless (using AT&T’s networks) and Metro (by T-Mobile) among others. Lively, one of our featured cell service providers, uses the Verizon network, while our other featured provider, Consumer Cellular, uses AT&T and T-Mobile. Raz Mobility offers an “unlocked” version of their smartphone that can work with AT&T and Verizon.

The four main carriers all have widespread national coverage, though one or two may have more solid coverage in your area and offer better call quality. Finding your best provider may require asking around about which is a local favorite or just trying a few carriers before you find your best option. Whichever carrier you choose, the device you purchase must be compatible with their network for the carrier to offer you service. 

Though all providers sell a variety of devices that are tied to their own service plans, many devices, such as the Moto G7 Power and the Raz Memory Cell Phone covered above, can be purchased ‘unlocked’, which means that they are not restricted to use with one particular provider. Owners of unlocked phones can usually shop for service plans from any provider, as long as the nearly outmoded CDMA carrier device restrictions do not apply. 

CDMA technology is usually only a problem with older phones, but it can effectively restrict device owners to using either Verizon/Sprint (the CDMA carriers) or AT&T/T-Mobile. However, CDMA may not be an issue for many consumers as purchasing a ‘locked’ device directly from a service provider’s stores can come with carrier-specific perks, such as long-term payment plans for devices and monthly discounts on service.

3. Ensure that your loved one’s mobile device is future-proof.

Though most seniors today have little interest in cutting edge consumer tech, future proof devices can benefit seniors who require even a small amount of internet data for things like GPS, or who are becoming hard of hearing. The four North American cellular carriers have widely turned off support for 3G internet data to make room for 5G LTE usage.

Beginning in 2020, phones that are only compatible with 2G or 3G Internet connections saw a significant reduction in their ability to support smart functionality. Another advancement of 2020 is that cell carriers are now beginning to offer HD calling that uses 4G LTE rather than cellular data to support call connections. Users will likely still be able to use the same basic calling apps that they have always used on their mobile devices, but the connection strength and audio quality of their calls will be much improved by the switch to 4G LTE.

4. Understand all the costs and fees of your mobile device and service plan.

Low-cost service plans are available from the four large carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile) as well as from providers who use those companies’ networks as Lively, Consumer Cellular, and Raz Mobility do. But most, if not all of the time, low-cost plans are most advantageous for low-volume users who do not require unlimited talk and text with lots of data. 

Even plans that are advertised for seniors and low-income people can approach the average cost of cell service if a selected plan provides for high usage. This is why it’s important to very carefully review all of the price points being offered by any carrier, and all of their caveats. Also note that many new contracts come with added one-time costs, as most carriers require an activation fee. And, of course, keep in mind that taxes and fees on monthly bills are not usually included in advertised prices for usage. These will include carrier fees as well as various state and local taxes.

Other costs can add up when carriers offer payment plans on devices that allow customers to pay a small amount of their device’s cost on each monthly bill. Remember, however, that early termination of a contract will usually result in not only a sizeable early termination fee but will also require the consumer to pay off the remaining balance for their device in one or two final payments. 

Yet another cost to look out for can show up on your bill near your contract’s end. Most carriers will offer a discount on monthly payments until the end of a ‘promotional period’ that usually lasts until the end of the initial contract’s term, after which point your payments can go up unless you call in or go to a store to begin a new contract with new promotional discounts. 

When shopping for low-cost cellular plans, don’t hesitate to go online, break out your calculator and take some notes on what you find. Pay special attention to any temporary discounts you are offered, and when calculating the base rates for your plan, tack on about $15 to $25 per month to cover device insurance, device purchase costs and taxes/fees.

How To Help An Older Loved One Get The Most Out of Their Cell Phone

How To Help An Older Loved One Get The Most Out of Their Cell Phone

Learn how to use caregiver apps.

For seniors, part of finding a ‘future-proof’ device includes finding one that will support the increasing needs of old age. Even if a loved one doesn’t need much oversight today, it’s prudent to think of features that may assist them if they begin to lose their memory or other ability to function down the road. Caregiver apps can be extremely helpful in that regard.

Caregiver apps can provide a means to log into a consenting friend or family member’s device to help them perform basic functions with the phone, such as entering emergency contacts or adjusting settings. But often, that is just the tip of the iceberg for what caregiver apps can do. Most can provide the means to locate a senior via GPS if they are lost and can help them stay connected to emergency services and caregivers if they find themselves in an emergency situation. Many also come with emergency medical identification features that can aid medical professionals who need to be quickly informed of a device owner’s needs and conditions.

When setting up a new phone, a first priority should be ensuring that all the most helpful features of a caregiver app are set up as well, and if no caregiver apps come pre-installed on the device, caregivers should look into downloading one from their device’s app store. Caregivers should ensure that all medical information is filled out and filed away where it can be easily accessed by a device administrator or medical professional. And just as importantly, caregivers should ensure that they have easy access to their loved one’s phone and create memorable passwords for quick access should the need arise. It’s also wise to get used to using caregiver app features so that they remain useful under current and future circumstances.

Help your loved one make their device effective and easy to use.

Setting up a new phone can be more or less complicated depending on which device you purchase, though in many cases, some assistance with setup may be needed for a senior to get the most use out of their device. Taking the time to fully set up all of a phone’s most beneficial features and helping your loved one to learn to use them is best to do right after purchasing a device. This way, the user will be less likely to become uncertain of their ability to depend on their new technology, and they’ll be more likely to use the device and all of its unique benefits.

Device setup can encompass a broad range of administrative tweaks which can take hours or multiple days to attend to, so the best way to begin the setup process is often to focus on your loved one’s most pressing and immediate needs. Caregiver apps should definitely be part of this process, as stated above, but beyond that, there are some basic things you can do to make your loved one’s first impressions of their device as positive as possible.

The following are a few basic steps to take when first setting up a loved one’s device.

  • Enter medical information in caregiver and medical alert apps
  • Set up fingerprint ID authentication for unlocking and app access
  • Program voice assistants to understand your loved one’s spoken commands
  • Set up voice dialing and specific voice commands
  • Turn on location services so the phone can be found remotely
  • Set the text size and ringer volume
  • Turn on and set up Easy Mode and other visual/hearing assistance settings
  • Save their most frequented locations in their GPS app
  • Set up speed dial and input contacts
  • Set up SOS buttons or emergency alert features
  • Simplify their homescreen to contain only apps they are most likely to use
  • Set up programmable buttons to perform their most useful functions
  • Save any passwords they may need to remember in a password manager
  • Disable Auto Correct and other advanced keyboard settings
  • Download Android launcher apps to simplify the user interface

Set up reminders for things they may forget.

Most phones — even flip phones — will have a calendar or related app in which you can set regular or one-off reminders for certain events. Caregiver apps can also include event reminders, providing caregivers with the ability to remotely program reminders and use GPS to make sure their loved one gets to their important appointments. Reminders can be set up as recurring events, so they can function as medication cues as well as alarms to remind the user of birthdays, doctor’s appointments and other important dates. It may also be a good idea to use your loved one’s device to set up auto-pay of their bills via Google Pay or Apple Pay. This can be a more effective means than simple reminders for making sure the lights stay on.

Make sure the device is easy to find if it’s lost.

Smart devices now come with a ‘find my phone’ feature to help users locate their devices using another device, such as a desktop computer or smartphone. Apple’s Find My iPhone app and Google’s Find My Device app for Android phones can locate a lost device by pinpointing its location or by saving the location of the phone whenever its battery becomes critically low. However, some users may not have another device with which to use Find My Device, or they may require a simpler and more exact means of finding their device after misplacing it around the house. In these instances, a GPS tag device with a simple alarm can be very helpful. There are many small devices on the market, such as Tile, that can be fixed to a phone’s case without adding significant bulk or weight, and which can give off an alarm sound at the push of a button or be located by GPS using another device.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do if my loved one forgets to keep their cell phone with them?

Many seniors and caregivers experience this problem, though it’s more of an issue for people who rely more heavily on their device for emergency assistance and caregiver functionality, such as GPS location of a device owner. In these instances, it may be more beneficial to look into purchasing an attractive and comfortable smart watch that the user may enjoy wearing and find easy to use. For other users who are less reliant on their device for their safety, caregivers should ensure that they and their loved one are able to find the device using Google’s Find My Device feature or Apple’s Find My iPhone, both of which can be accessed remotely using any device that supports web browsing. Small GPS tags and attachments, such as the Tile mentioned above, can emit an alarm sound with the push of a button so that users can find their devices when misplaced around the house or in the car.

What do GreatCall’s health and safety features do for seniors?

GreatCall’s health and safety services are available as add-ons, and different combinations of services are available with differently priced Health & Safety Packages. Depending on what the customer is willing to pay each month, GreatCall’s Packages can offer the following forms of assistance:

  • 5Star Urgent Response connects users with a live agent by pushing the dedicated 5Star button on any Jitterbug phone. Agents pinpoint the caller’s location and can connect them with their personal contacts or emergency services.
  • GreatCall Link is a pre-installed app on all GreatCall phones that helps caregivers stay connected with loved ones to monitor their health and safety.
  • Brain Games are pre-installed apps on Jitterbug phones that are designed to promote memory retention and help users stay sharp.
  • GreatCall Rides allows users to call for a Lyft rideshare to take them where they need to go at affordable rates. Users can dial 0 to reach their Personal Operator, who will order a Lyft for them.
  • Personal Operators can be reached by dialing 0 on a Jitterbug phone. They can help with device operation, address and phone number lookups and more.

Can a smartphone be simple enough for a total beginner to use?

If caregivers are willing and able to program a smartphone to their own specifications, then it’s likely they’ll be able to do the same for someone who needs a very simplified user experience on their smartphone. Most means of simplifying a user interface are available in a device’s native settings, and can include Accessibility Settings, touch ID setup, and other minor adjustments such as those included in our Tips for Caregivers section above. For users of Android phones who require the simplest interface possible, launcher apps are available in the Google Play Store which, when downloaded, provide a seemingly brand-new user experience. There are lots of well-reviewed launchers for seniors available in the Play Store that can simplify the Android user experience in a variety of ways, and most of them require very little technical knowledge to install and set up. When purchasing a smart device for a beginner, it’s necessary to teach them how to operate their device to accomplish basic tasks. This can take time and patience, but it’s worthwhile.

What’s the difference between Apple devices (iOS) and devices that use the Android operating system (OS)?

The main difference between Apple and Android devices is that Apple’s products are all made exclusively by Apple, whereas Android provides open source software for phones that allows any device manufacturer to adapt their devices for use with the Android operating system. The result is that Apple’s products have more predictable build quality and that the apps available in Apple’s proprietary App Store are all made specifically for a limited range of standardized devices so that some apps can operate more smoothly and capably on Apple devices. Another key difference between Android and Apple is that Android phones are much more customizable by users and come in a broad array of designs and capability levels from different manufacturers. Android phones can also be much more affordable than an iPhone, whereas iPhones can be easier for less experienced smart technology users to operate without the need for major settings adjustments.

Can flip phones use Internet apps and features?

Most flip phones offer at least a limited amount of Internet functionality, though often this does not include the use of an Internet browser or app downloads. The flip phones that we have listed in our comparison guide above all support the use of 4G LTE Internet to allow consumers to use GPS or HD calling for better call connections. However, the majority of flip phones on the market now ship with a few pre-installed productivity apps that may not require an Internet connection, such as a calendar, calculator or magnifier.

If I don’t qualify for Lifeline, what are my options for low-cost devices and service plans?

For device and cellular plan shoppers who do not qualify for Lifeline (see Lifeline’s eligibility criteria above), the best option for low-cost plans and devices is usually a very limited prepaid plan with an off-brand flip or smartphone. These can be found in most grocery and department stores. Large service providers may also offer prepaid plans, though their available low-cost devices may be more costly than the off-brand devices you’ll find at large retail stores.

Can I lock certain apps or limit Internet activity to avoid scams?

There are device users for whom having lots of apps and features at their disposal is just confusing, and this can result in their making accidental in-app purchases or even being targeted by scams and hackers online. Many modern devices come with restriction settings which can limit the types of websites that a device’s browser can open or lock apps that the device user is unlikely to need. App locking and limiting Internet traffic are usually part of a device’s Security Settings, though some devices that are made for seniors, like the GrandPad for example, offer caregivers the ability to remotely limit a loved one’s device usage in certain applications.

Is there a way to make remembering lots of passwords easier without compromising device security?

Many smartphone users now utilize some form of password manager to keep all of their important login IDs in one secure place. But with the many data breaches that have happened in recent years, it can be difficult to trust a service provider to look after your passwords for you. However, writing down passwords either on a physical notepad or in a digital note that you keep in your device can make technology consumers even more likely to misplace passwords, or more vulnerable to hacks. The leading password management services take consistent and sophisticated measures to secure user data, including two-step verification and regular security updates that keep users a step ahead of data thieves. Many smartphones now come with proprietary password management apps and settings created by the device manufacturer. These can usually be found among a device’s Security Settings


To find out more about other assistive devices and safety-enhancing technology, read our guides to these topics: