Last Updated on January 21, 2021 by Husain Parvez
The best iPhone for seniors and elderly has more to do than just the software, since all of the iPhone variants run an identical version of iOS. Here’s a buying guide for the best senior citizen iPhone you can pick up for your beloved elderly, without the technology being too overwhelming for them.
Belonging to Gen Z, or a self-proclaimed Millennial puts you in an age bracket where you’ve experienced the dawn of personal technology first-hand. While the Baby Boomers of the post-World War era enjoyed a blossoming economy and social growth, the technological advancements only caught up in the late 90s and early 2000s.
In the age of smartphones and supercomputers that could send thousands of Apollo’s to the Moon, it is understandable for the elderly to feel overwhelmed by mobile devices that offer more features than one could possibly have use for.
The Apple iPhone has been long revered as one of the frontrunners in simplifying the user experience with the software it provides. In comparison to the early iterations of the Android OS, Apple’s iOS felt like a cakewalk in terms of UI and ease of use.
While the contrasting features have gradually disappeared over the years, the best iPhone for seniors is still a preferred choice. Owing to the universal software update cycles that last at least 5 years before becoming redundant, and simplification tools baked into the software, iPhone stands as the people’s choice when it comes to elderly use.
Best iPhone for Seniors
Whether you’re out in the market looking for one of the best smartphone for seniors as an elderly yourself, or picking one up for your grandparent, you don’t have to limit your choice to the basic ones. Apple may not have created the iPhone to be primarily used by senior citizens, but the company has done well when it comes to including useful accessibility features. While every modern iPhone in production might share the same software, the hardware certainly isn’t. Hence, you might be compelled to decide which is the best senior citizen iPhone, and here’s our detailed guide to help you walk through it.
All sorts of criticism arose when Apple decided to repurpose the older iPhone 5S into the iPhone SE, but the smartphone quickly put an end to all of it. The success of a budget iPhone has been recreated with the iPhone SE 2nd Generation, which repurposes the iPhone 8, but improves on it significantly. Dedicated to those who enjoy the standard iOS UI on a tight budget, the iPhone SE comes with a compact 4.7-inch screen, along with the classic Home button that elderly users would appreciate.
The attractive price of $399 is another luring factor of the iPhone SE, making it the cheapest iPhone in the market right now. Powered by a 12MP rear camera, you can expect immersive shots every time, with all the senior citizen iPhone features packed into the Accessibility menu. Despite being the cheapest iPhone out there, it shares the same A13 Bionic chipset found in the iPhone 11, which makes it in par with the latest and great from Apple not just on the software standpoint, but hardware as well.
- The most affordable iPhone model available.
- Compact size with premium quality build materials.
- Powerful A13 Bionic processor.
- Single-lens, yet impressive camera picture quality.
- Screen size comparatively smaller than most smartphones today.
Apple went back to the drawing board with the iPhone 11 series, understanding the market requirements and creating a flagship that the masses can get behind. The iPhone 11 managed to bag in more than 10 million device sales in less than a year based on the simple principle of offering good software, reliable hardware, and setting the price point at a comfortable mark of $699. Starting off with the 6.1-inch screen that gets rid of the home button, you get a smaller form factor that is easy to take around for seniors, while maintaining a large display, making it easier to read texts and other content.
The Liquid Retina HD display is not as sharp as the OLED in the iPhone 11 Pro models but stands good on its own for the most part. Speaking of the hardware, the A13 Bionic chip with Neural Engine lives on across all of the iPhone 11 models, with decent battery life. This best iPhone for seniors comes with a dual-camera setup on the rear, packing a primary 12MP camera, along with a 12MP ultra-wide lens for those majestic shots. Lastly, Apple has gone all out when it comes to splashing colors on to the iPhone 11, with the standard Black and White accompanied by Green, Yellow, Purple, and Red too.
- The latest flagship iPhone with a powerful dual-camera setup.
- The same hardware as the Pro models at a cheaper price.
- Bezel-less display design in a smaller form factor for ease of use.
- OLED display from the Pro variants is missing here.
When Apple released the iPhone 8 alongside the uber premium iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, the “mid-range” iPhone XR was rolled out as a balancing act. Offering the best of iPhone at an affordable price by Apple’s standards, the iPhone XR continues to curry favor among fans, which is why is still being sold despite the iPhone 8 being discontinued. Offering a similar display to the iPhone 11 at 6.1 inches and the Face ID notch that simplifies security and reclaims lost real estate on the screen, the iPhone XR at $599 is the cheapest premium iPhone on the market right now.
Available in a slew of different colors such as Blue, Yellow, White, Black, Coral, and Red, the iPhone XR misses out on the dual-camera array of the latest generation iPhone. Being water and dust resistant makes the senior citizen iPhone the perfect companion to withstand the environment even without a case, and features such as wireless charging make it more convenient to use for the elderly. There is, however, only a single camera on the back of the iPhone XR, but doesn’t disappoint when it comes to wide-angle, portrait, and low-light photography shots.
- Premium iPhone variant at an affordable price.
- Large display for easy viewing with Liquid Retina HD display.
- Older model results in an older processor and a single rear camera.
The largest of the iPhone 11 flagships released in 2019, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is essentially a beefed-up version of the iPhone 11. Since Apple is charging the uber premium for the crowned king smartphone of the year, it has held no bars when it comes to the build quality, display technology, hardware, and the cameras that the iPhone 11 Pro Max supports. The OLED display sized at 6.5-inches makes this phablet not just large and a pleasure to read from but offers surreal picture quality that most seniors would pause to enjoy and appreciate.
Speaking of the hardware, the Apple A13 Bionic chip rests at its heart, with all the top-end features such as wireless charging, IP water, and dust resistance rating, and Face ID built into the front-facing 12MP TrueDepth camera. However, it is the inclusion of the tri-camera layout on the back that steals the show, with a wide-angle lens, an ultra-wide lens for a 120-degree field of view, and the additional Telephoto lens for optical zoom to close in on faraway objects. Available in Silver, Gray, Midnight Green, and Gold color variants, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is royalty among the iPhone series.
- Largest display iPhone with a vibrant OLED display.
- Powerful hardware and next-generation camera setup.
- Pricey and large form factor makes it difficult to hold.
iPhone 8 & Older
When looking for the best smartphone for seniors and elderly, you’re going to want to stick to the latest one in the market. Since mobile manufacturers are notorious for dropping software and security support in the span of a couple of years, getting one that is already a year old is going to make the device outdated even sooner. That’s one field where Apple doesn’t fail to impress, providing a minimum of 5 years of software support to all iOS devices in sync. This could encourage you to choose the best iPhone for seniors from the older models since it would directly translate into a cheaper purchase.
The iPhone 8 and older iPhone variants may not be openly available for sale from Apple, but you can find them in new, renewed (refurbished) and used condition online by the dozen. Since elderly users are not expected to run the most demanding apps and services on their devices, the older processor should not get in their way of enjoyable mobile user experience. For instance, you can get your hands on the iPhone 8 for a deeply discounted price of $247 on Amazon right now for the “renewed” version, saving big while getting the best from Apple in terms of software and user interface.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best cell phone for seniors?
While every major smartphone manufacturer includes a menu of “Accessibility” features with the software, none of it is exclusively dedicated to seniors. The Jitterbug Smart2 by GreatCall, on the other hand, has all the simplified features of a senior citizen phone and runs a modified version of Android. Tied with the Verizon network, Jitterbug Smart2 may not offer much in terms of data usage and calls, but a reliable Health & Safety package brings about features such as 5Star customer response, brain games for stimulus activities, urgent care services, and more at a premium. It isn’t a powerhouse by any means, but the simplified user interface with large buttons and texts, higher voice quality, and no confusing features make it a suitable elderly smartphone.
Is the iPhone better than Android for seniors?
The age-old argument of iOS vs Android boils down to what the user prefers, but the variables change when it comes to selecting the best phone for seniors. Although Android OS has improved significantly over the years, the UX depends extensively on the brand you pick, whereas the iPhone offers uniformity across all devices. The closed-circuit design of all Apple products, including the iPhone allows the software to be seamless, generally smoother, and easy to get used to. Not only does Apple offer timely software and security updates for half a decade, but the customer support is also unequivocally better than the competition. Albeit the higher price and software limitations are some of the flaws, it should hardly faze the standard user.
How to set up a senior citizen iPhone?
Apple may not have marketed the iPhone as a mobile phone for seniors, but it certainly comes with inclusive features that could benefit the elderly.
Display Zoom is a feature that helps most elderly people with poor eyesight to view the icons and text magnified. All you need to do is enable the feature by accessing Settings – Display & Brightness – Display Zoom and enabled the Zoomed option. In the same menu, you can increase the Text Size too for better visibility.
Speak Selection is yet another accessibility feature that reads out loud the icon or action that the user presses. Move to the Settings – General – Accessibility – Speech and enable Speech Selection to bring a “speak” button when you select any specific text on the screen. You can also enable Speak Screen to make the iPhone narrate everything on the screen with a two-finger swipe.
LED Flash for Alerts is a simple, yet effective notification feature that could easily help elderly people find out about incoming calls and messages or are hard of hearing. To enable the feature, head over to Settings – General – Accessibility – LED Flash for Alerts, and enable the toggle switch.
The release of the iPhone 12, despite the severe delay in manufacturing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is waiting to happen. Just as it goes with each passing year, millions of users will be flocking to check out what the latest version of the iPhone has to offer. The ripple effect of the iPhone 12 release will be an expected price drop in the current-generation iPhone models. Considering the limited use of even the best iPhone for seniors in their daily lives, picking up an older generation iPhone is barely a compromise, to begin with. As we recommend above, you’re better off not falling prey to the marketing gimmicks of getting the best senior citizen iPhone based on price, but rather on the value it offers to the elderly who uses it.
Which is the best smartphone for seniors coming from the iPhone series according to you? We’d love for you to add your two cents to the conversation, so reach out to us in the comments section down below.
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