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Best iPhones for Seniors in 2021

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While many assume that seniors have little interest in smartphones, studies show that about half of older adults own one. And when it comes to smartphones, there’s hardly a better option than iPhones.

Combining sleek design with surprisingly intuitive interfaces, iPhones are the perfect smartphone for seniors. With that said, at any given moment, there are about a dozen different phone options from Apple to choose from. After months of testing, we’ve come up with three of our favorites.

How We Chose the Best iPhones for Seniors

Apple releases new iPhone models every year, and it’s often difficult to discern the differences between each one. When choosing the best iPhones for seniors, we looked for the following:

Did You Know: To learn more about our favorite phones and providers, read our guides to the best phones for seniors and best cell phone plans for seniors.

iPhones for Seniors Compared

Phone Price Screen Size Camera Quality Battery Life Ideal For
iPhone SE $399.99 4.7 inches 12 MP
  • 13 hours talk time
  • 9 days standby
Those who have never owned a smartphone and want a compact yet intuitive device.
iPhone 12 Mini $699.99 5.4 inches Dual 12 MP
  • 10 hours talk time
  • 7 days standby
Those who want a high-powered smartphone that can fit easily in a pocket.
iPhone XR $499.99 6.1 inches 12MP
  • 20 hours talk time
  • 12 days standby
Those who want a high-powered smartphone that can last all day.

Best iPhones for Seniors

1. Apple iPhone SE - Best Overall Value

4.4 / 5
View Packages
What We Like Most:
  • Simple Interface
  • High-Quality Camera
  • App Store Access
  • Great Battery Life

Overview

Price: $399.99

As with any iPhone, the iPhone SE offers a stellar combination of intuitive design and high-end features. With this phone, you’ll have access to useful iPhone apps for seniors, in addition to the music, video, and gaming capabilities Apple is known for.

What separates this iPhone from the bunch is its price tag and size. At $399.99 for a new iPhone SE, this phone costs less than half the price of the newest releases from Apple. Additionally, while newer models have grown too large for most people to hold with a single hand, this phone is an exception.

iPhone SE
iPhone SE

While its camera is not as high-powered as newer iPhones, most older adults will find it perfectly suitable for sharing images with friends and social media. With its combination of usability, affordability, and quick performance, the iPhone SE is the ideal iPhone for this demographic.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking to save on your cellular plan, check out our guide to senior cell phone discounts.

Pros
  • Most affordable iPhone available
  • Easy to pick up and use
  • Small enough to hold in one hand
  • Available in multiple colors
  • M3/T4 hearing aid compatibility
  • Memory up to 128 GB
Cons
  • Lower quality camera than other iPhones
  • Not compatible with 5G
  • No facial identification

2. Apple iPhone 12 Mini - Best 5G Option

4.5 / 5
View Packages
What We Like Most:
  • Impressive camera quality
  • 5G capabilities
  • Compact size
  • High-definition screen resolution

Overview

Price: $699.99

Apple’s newest flagship phone, the iPhone 12 offers 5G capabilities, IP86 water resistance, and camera quality that can give a DSLR a run for its money. Because of this, we think that the iPhone 12 Mini — small enough to fit in one hand — is a great option for seniors who don’t want to sacrifice anything when it comes to technological performance.

Like the other iPhone 12 models, the iPhone 12 Mini features a dual-camera design, which enabled us to take photos with a stunning degree of accuracy and definition. Additionally, its water-resistant build allowed this phone to perform, even after we dropped it in a glass of water. What’s more, with its 5G capabilities, we were able to stream videos, make calls, and browse the web with unparalleled speeds.

iPhone 12 Mini
iPhone 12 Mini

The one downside of the iPhone 12 Mini would have to be its battery life. Unlike the iPhone SE, this phone’s battery life drained a bit quicker than we would like; however, with its rapid charging abilities, we were able to fully charge it in a matter of minutes.

If you’re looking for a high-powered phone that doesn’t take up too much space in your pocket, look no further than the iPhone 12 Mini.

FYI: While not the same as an iPhone, the Lively Smart is a great smartphone option made specifically for seniors. To learn more, read our Lively Smart review.

Pros
  • Impressive camera quality
  • 5G capabilities
  • Compact size
  • High-definition screen resolution
  • IP68 water resistance
  • Rapid charging
Cons
  • Higher price tag
  • Greater memory becomes expensive
  • Lower battery life

3. Apple iPhone XR - Best Battery Life

3.5 / 5
View Packages
What We Like Most:
  • Large, Brilliant Screen
  • Loud Speakerphone
  • Crystal Clear Photos
  • Intuitive Interface

Overview

Price: $499.99

Although it’s a couple of years old — in terms of Apple’s yearly release cycles — the iPhone XR presents a great combination of high-end features at an affordable price point. With its large 6.1 inch screen, you’ll be able to stream videos and browse the web with crystal-clear quality.

What impressed us most about the iPhone XR, however, was its battery life. Between videos, music, and apps, smartphones are prone to quickly drain batteries. The iPhone XR, however, lasted us all day long with heavy use before needing a recharge. Additionally, it proved highly durable in our tests, capable of withstanding light water exposure and drops.

Apple iPhone XR
Apple iPhone XR

Another feature we appreciated in this phone was its facial identification. Rather than having to remember dozens of passwords for our various accounts, this phone allowed us to use our face as a password.

Of course, this phone is a bit large, making it less than ideal for those with small hands; however, for the person looking for a high-powered phone that won’t break the bank, the iPhone XR is a solid choice.

Pros
  • High-definition screen
  • Great battery life
  • Facial identification
  • Splash and dust resistance
  • Great camera quality
  • Affordable pricing
Cons
  • Larger size
  • Not compatible with 5G
  • No rapid charging

What Is the Best Cellular Network for Seniors?

When it comes to choosing a network for your iPhone, we recommend choosing a provider that offers unlimited talk, text, and data plans. Otherwise, you’ll risk paying hefty overage charges for your internet use. Currently, T-Mobile offers the best deals on these types of plans for older adults.

T-Mobile plans for seniors cost $40 per month for unlimited talk, text, and data. What’s more, these plans allow access to 5G signal strength, and the price drops to $27.50 per line when you add a second line of service.

Why Should Seniors Consider an iPhone?

Any cell phone provides a convenient way to stay in touch with loved ones; however, iPhones essentially function as pocket-sized computers. Easy to pick up and use, iPhones are a great way to check emails, keep track of banking, and take photos; plus, they are becoming more affordable each year.

To learn more about our favorite phones for seniors, check out our helpful guides:

Seniors and iPhones Frequently Asked Questions

Written By
Amie Clark

Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here