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Purchase Guide: Choosing a phone for an older person

  • 26 July 2021
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Purchase Guide: Choosing a phone for an older person
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  • iD Mobile Employee
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Here’s everything you need to know when buying a phone for a senior…

Over the past decade, the number of people using smartphones has grown a serious amount. From 2012 to 2020, the percentage of over 65s using a smartphone grew from just 3% to a big 65%, and it’s set to grow further.

It’s easy to see why. Smartphones let seniors connect with their friends and loved ones, not just by calls and messages but by video calls and emails, too. It’s all there in one place. There’s also health monitoring apps, the web, their favourite radio station, and much more. Smartphones give everyone the confidence to live independently.

Although, not every smartphone is meant for all ages. Some of the more premium phones are made from smooth glass which can be slippery. Others can prove trickier than expected upon setup, and some are more user friendly than others. So, what should you look out for?


Easy to use software:

Smartphones feel more intuitive than ever before, but that doesn’t mean they’re all equally easy to use. For example, some Android phones come with quite a few pre-installed apps that they probably won’t need. A few of these apps can be uninstalled with a few quick taps, but some unfortunately can’t.

We love Google Pixel’s ‘original’ feeling take on Android, which strips out all the stuff you won’t really use and doubles down on the essentials. Plus, the Pixel 4a is refreshingly smaller than the big flagship phones. Likewise, iPhones are well-known for their simple-but-flawless software that looks super clean, feels natural and is simple to use. Both, we think, are winners for seniors.


Larger text and icons:

Both iPhones and Android phones have brilliant accessibility options within their main settings to make things a little clearer. With an iPhone, they can use zoom mode to focus in on anything that’s on the screen, whether they’re searching for an app or reading an email. Android phones have similar customisation options, so the user can change both app icon size and font size. Handy.


Help for the hearing impaired:

After a phone for someone that’s hard of hearing? Look out for phones with added amplification levels for loud and clear sound. You might also want to go for a phone with hearing-aid compatibility (HAC) like the Samsung Galaxy range, which allows it to be wirelessly paired with a hearing-aid in microphone mode.



Okay, so we know that the trend has shifted away from physical buttons on phones over the past few years, but there are still some that have them in one form or another. The iPhone SE still has a home button under the display that has haptic feedback (vibration), and you can change the intensity so it feels more like a real button push.

What if they want actual buttons, the ability to go on Facebook and chat through WhatsApp, but they don’t want all that other smartphone ‘stuff’? The Doro 7080 ticks all those boxes. This flip phone with a twist has an outer screen that displays the caller’s name and number, and they only have to flip it open to answer. Doro specialise in tech to help seniors, and the 7080 is great for keeping them connected.

It’s got loud, clear sound, a decent camera to make video calls, access to Facebook and the web – and traditional buttons. So, it can do all the essentials without any potential touchscreen trial and error!


That’s our list of things that make a great phone for senior citizens! Are there any points we’ve missed?

What do you think makes a great phone across all age groups? Let us know below!

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