Whether you’re looking for a modern smartphone with a touchscreen or a simpler device for talking and texting, a good cell phone keeps seniors connected with family, friends, and the world at large. And with 92 percent of those 65 and older owning a cell phone, manufacturers are taking notice by designing simplified devices that cater to their needs.
For this list, we focused on phones that are exceptionally easy to use, looking for features like simple navigation, voice commands, large buttons, and simple pricing. A lack of long-term contracts certainly earned bonus points, too!
When it comes to ease of use, there are several features we looked for. Each of the phones listed below is advanced in its own right, but they all share some traits that make them truly accessible.
Large buttons: Whether they are on a touchscreen or a traditional keypad, we love large buttons, which make it a breeze to navigate menus and type out messages with few mistakes.
Clear displays: With nearly 15 percent of people over 65 living with vision impairment, we looked for phones with displays that are bright, high-resolution, and adjustable in terms of the font size.
Quality speakers: The ideal speaker on a cell phone should be loud and clear enough for seamless calls. Additionally, we sought out phones that are compatible with hearing aids.
Voice commands: Voice commands are a recent development in phones both smart and traditional. This handy feature can make it a breeze to look up information, send messages, and even set reminders.
Simplified plans: While not necessarily a part of the device, cellular plans can often cause more headaches than the phones themselves. We looked for devices that are compatible with straightforward plans that won’t saddle you with hidden fees and long-term contracts.
The Easiest Cell Phones For Seniors
After hours of research and testing, we’ve narrowed the field down to five exceptionally simple phones. Here is our roundup of the easiest cell phones for seniors in 2023:
Combining traditional phone design with advanced medical alert features, the Jitterbug Flip2 is modern yet classic. If you need a simple phone that’s easy to use, then this is a great option.
With its classic clamshell design, the Flip2 features large, tactile buttons, in addition to dedicated buttons for speakerphone, power, and urgent response. When paired with a compatible plan, the red urgent response button will connect you to trained monitoring agents who can pinpoint your location and send help in the event of an emergency.
Compared to prior Jitterbug phones, the Flip2 is especially easy to use because of its Amazon Alexa feature. By activating this feature, you can send messages, call contacts, set reminders, and look up information — solely by using your voice. For example, I can ask my phone to give me the weather forecast, movie showtimes, and the addresses of nearby grocery stores.
In terms of plans, you can either opt for 300 talk minutes and 10 cents per text message for $14.99 per month, or you can get unlimited talk and text for $19.99 per month. Features like urgent response and medication reminders will cost an extra monthly fee.
With its bright screen, large text, and streamlined menus, the JitterBug Smart3 makes its advanced features accessible and intuitive. I could see even the most technologically averse person using this phone with ease.
While smartphones are not known for being the easiest to use, the Smart3 makes it easy with a large, bright screen and its list-based menus. On the home screen, you’ll see all of its features — phone, messages, camera, and internet — laid out neatly. Activating one of these features is as easy as pressing on the touchscreen. I had no trouble typing accurately, and the same goes for dialing numbers.
In my many test phone calls, I noticed no issues. Both the call quality and volume were superb, and all of my calls, both inside and outside my home, went through without a hitch. The Smart2 also features voice dialing and messaging, so I was able to make calls and send messages solely by using my voice. The 13 MP camera on this phone is also impressive. Compared to the flip phones on this list, the Jitterbug Smart3 is in a league of its own in terms of image quality. Additionally, you can use this phone to make video calls.
As with the Jitterbug Flip, the Smart3 must be paired with a plan from Lively. Unlimited talk and text costs at $19.99 per month, and data plans range from $2.49 to $30 per month. Additionally, you can purchase safety features on a subscription basis.
Designed for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, the Memory Cell Phone does away with many of the features you’d expect from a smartphone. It can make phone calls, receive them, and store up to 30 contacts.
The beauty of this simplicity is that it’s nearly impossible to get lost or confused with this phone. The home screen displays the user’s contacts alongside large photos, making it easy to place a call.
Additionally, the Memory Cell Phone can be controlled through an online portal (accessible either through a web browser or a smartphone app). Through this portal, a loved one can add contacts and change the settings on the phone. For example, using the portal, we could adjust the ringtone volume or add a dial pad to the Memory Cell Phone.
Combining the features of a smartphone with the simplified design of a flip phone, Alcatel’s GO FLIP 4 offers an advanced yet streamlined experience. Let’s start with the basics.
First off, the call quality is great on this handset, each of our conversations coming in loud and clear. When it comes to size, this slim device fits easily into pockets or a purse, yet its 2.8-inch screen makes it easy to read. Additionally, this phone lasted two weeks before it needed a recharge.
What separates the GO FLIP 4 from the flip phones of yore are its smart capabilities. With its 4 GB of internal memory, you can download a handful of apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp — a rarity on flip phones. This phone’s app store also offers weather and stock trading apps.
The Alcatel GO FLIP 4 is compatible with a number of networks, and you can purchase it either directly from a provider or through a big-box store. Due to their affordable unlimited plans, we’d recommend purchasing the GO FLIP 4 from T-Mobile.
If you’ve only ever used flip phones, then any smartphone will seem a bit complicated; however, for those unafraid of a slight learning curve, the iPhone SE is a multi-faceted device with useful features and a great camera.
If you’ve ever heard of Apple’s iPhones, then you already know how they can do just about anything a computer can, from taking high-quality photos to surfing the web and checking emails. What makes the iPhone SE particularly noteworthy, however, is its built-in voice assistant, named Siri. By using Siri, you can access just about every one of this phone’s features, purely by using your voice. This makes it exceptionally easy to use.
As with all iPhones, the SE has high-quality cameras, making it great for taking photos and chatting over video. It also has a loud speakerphone and access to Apple’s App Store, where you can download a number of useful apps, including medication managers, step counters, and news outlets.
The iPhone SE can be used on just about any network of your choosing; however, if you plan to make use of its internet features (including the App Store and video calling), then we recommend choosing one of T-Mobile’s unlimited plans.
Cost: $59 when purchased through Consumer Cellular
While it may be a far cry from the plentiful features of the smartphones on this list, the Consumer Cellular Link II is an ideal option for someone looking for an affordable phone that makes calls, sends messages, and can maintain a single charge for several days.
The Link II, available in either black or red, looks like a traditional flip phone. Its exterior features a small screen that displays the date, time, and info for incoming calls. The large interior screen displays its simple menus and a large keypad.
While the Link II offers little in the way of advanced features — no voice commands or app stores here — what it does do, it accomplishes with aplomb. Calls come in loud and clear, and messages are easy to send and view. Additionally, this phone lasted for about eight days before we needed to recharge it.
In terms of plans, this phone can be paired with one of Consumer Cellular’s talk and text plans, which start at $15 per month for unlimited talk. Messages and data will cost extra; however, with this phone, there’s little need for a data plan.
Currently, T-Mobile offers a trio of plans specifically for those of over 55. T-Mobile senior plans, starting at $27.50 per month, cut out much of the hassle with choosing a wireless provider. Not only do they provide you with unlimited talk, text, and data (perfect for avoiding pesky overage charges), but they also come with no annual service contracts. These plans are a great, straightforward way to make the most of the phones detailed here.
Alternatively, some of our other favorite wireless providers include:
Finding the right cell phone can be a challenge, especially when it comes to keeping things simple. Luckily, as these devices become more advanced, manufacturers are striving to make them even easier to use.
The Jitterbug Flip2 and Jitterbug Smart3 are two of the easiest phones to use, due to their simple menus, voice commands, and accessibility features. Additionally, the Alcatel GO FLIP 4 has a simple design that anyone could pick up and use.
The Jitterbug Smart3 is likely the easiest phone for seniors to use. While it has all the features of an Android phone or iPhone, its list-based menu and voice command features make it exceptionally easy to navigate.
The Jitterbug Flip2 is hands-down the easiest phone for seniors to use. Its simple design and voice commands make it a breeze to operate, even for first-time users. For those with dementia or related conditions, the RAZ Memory Phone is a good alternative.
For first-time users, either the Jitterbug Smart3 or iPhone SE would be a good place to start. Both of them have extensive feature sets. The former is easier to use, and the latter features a built-in voice assistant to help you navigate.
Several phones made by RAZ Mobility, including the RAZ Memory Phone, feature calling only. This phone is designed for those with dementia or other memory disorders.
Ryan has years of experience researching and testing products that help people successfully age in place. After years of working for various publications such as Boston Magazine and The Believer, he has found his home at The Senior List, writing about all things related to caregiving and senior healthcare.