Jitterbug Phone Review

Editor's Rating:

4.2 / 5

Since 2005, GreatCall has been bridging the gap between cell phones and older adults. Each of their devices, from the simple Lively Flip to the advanced Jitterbug Smart2, comes packed with advanced features that are easy to use. For those of us who are a bit intimidated by modern smartphones, the kind with cameras more powerful than a DSLR, then it’s likely that GreatCall might be a great place to look for cellular service. But just how do the latest batch of Jitterbugs stack up to the competition?

As a lifelong caregiver for older adults, I have much experience when it comes to technology designed for them. In this review, I’ll be taking a look at two Jitterbug phones, and we’ll find out how they perform. Keep reading to learn more.

Jitterbug Pros and Cons

If you’re short on time, take a look at my main takeaways from using Jitterbug’s cell phones.

What I Liked About Jitterbug

  • Features for Older Adults: From their menus with a simplified navigation to the 5Star urgent response buttons, Jitterbug devices are designed specifically for older adults. Even I appreciated how easy they were to use.
  • Affordable Plans: With devices starting at just $74.99 and plans beginning at a cool $14.99 a month, Jitterbug provides options that can suit just about any budget. I also appreciated that these plans required no long term contracts.
  • Powerful Network: GreatCall uses Verizon’s wireless network, which is frequently ranked as one of the best mobile providers both in terms of speed and coverage. Just about anywhere I took my phones, I received flawless service and speedy access to data.

What I Didn't Like About Jitterbug

  • No Family Plans: Currently, Jitterbug does not offer any sort of shared plans for their cell service, meaning each of my phones needed their own separate plan. Many providers offer discounted rates for family plans, so this was a bit of a disappointment.
  • Limited Phone Choices: Although I had few complaints when it came to my Jitterbug Smart2 and Lively Flip, these two phones are the only ones offered through GreatCall. Those hoping to find Apple, Samsung, or Motorola devices will have to look elsewhere.
  • Overage Charges: Unlike some cellular providers like Consumer Cellular, who automatically upgrade your service plan in the event of an overage, GreatCall charges an additional fee for each minute, message, or megabyte used. These fees, while small, can quickly add up. If you want to learn more, read my full comparison of Jitterbug vs. Consumer Cellular.

How I Purchased My Jitterbugs

Jitterbug phones can be purchased over the phone, through GreatCall’s website, or at brick and mortar stores such as Best Buy and Rite Aid. I decided to try my hand at their website. It’s 2020, after all! Once I pulled it up on my computer, I could easily view each of GreatCall’s cell phone offerings, the Jitterbug Smart2 and the Lively Flip. On the website, I was also able to compare both of these devices side by side in order to assess which one had the features I was looking for.

Jitterbug Smart2
Jitterbug Smart2 Phone

Beneath each phone was a clearly listed price. Having dealt with many tricky cellular providers, I’m always on the lookout for an asterisk or fine print, anything that indicates a catch; however, there was none to be found with each Jitterbug device. Sure, the listed prices required that I activated a new line of service, but I was already planning on doing this, so the representation of costs felt accurate. The listing even noted that each phone would come with both a wall and car charger at no extra cost, which I thought was a neat little bonus. We’ve all left Verizon with our pockets much lighter than we thought they’d be, so I appreciated GreatCall’s transparency when it came to pricing.

For testing purposes, I decided to purchase both the Lively Flip for $74.99 and the Jitterbug Smart2 for $112.49, but before I could have them shipped to my door, I had to figure out my service plans.

FYI: For its Jitterbug phones, GreatCall does not currently offer shared or family plans, meaning each cell phone requires its own individual plan.

GreatCall Health and Safety Packages

Like a traditional cellular company, GreatCall offers several different plans, each of which offer different allowances of talk time, text messages, and data. However, unlike a traditional phone company, GreatCall offers what they call Health and Safety Packages, which turned my Jitterbug into a personal safety device. Here is a rundown of the features available with these packages.

  • 5Star Urgent Response: Each of my Jitterbug devices featured a dedicated 5Star button. When pressed, it immediately connected me to one of GreatCall’s response agents. Luckily, I had no actual emergency during my testing, but if I were in need of medical assistance, my agent could have contacted emergency services.
Jitterbug 5 Review - 5 Star Service
5Star Urgent Response from GreatCall
  • Brain Games: Studies have shown that puzzle-based activities, also known as brain games, can help refine thinking skills that tend to decline with age, skills such as decision making and short-term memory. Each Jitterbug features several different types of these games. My personal favorite was called Face Facts, a game in which I had to memorize names and associate them with images of faces.
  • Urgent Care: With this feature, I was able to speak to an actual nurse or doctor through my Jitterbug, without having to make an appointment! I was even able to obtain prescriptions for certain medications through this feature, which definitely saved me some time sitting at the pharmacy.
  • GreatCall Link: As a caregiver, I really appreciated the GreatCall Link app. Family members and caregivers can download this app for free and receive notifications whenever the Jitterbug uses the 5Star button or is running low on battery. To test it out, I had my husband download the app, and he was even able to track my location through my Jitterbug. This would come in handy for caregivers as it would allow you to make sure their loved one is home and safe.
  • Personal Operator: For the older adult living independently, this feature would certainly come in handy. I was able to call my personal operator for help with just about anything, looking up phone numbers, finding addresses, and arranging transportation to and from the supermarket.

With all that said, I feel the need to clarify that GreatCall’s Health and Safety Packages are not quite an adequate substitute for a medical alert system, many of which are waterproof, can be worn around the neck, and feature automatic fall detection. With falls being the main source of fatal injury to older adults, I think of fall detection as an essential feature of any bonafide medical alert system. If you’re looking for a full-fledged system such as this, check out my rundown of the best medical alert systems with fall detection.

Overview of GreatCall’s Health and Safety Packages and Costs

Basic Preferred Ultimate
5Star Urgent Response Yes Yes Yes
Brain Games Yes Yes Yes
Urgent Care No Yes Yes
GreatCall Link No Yes Yes
Personal Operator No No Yes
Monthly Cost $19.99 $24.99 $34.99

GreatCall Minutes, Messages and Data

Since I signed up for the Ultimate plan, I received an additional discount when it came to my talk, text, and data. The Unlimited Talk, Text and Data plan, which normally costs $59.99 per month, only ended up costing me $40 per month, and my Unlimited Talk and Text Plan only cost me $20 per month. For my Lively Flip, the total cost for service came to $55 per month, and for my Jitterbug Smart2, it totaled out to $74.99. Now, this was a bit more pricey than an unlimited plan from Consumer Cellular, which only costs $60 per month for one line; however, the advanced features of the Health and Safety package definitely make it worth the money.

The More You Know: Although the pricing of plans is the same for both the Lively Flip and Jitterbug Smart2, only the latter can utilize data.

For a full list of Jitterbug talk, text, and data plans, check out the chart below or our pricing page.

Monthly Minutes Price Monthly Texts Price Monthly Data Price
250 $14.99 500 $3 100 MB $2.49
1000 $19.99 1000 $5 250 MB $5.00
25000 $29.99 2500 $10 1 GB $10.00
Unlimited Talk and Text $39.99 Unlimited Texts $15 2.5 GB $15.00
Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data $59.99 Unlimited N/A Unlimited N/A

Choosing a Jitterbug

When it came time to choose a phone, my choices were limited. While other providers offer a litany of cell phone choices, GreatCall offered two, the Lively Flip and the Jitterbug Smart2. The upside of this? I didn’t spend hours poring over which device I wanted to test. Based on its classic clamshell design, the Lively Flip struck me as the no-frills phone, ideal for the person simply looking to talk and send the occasional text. The Jitterbug Smart2, based on its large touch screen, not to mention the name, struck me as a contemporary smartphone. So what did I do? I ordered both.

Setting Up My Devices

Once I purchased my devices and plans, all I had to do was wait a week for them to arrive on my doorstep, with free shipping, no less. In each box, I found a phone, a wall charger, a car charger, and instructions which helped me through the simple setup process. First I plugged each of my phones into their chargers, plugged those into an outlet, and waited a couple of hours for their batteries to power up.

Once they were fully charged, I dialed the service number listed on the manual, confirmed my information, and voila! Both of my phones were ready for liftoff.

Keep Your Number!: Before you activate your Jitterbug, be sure to contact GreatCall’s customer service line, as they might be able to transfer an existing cellular or landline number to your new device.

How It All Worked

Between my Lively Flip and Jitterbug Smart2, I knew that I was testing two phones with highly different feature sets, the cell phone equivalent of apples and oranges. But after extensive use of each, I came to see that each phone catered to a different type of person or, pardon the expression, different taste.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the features.

Lively Flip ($74.99 One Time Payment)

Call me old fashioned, but I think there’s undeniable beauty in simplicity, and that’s exactly what the Lively Flip offered. Unlike the modern phones peddled by major cellular carriers, the phones that can fill in for a desktop computer, the Lively Flip has a comparably limited feature set. But for some people, particularly those who are wary of cutting edge technology, this could be a plus.

Lively Flip
Lively Flip

Everything the Lively Flip can do, it does with aplomb. In my many test calls, I was pleased with both the volume and the clarity of the audio. When I used the speakerphone, I was very impressed with how loud the call could become, definitely something that could come in handy for those who are hard of hearing. With about one-third of people over 65 suffering from hearing loss, a powerful speaker is a great feature to have. The Flip is also compatible with hearing aids.

The Flip’s screen, though small when compared to that of a smartphone, is very bright, and both numbers and messages could be easily read, as they were displayed in a large 32 point font. Typing on the phone was also a breeze. Each of the buttons was large and backlit, ensuring that I made no mistakes with either messaging or dialing numbers.

My favorite feature of the Flip, however, had to be the dedicated 5Star button on the side of the phone. Although I encountered no emergencies during my testing period, I could see this coming in handy for any older adult. Without the hassle of dialing a number or navigating menus, I could press the button and immediately be connected with someone who could send help, if necessary.

Jitterbug Smart2 ($112.49 One Time Payment)

When I first powered up my Smart2, I thought it looked strikingly similar to any other modern smart phone with its large screen and minimal physical buttons; however, as I navigated its menus, I came to see how straightforward everything was laid out. Each of its functions (phone, camera, internet, messages, etc.) was neatly displayed on the home screen. Despite how intimidating smart phones might seem to some people, it’s hard for me to imagine someone being unable to work with the Smart2.

Jitterbug Smart2
Jitterbug Smart2

Texting was a breeze on its five and a half inch backlit screen, and dialing numbers was no different. In each of my test calls, I did notice that the Smart2’s speaker was a smidge quieter than that of the Flip; however, when switched to speakerphone, it possessed the same powerful audio output. In terms of call quality, I found no issues. Voices came in crystal clear through the Smart2, and none of my calls were dropped.

Similar to the Flip, the Jitterbug Smart2 also features a dedicated 5Star button; however, unlike the Flip, this button is a part of the touch screen. Although I usually appreciate physical buttons for important functions such as this, I had no issues finding and pressing this button, as it remains constantly in the lower portion of the screen, directly beside the Home and Back buttons.

Closing Thoughts

With a name like Jitterbug, GreatCall evokes the 1930s, a time when the first home telephones were entering the market. Fast forward to 2020, and we now have technologically advanced phones like Jitterbug that can make calls, keep track of loved ones, and can even function with hearing aids! Sure, with both the Lively Flip and Jitterbug Smart2, neither of them is a perfect substitute for a medical alert system and shouldn’t be thought of as such; however, for the older adult looking for a simple and affordable way to keep in touch with friends and family, it’s hard to think of a better option than Jitterbug.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jitterbug

  • Can I keep my same cell phone number when switching to GreatCall?

    Most likely, yes! GreatCall can usually allow you to retain your current cell phone or home phone number. Be sure to contact their customer support line to confirm that your current number is eligible for transfer. Additionally, wait until your account has been transferred before canceling your current service. Otherwise, you might lose access to your number.

  • What happens if I use up all of my minutes or data?

    If you use up all of your minutes in a given period, then you will be charged 35 cents per minute. For data, you will be charged 10 cents per megabyte and 10 cents for each text message, whether it is sent or received. On the upside, minutes that are not used will roll over for the following 30 days.

  • Do Jitterbug phones come with any kind of warranty or return policy?

    All phones offered through GreatCall (which includes Jitterbug) come with a 30-day return policy. The only caveat with this is that you must have used fewer than 30 minutes of talk time in order to receive a full refund. Additionally, if you decide to return your phone, you will only be refunded for the cost of the phone and not for your service plan.

  • Do Jitterbug phones have features for those who suffer from visual impairment?

    Yes, they do! Both Jitterbug phones have large, bright color screens with easily legible fonts. The Lively Flip features large backlit buttons, and both Jitterbug devices feature voice typing, meaning you don’t even need to use your hands to type out numbers and letters. You can simply say them.

  • How is 5Star different from a traditional medical alert system?

    Unlike a traditional medical alert system, used primarily for emergencies related to health, GreatCall’s 5Star service is available in any situation in which you might need help. When you press the 5Star button, you are immediately connected to an agent who will assess the situation and dispatch appropriate assistance if needed. For example, in the event of your car breaking down, a 5Star agent could help you obtain roadside assistance.


  1. Do not waste your time buying this phone. We brought the first one from Best Buy. We had issues trying to get it activated. My husband spent all weekend and was on the phone with them several times. He wasted an entire weekend. After two days of trying to activate the phone we called jitterbug. We sent it back to jitterbug per their request. They sent us a new phone ready to activate. We had the same issues with the second phone. We sent the second phone back and requested a refund and cancellation of service. It took three weeks to get our refund for our monthly service but not for the $20 activation fee. I guess I am not getting the $20 refund. Be prepared for frustration if you buy this phone.
  2. The smartphone is so difficult to use for my dad. He constantly hits the 5star button as it is right where you hold the phone. You have to go through 4 steps to make a call. It goes into airplane mode all the time. It doesn’t hold a charge. Very disappointed. Called and was told they were working on design. Too late for us.
  3. Not dependable. 83 yr old mom uses hers 1-3 times a week. Will not hold a charge. Even bought new battery. Not the problem. Very unsatisfied.
    1. Does not hold a charge. The emergency button is located where you hold the phone so it is accidentally called often. You have to press 5 buttons to make a phone call. Very difficult for elderly users!!! I asked for a switch to the flip phone because of user issues and told I must buy a new phone. Do not recommend for elderly users. Very, very difficult to use.
  4. AGAIN, I say go to Consumer Cellular! The phone options are great and you know what you are getting. The billing is accurate all the time. Older people don’t need to have a special button to get help! And PLEASE get rid of John Walsh! He is a nothing trying to someone.
  5. First of all, I’m SO tired of seeing John Walsh on the commercial!!! He is nothing more than a “COP WANT TO BE!” Second, I have a VERY good phone that IS very useful and works great. For all Seniors out there, please go CONSUMER CELLULAR. The service is wonderful and the phone selection is great! We DON’T need a “SPECIAL” button to call for help!!! We are older NOT stupid.
  6. These people have been a nightmare to deal with, and the phone is crap. Mine has been replaced twice and it still doesn’t work. I haven’t been able to take photos for months. The service rep just told me that the photo feature is “not something I pay for”?!?! Another rep told me it was a software issue and they were looking into it. This was 3 months ago. Another issue: When I call anyone, my number shows up with someone else’s name. A different rep told me that that person owns that number and they couldn’t do anything about it. Unbelievable. As soon as the quarantine lifts, I’m gonna have to go phone shopping. I have no choice. Dealing with Greatcall Jitterbug has been one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. Please don’t make the mistake of dealing with these people.
    1. My mother as well has not a a functional camera on her phone for months. 3 weeks ago they told me they were sending out a software update automatically. Still not working . Have you had any luck getting your camera to work?
      1. This phone and company is crap. The charger never works. My mom is blind and cannot see to use the charger cord without the cradle. We have been thru 3 cradles. Customer service is bad. If you set up service for your elderly loved one do not put in their name, put in your name. The customer service people will insist on talking to the elderly person and not help you.
    2. I’ve also had the same issue with my mothers phone, she called back in January and was told “they are aware of the problem,and are working on it”. I called yesterday to let them know the issue is still ongoing. All during COVID she was not able to get photos of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. and also told them that her phone goes directly to voice mail. the solution was to take the battery out and put it back in. She tried to take a picture last night said photo not successfully saved. I tried to send her a photo, she never received it. Today I tried to called her twice, it went directly to voicemail but would not let me leave a message. When I called customer service she mentioned there are many issues with the flip phone , but skirted around the problems. I would not recommend this phone for seniors who rely on good service
  7. The Jitterbug is so frustrating to set up. If seniors have a hard time with smart phones, this one will be just as hard if not harder to figure out. The texting feature is a complete nightmare and most likely will be completely useless to the customer. And once the damn thing is finally set up – there is no way to add contacts into a phonebook except the arduous entry on the phone itself or having a third party do it remotely. The “my phonebook” app simply doesn’t exist once you create an online account despite all the FAQ entires and online tutorials. It’s quite enraging after spending hours on it to no avail. I’m super disappointed.
  8. Great call is the best Senior CITIZEN phone plan. We bought the Jitterbug flip. We just got it so easy to setup and use. We have the 5 Star button for emergency and the savings from switching from AT&T is 30.00 dollars a month cheaper. The quality of the phone itself in red is everything they said and adverts true to for . No. Gimmicks. After all the research and redevelopment we did this stood out as the best option for older seniors with hearing and eyesight issues. Love ❤️ Love ? it.
  9. I learned today that the person you reach when calling for assistance makes all the difference in the world. Today I talked with a lady who had knowledge about the phone and how to check for problems. She acknowledged that I have a defective phone and is sending a replacement. I was ready to leave Jitterbug for another company but now will stay. Thank you for your great help.
  10. My senior parents live in Tennessee which is now a “hands free phone” state…so they needed to get Bluetooth capable phones. Like many seniors, all this technology is just too much for them. So naturally, I suggested the Jitterbug phones. Not even 3 weeks after getting their new phones, did they start having issues with the flip phone. Names do not show on the screen for incoming calls. They have to keep a list of names and numbers with them so they can recognize who is calling…such an inconvenience. This is a known issue with no estimated fix time. Three weeks later and still not resolved. I’ve spoken to customer support multiple times and inquired if they would be compensating all the folks having this issue. The response was…no, if they are still able to call out then the phone works. I think this is BAD BUSINESS. I am disgruntled about the company’s lack of response time to fix this issue and not making up for the inconvenience they are creating my parents and all other folks who have the flip phones. I hope they will resolve this issue and make things right for their customers or they are gonna lose them.
  11. I bought a Fliptop phone for my 95 year old Dad. Called at 8:30am and had to give the girl all kinds of info. Paid for it with my CC and asked that they send a receipt. She said that they would have to mail it to me because they can’t e-mail it. I had given her mine and my fathers e-mail and I was expecting at least some kind of e-mail throughout the day acknowledging the order. Nothing! I called them around 6pm the same day and had to go through hoops for them to recognize the Account number that was assigned to this order. I was getting very worried and ready to cancel. They assured me they would send me an acknowledgment 1st thing in the morning. Nothing as of 10am! The worst customer service I have ever dealt with!!!
  12. I bought a Jitterbug flip phone on July 9, 2018. I had trouble with this phone from day one! The phone would not charge on the cradle. I was sent 2 new cradles over a couple of months and the phone still wouldn’t charge, so I gave up and charged it without putting it on the cradle.I noticed that the charging sensors on the bottom of the phone were out of place and not connecting to the cradle sensors. The phone is hardly used but I have to charge it everyday. Yesterday some symbols came on the front window of the phone. I called Jitterbug and was told the phone is out of warranty…by 19 days and would not be replaced for free. I cannot afford to buy a new one so I will have to use this one until it no longer works. These phones are cheaply made and I would not recommend this product to anyone.
  13. I was seriously thinking of buying a Jitterbug flip phone. I am 75 and just need a basic phone for keeping in touch with family and friends. After reading all of the negative comments on this site, I don’t think I will buy from Great Call. It just doesn’t seem like the kind of aggravation I need at this point in my life. Seems like whatever we try to do , any more, results in some sort of a “scam like” situation. Thanks to all of those that provided this very needed feedback. When things sound too good to be true, they usually are.
    1. I saw this phone advertised in Sunday’s Parade and thought I’d get one for my husband who won’t touch Smart phones. That is, until I read these negative reviews as well as Amazon’s reviews (check those out if you’re still not convinced). Now, there’s absolutely no way I’d purchase these phones. Thank you all for saving me and my husband a lot of grief! ?
  14. I want to give 5 plus stars to the customer service agents who helped me to set up my grandmothers new Jitterbug flip phone today. Michael helped to create the account and Mary in Reno assisted us in activating and transferring the old phone number. This process was smooth and both agents were extremely helpful and friendly. I will recommend this company to all!!! Thank you very much!!!!!
  15. Got this Jitterbug phone for my elderly parents. The speaker phone option has never worked since day one. Were told that a new upgrade was coming and that it would be activated automatically. That was 6 months ago and it still does not work. Now, my dad realized that the phone needed charging, but it won’t take a charge. These phones are a piece of junk, refurnished for something. NOT FOR SENIORS OR ANYONE ELSE. VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH THE COMPANY!
  16. I just got one of these about a week ago and HATE it. I got it because of the cheap GreatCall plan ($14.99/month for 250 minutes) because I don’t expect to use it much. The phone itself is far TOO simple, with the “Settings” menu item basically being useless: allowing you to change only things like the color scheme, ring tones, etc. So you have to contact Greatcall customer service for everything else (like shutting off texting capability). The REALLY bad problem is that the phone doesn’t have any type of call blocking, and Greatcall doesn’t offer any type of call blocking service. So I’m getting probably about 10 robo-calls every day, with no way to prevent them. I’m also getting several calls a day for someone named “Deanna” — I assume she previously had the number they assigned to me for this phone. I’d gladly pay extra for call blocking, because it is so very annoying to get these types of calls so many times every day. I wouldn’t recommend this phone to ANYONE other than someone who is completely unfamiliar with any type of technology. I wouldn’t recommend Greatcall service at all — PERIOD.
  17. If tech people can design a flip phone that can accommodate seniors 75 and older with very basic functions like : call/ receive and dial only with speakers so they can hear the caller. If tech can create voice activated calls with phone numbers of loved ones programmed in the flip hone so the senior won’t have to dial the number. Elderly senior don’t want to text and are limited in their abilities and don’t want all that data to further confuse them. Bottom line just call and receive calls only and ability to input family/friends and just press the name with no dialing. Seniors motor abilities get more limited as they get older. Please design flip phones for for limited abilities. ( no texting? Data, cameras)
    1. I completely agree, Patricia. I’m in the same boat, only my mom is 96! She just needs a PHONE that is easy to make calls with, including voice dialing (legally blind) and speed-dialing frequently used numbers. Spare me the texting, camera and data plans!!!!
      1. With Jitterbug phones you can sign up for plans that include texting, or cheaper plans that do NOT include texting. So if you don’t want to receive texts, just don’t sign up for a plan that includes texting. This it will cause the phone’s menu item TEXT to disappear completely. All features involving TEXT are then gone off the phone forever (or until you call Jitterbug service number and request to change over to a texting plan). Doing that will make the TEXT features in the phone menu list reappear). For anyone who wants a phone with no text features Jitterbug is a great product. Also, Jitterbug plans all include voice mail so people without text can still hear the calls they missed. Just press the huge DOWN ARROW button until the VoiceMail line in the menu is highlighted. And then press YES to listen to the voice mail. To end a call or to end the voicemail connection, just close the lid on the flip phone. The Flip model is very simple to use. And very rugged, you might be able to run over it with your car and it probably would still work. There are Youtube videos where people did that as a test.
        1. Do the minutes that you don’t use every month carry over to the next month? My father would never use 250 minutes a month as it would only be for emergencies.
  18. Bought this for my 88 year old mother and getting it set up is interesting. First off, I wanted to keep her old phone number. He said OK but I found out later that they gave me a new # and the only way to change it is to give them the Acct # of the old including PIN, and Password along with several other pieces of info. You also need to keep that acct active until the change which can take up to 3 business days. While I do understand why this is, it would have been nice if he told me. The thing that angers me the most, is that to get voice messages, you have to purchase the middle package which is $10.00 more. Nowhere did I see that listed. The agent kept trying to get me to buy more items. Not sure I trust the company
  19. This is the most difficult phone to activate. First the service person was selling a service I did not want or need, then when I gave up, the charge for activation was 35.00 plus tax. The service would have cast my Mom, on a fixed income, 69.99 per month. Once the activation started, it gave an error message “code 5”. I have tried to get the service through my Verizon account, but because of the IMEI, it was not compatible. I have tried for over 30 days to get the phone working, it is now past the date of return. I am now stuck with a phone that I can not activate and a service that is too expensive for my Mom’s pocketbook. The ads look great, the phone looks great, but I guess I will never know how it operates. Shame on you GreatCall, yes, I do believe you are taking advantage of senior citizens. I sure would like to know what other options are available.
  20. My cousin got a Jitterbug Smartphone. She liked it at first, but not now. She hit the 5 Star button 2 separate times and police arrived at her house. I probably would do the same so I’m afraid the new Jitterbug Smartphone that I’m not using yet. I bought it in Feb. but am waiting to get out of my current contract.. But if I can’t deactivate the 5-Star feature, I don’t think I want it. I’ll just call 911 if I need help. Can I return it for a refund. It’s new.
  21. I received a Senior Jitterbug and I heae what the person is saying BUT, I cannot answer them because it sounds sooo wavey like I am talking under water !!! i FOUND MY OLD ONE AND GOT A BATTERY FOR IT AND AM CHARGING IT NOW. I HOPE I can replace it with my original one ! Please
    1. Is it possible that you got your phone wet? Sometimes water damage, or any kind of damage really, can make the speaker sound funny.
  22. I’m on my 3rd Jitterbug phone in 4 months. My first one worked for a few months, then stopped ringing when calls came in. When they tried to fix it, it wouldn’t start up at all. They sent me a 2nd phone. The Speaker never did work and last week it started dropping calls. Then it stopped ringing when calls were coming in. They are going to send me a 3rd phone in a few days. I wonder how long that one will last!
  23. Great Call has discontinued the Jitterbug 5, saying it’s been replaced with a new version and no longer works in their system. They advised me to recycle the phone. 03/12/19
  24. This is amazing.The Jitterbug has been one of the most popular senior friendly phones on the market. “The Samsung Jitterbug is incredibly easy to use and easy to buy. thanks for evryone to this artical.
  25. This is assumptive selling at its worst. It’s called taking advantage of your target market – senior citizens. Pricing is a deep secret when you call and try to get a simple answer to pricing and plans. There is a non-refundable set-up fee of $43.48 with tax (didn’t see that in the ads!) . The $14.99 plan plus 300 texts for $3.00 costs $23.61. The phone is not simple and the help is not good. There are forms all over to sign up for 5* health and safety but you can’t just buy it. You have to sign up for a bigger package. the minimum is $24.99 plus all the tax and less minutes than the $14.99 plan.. If you call they can’t give you numbers unless you give them your entire life history and kids. We just needed an emergency phone for my husband – I have an iPhone – and the screen and format seemed like it would be easier for him than a flip phone. He doesn’t use the phone very much at all – uses my iPhone with help if he has to. We own this piece of junk. He cannot use it, I have had a terrible time getting it set up for his needs and I set up a very complicated iPhone for myself. I was going to upgrade my iPhone and give him my old one with a minutes plan. Wish I had done that because now we are stuck with this. Two very unsatisfied senior customers.
  26. I live in the caribbean & purchase the jitterbug 3 touch phone via Amazon, i would like to know if i got the phone unlocked if it can be use in my country or if i can call greatcall toll free to assist me in having it activate if it can work. Please help. i really like the phone.
  27. My mother is over 80 years old and is blind. She has trouble with complicated technology such as cell phones requiring that she navigate several menus; she also can neither see nor use the buttons on most cell phones. After considerable research, I bought her a Jitterbug cell phone and added the 5-Star service; this is a private service that responds to an emergency when someone presses the dedicated red button on the phone. This phone has been a disaster from the beginning. First of all, although I asked that it be activated when I ordered it, it arrived NOT activated. It took me three days on Customer Support to get it activated. Second, despite what I was told on the phone, the speakerphone could NOT be made into the default. Since my mother is too blind to see the screen or any message on it, I needed the phone to be in speakerphone mode every time it was opened. As it turned out, the Jitterbug can NOT be put into speakerphone mode by default. Third, if the phone is not answered within three or four rings, it rolls over to voicemail. I challenge you to find a single senior who can answer any phone within three rings. I don’t know that I could, and mine is in my pocket. The next time someone opens the Jitterbug phone, it displays an alert: You have a missed call, redial yes or no?” IF YOU DO NOT DISMISS THIS ALERT SCREEN, YOU CANNOT USE THE PHONE. And the only way to dismiss the screen is to punch the No button. Which blind people cannot see. The No button is next to the on/off button, which means that even blind people with sensitive touch might mistakenly turn their phones OFF, instead of dismissing the screen. Needless to say, the fact that a blind person cannot even see the screen, let alone turn it off, renders the phone useless until a sighted person can assist. I contacted Customer Support about this issue, was routed to Tech Support, and was told that if we closed the phone, waited a few minutes, and re-opened the phone, the alert would be automatically dismissed. This did not happen consistently. I tested this solution several times, sometimes waiting as long as five minutes, and only about half the time did it work. Again, for a blind person who cannot see the alert or dismiss it, this is a show-stopper. Fourth, and most dangerous, the 5-Star service DOES NOT WORK as it needs to. My mother accidentally pushed the 5-Star service button, which is a dedicated button. I received a robo-call from 5-Star, which rang once and then went IMMEDIATELY to voicemail, making it impossible to answer. The call alerted me to the fact that my mother had hit the emergency button. I called my mother, who never heard the phone ring. 5-Star followed up, per protocol, by returning my mother’s call and asking for confirmation. And this, folks, is where the trouble really begins: 5-Star could not hear us. Several times, the 5-Star service called my mother’s phone. I answered it each time. At no time could the service hear us, although anyone else who called the phone could hear me just fine. Somehow, any response to 5-Star was blocked. The result, per 5-Star’s protocol, was to send an emergency response team when they did not get a cancellation. Despite calling 5-Star personally (they could not hear me), and responding to their direct calls to the phone, we could not prevent FOUR emergency response teams showing up at my mom’s house. While I appreciate their zeal, and I appreciate that 5-Star followed through on their promise, I have to say that this was a collossal and frustrating waste of our time and that of the emergency personnel. I called GreatCall to cancel the service and get my money back. I was informed that the 30-day money back guarantee period had passed. I told the service agents, and the tech support agents, that this was not a matter of me changing my mind, THIS WAS DEFECTIVE TECHNOLOGY. The alert message renders it useless to the blind, and the 5-Star button apparently mutes the microphone. This is dangerously flawed technology, and I wanted my money back. I didn’t get it. My service was cancelled. I still get to pay the bill for however many calls to and from 5-Star were made. Be warned, consumers. If you are buying this phone for a senior, or worse, for a blind person, there are serious and dangerous flaws in its design and function. Unless you are certain that the person who will be using this phone can see the screen and understand the directions, can differentiate by touch between one button and the one next to it, and will never press the 5-Star service button by accident, DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE. This phone is not suitable for elderly or blind persons.
    1. Thank you for a thorough write-up Sarah. I’m sorry you had difficulties with the phone, but perhaps your education may help someone down the road!

    2. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience with this phone. I was about to go and buy one for my husband whos birthday is tomorrow. I will never buy the Jitter bug Phone. My 89 year friend just bought it last month and found that he battery depletes while charging and not using the phone. I have never heard of such problem Thank you again for saving me the aggravation. Rosalin
  28. I’m confused about the GPS tracking. Some places state that there is no GPS tracking, however, when explaining how 5* works, it says uses GPS tracking technology. Worried about my father with dementia in a case where he might not know where he is or how to call for help. Not at this point yet, but you never know. He always has the phone in his pocket. In a scary situation would police be able to track this phone?
    1. Hi JH – Sometimes the GreatCall folks will come on The Senior List to answer questions like this. To get a timely response however, make sure you get in touch with them. This page outlines the Jitterbug 5 services, as well as a contact number. See —> GreatCall Jitterbug 5 info Hope that helps!

  29. I have a question: This phone works on the telephone system in Brazil? Brazilian system is GSM (3D, 4G & LTE) Thank you.
    1. We asked the folks at GreatCall to respond to your inquiry right here Luiz. If you don’t hear from them- you can find their support page here –>

  30. I am on my 3rd day of trying to get my Moms Jitterbug phone activated. The technical support team keeps doing the same obviously wrong thing over and over.. I talked with them again over the lunch hour and he said that if it was not activated to call them at any time. Apparently he is not aware they are not available half of the time. I will try yet again tomorrow at their convenience. I am glad they were able to charge my credit card without any glitches!!!
  31. I live in the Caribbean…. Can I purchase one of these units and will it work on our local networks… At least to receive and make calls? Our local networks run LTE and 3G/4G
    1. you should be able to if where you are has cellular coverage thru Verizon – Jitterbug uses the Verizon network
  32. I purchased a Jitterbug for my mother today and I haven’t been able to register it or activate it online. I get a sorry that screen is not available message. So I called customer service and hung up after 10 minutes on hold. I’ll try again tomorrow and if i face the same problems with the web site and customer service, I’ll return it assuming the company is going out of business.
  33. I’m looking for a phone with voice activated calling for a blind person. Can this phone do that, say “call Bob”? Does it have voice activated text messaging?
  34. Can this phone block calls? I would like to get my mother a phone that would only receive calls from known contacts so that she does not get confused by slick telemarketers
    1. Hi Lulu! You’d really want to check with Greatcall Support for that. You can reach their Jitterbug page by clicking here. Keep in mind that blocking all numbers could restrict some of her friends from calling her, as well as emergency personnel and/or caregiving helpers. I think I’d see how it goes without restrictions and having frequent reminder discussions before altering the phone’s inbound/outbound capabilities. Just my opinion – Best! A

    2. Hi Lulu – It depends on which Jitterbug phone your mom has. – Jitterbug5 flip phones do not have this option available. – The Jitterbug Touch3 smartphone has the option be operated using either our “Easy to use Jitterbug home screen theme” or the standard “Advanced Android home screen theme.” The Jitterbug Touch3 smartphone does have this option available, but only through the Advanced Android home screen settings. The easy to use Jitterbug home screen theme will not have access to this setting. The Customer can switch from the Easy to use JB home screen to the Android home screen to access the call blocking feature and then switch back to the easy to use JB home screen theme for everyday use of the phone. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact customer service at: 1-800-733-6632 any day of the week between 5am and 9pm PST.
  35. Jitterbug 5 design flaw. Who would design a phone that places the 5star emergency button directly above the YES button. So any person with a slight shake in had can intend to push YES but accidentally hit 5Star which calls 911. Stupid Stupid design and the person who or team who did the design should certainly not be called professionals.
    1. While it may not be ideal, it does NOT call 911 immediately. It connects you with a 5Star operator who you can simply say – oops I didn’t mean to do that.
  36. I am looking for an android phone that is simple to use and that has gps tracking ability so that I can find this phone no matter where it is by using my Samsung Galaxy with the 360 gps locator app. I have that ability now but the android phone that I need to track and locate is too complicated for my senior family member. I need an android or some other phone that will ping off the same satellite as my 4G phone. Please advise.
    1. I need a cell phone that will store 100 telephone contacts with the contacts telephone number, name and address. Is this possible on the Jitterbug5? THANKS. John
      1. Hi John, We spoke to the folks at GreatCall. The answer is that the GreatCall Touch3 does allow you to have name, address and phone in the contacts area. The Jitterbug 5 only has room for name and phone number. Hope that helps- A

    2. I bought a Smart Bracelet Excelvan to track my steps…how do I charge it and use it with the Jitterbug 5? Or, is it incompatible…I really just want to track my steps (count)

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