The popularity of smartphones is increasing. This study from 2019 by the Pew Research Center shows that 91% of Americans aged 65+ own a cell phone, and 53% of those own a smartphone; comparing this to a 2017 report from The Pew Research Center shows that it grew from 80% who owned a cell phone and 42% had smartphones.
Best Cell Phones For Seniors in 2021
The studies show that seniors embrace technology; unfortunately, there is a vast selection of cell phones on the market. The choices can be overwhelming, making it difficult to decide which one will best fit a senior's needs.
Not only are there various styles (block-style, flip, and intelligent) to choose from, but the number of features and benefits they have to vary too. Often, seniors don't know or aren't aware of all the features available to them, nor do they always think through which features they'd use before purchasing a phone.
Affordability is important, too; many seniors are on a fixed income, making it a severe purchase to consider. Generally, the more features a phone has, the more they cost, so finding a cell phone that matches the budget and has all the needed components can be challenging.
How to Choose the Best Cell Phone for Seniors?
When choosing a cell phone, you should look for senior-specific features or designs with safety and emergency features. We suggest that you check the existing customer reviews and professional reviews. You should consider the price and if they have financing. Some companies have monthly payment plans on phones; this can be an easy way to get into a phone.
Reliable service and wireless coverage are crucial; you don't want the phone roaming when you need it most. Since seniors can be hard on devices by dropping them, sitting on them, and other wear and tear, look for something durable that can resist spills and water if you submerge it for a short time.
Check the cell phone plans; sometimes they have senior-specific plans; if not, decide on something you can manage for the agreement's life.
Finally, search for a phone with long-lasting battery life and features like urgent care response buttons or hearing aid compatible models.
Best Cell Phone Providers For Seniors in 2021
We Identified the Top 19 Cellphone Providers For Seniors.
- Raz Mobility – Check out phones from Raz Mobility – They provide special phones with assistive technology for dementia, sight impaired and Alzheimers
- Verizon – See the selection of Verizon phones, tablets and other smart devices, all with the most well known 5G network.
- Lively – See the Lively special flip and big button phones and Senior plans.
- AT&T Mobility – Get credit for trading in your phone, and they offer financing.
- Motorola Mobility – Been around for a long time, has a large selection of phones and technologies.
- Mint Mobile – Affordable plans, Bring your number and unlocked phone, they offer financing.
- Cricket – Great Family plans, no annual plans, no credit check, free phone option with some plans.
- Republic Wireless – Wonderful month-to-month no contract plans, bring your own phone if you want.
- Boost Mobile – Large coverage area, no annual contract
- Gabb Wireless – A phone marketed to kids, with no contract very low fee, only texts, and no internet or games or social media!
- TracFone – Top networks with no contract, you can bring your phone or buy one, and get unlimited plans.
- Gen Mobile – Free unlimited calling to 100+ countries, no annual contracts, buy a phone or bring your own.
- Straight Talk Wireless – Inexpensive phones, financing, unlimited plans
- Total Wireless – No contract, nationwide 5g network, payment plan, bring a phone or buy one.
- Net10 Wireless – No contract, bring your own phone and choose between 3 top networks.
- Simple Mobile – Affordable plans, no annual contract, you can bring your phone or buy one, unlimited plans, and international.
- Tello – Very affordable plans. Build your own plan, choosing no minutes, 500 minutes or unlimited. Free calls to 60 countries with each plan.
- Visible Wireless – Powered by Verizon's network, features affordable plans, bring your phone or buy one. They finance as well.
- GoSmart Mobile – Bring your SIM card and phone or buy one, has simple affordable plans.
As you go through this list of phones, consider this:
There are many cell phone options on the market; you could choose a simple flip phone or large button phone or get something that's very advanced and smart if you like access to millions of apps or games.
Will you be using it to store photos, videos, movies, or apps? Then choosing something with sufficient storage space is needed; some smartphones can attach an SD card and internal memory. However, most basic phones won't have much storage space, and if you need the phone to call or text, this would be fine for you.
Finally, choosing a phone with a contract or no annual contract gives you the flexibility and freedom to do what you want with your phone and not worry about late or cancellation fees.
Smartphones usually have a better quality camera(s) than flip phones or basic phones. Will you be taking pictures and sharing them? A smartphone is a better choice.
Specifically, phones designed for seniors have one-touch emergency call buttons, large dial pads, and photo address books.
To help you with this decision, we've researched the best cell phones for seniors and where you can get them.
Senior Cell Phones from RAZ Mobility
RAZ Memory Cell Phone
A simple phone designed for people with memory loss, dementia, and others who are intellectually disabled. Allows those with a disability the ability to stay connected.
Easy-to-use picture phone for people with memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer's, or intellectual disabilities.
You'll be please at how easy it is to use the RAZ Memory Cell Phone; you'd be surprised.
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone ensures that individuals with dementia or intellectual disabilities stay connected with their loved ones at home or away from home!
A Phone for Dementia and Alzheimer's
The one-touch dial picture phone is relentless in its focus on simplicity. It consists of one primary screen and one screen only.
The screen includes three elements:
- Pictures and Names of up to 6 contacts
- 911 Call Button or RAZ Emergency Alert Service, can help avoid unwanted 911 calls, requires a separate subscription.
- The Time and Battery power.
That's it! There are no applications or settings to confuse. No notifications or operating system updates. No voicemail.
No distractions. Tap the picture of the person you wish to call. Check out the RAZ Memory phone.
MiniVision2 Cell Phone
Cell Phone for Visually Impaired Seniors
The MiniVision2 Cell Phone is perfect if you have blindness or are visually impaired. A talking voice guide provides the ability for a blind person to use every feature of the phone. The user can make phone calls and send text messages, and more with voice commands. This phone can work on T-mobile, Mint Mobile, Red Pocket Mobile, and Metro by T-Mobile.
The MiniVision2 Cell phone features a talking caller ID for incoming calls, battery life, and all features are assisted by voice commands.
The big buttons are large and well placed, the OK button has texture, and the SOS button on the phone's back can trigger a call to your emergency contacts.
Text messages can be composed using your voice; the phone will read the received messages aloud.
Other features include: alarm, calendar, FM radio, color identifier, voice memos, calculator, notes, flashlight, where am I? camera, photo album, and weather.
Learn more about the MiniVision2 cell phone for blind people or those with vision loss.
Raz Mobility is not a carrier – but they sell devices that are highly accessible to those with vision or memory loss. The prices for the two devices mentioned are $309, and you need to get a separate subscription to a compatible network like T-mobile, Mint Mobile, or AT&T. Currently, purchasing a RAZ phone can get you three months of free service with Mint Mobile.
What did we like? Caregiver portal, intuitive menus, picture contact lists, one-touch dialing, and GPS capability.
We didn't like that the products have a higher purchase price and separate subscription to the monitoring service.
Senior Cell Phones from Lively!
Lively! is one of our favorite companies, as they cater to seniors, and their products stand out as well. They have two cell phones, The Jitterbug Smart – a simple one-screen touch phone, and a flip phone, the Jitterbug Flip. The products are affordable, with medical alert features and no contract; the plans start at $14.99 per month for talk only and $19.99 per month for unlimited talk and text.
Jitterbug Smart – simple, list-based menu, large 5.5′ screen makes it easy to see.
Voice typing enabled makes texting easier. Front-facing speaker for better conversations. Video chat with family and friends. Long-lasting battery, with built-in 13 MP camera with flash. Has a 5Star Urgent Response button, Mobile Internet access, and directions.
Jitterbug Flip is easy to use with big buttons, a large screen, Amazon Alexa, and an Urgent response button with a powerful speaker. The phone has an 8 MP camera with a long-lasting battery with a magnifier and flashlight. Comes in Red and Black.
- No long-term contracts
- No cancellation fees
- 100% U.S. based customer service
- AARP members save $60 every year on select Health & Safety packages.
They allow you to customize your plan and add messages, data, and minutes to your monthly allowance. Lively also offers health and safety packages that give your phone the features of a medical alert device.
What did we like? There are no long-term contracts with low-priced phones, medical alert features, and customizable talk, text, and data allowances, with plans starting at $14.99.
What didn't we like? Only two phone options, potential overage charges.
Cell Phones for Seniors from AT&T Mobility
Apple iPhone XR
The Apple iPhone XR is reasonably priced, with a vast clear 6.1-inch screen; face ID allows you to unlock your phone and apps using your image instead of searching for the right button. The 12MP camera will ensure your photos and videos are clear and sharp.
Learn more about the iPhone XR here.
Have you heard about the AT&T senior-specific cell phone plan called the AT&T Senior Nation plan? AT&T introduced these phone plans for people aged 65 and over. Unfortunately, this plan doesn't offer data and is only available for basic phones.
They offer the Unlimited and More plan with unlimited talk, text, and data for $40 per month if you want a better plan. AARP members also get 10 percent off qualified plans and fifteen percent off any wireless accessories.
If you talk on the phone a lot, you can try the AT&T Unlimited 55+ plan; this plan offers two lines with unlimited talk, text, and data for $40 per month per line. However, this deal is only available to Florida residents only. AT&T is an excellent choice for network coverage, excellent customer service, and high-tech devices.
To learn more about AT&T's products, go here.
What did we like? Senior specific plans for those 55+, discounts for AARP members, 5G coverage is available, and you can bring your phone.
What didn't we like? You may get hit with hidden fees; they only allow the Unlimited 55+ plan available to Florida residents.
Types of Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
Since hundreds of different devices are on the market and dozens of service providers, choosing the right cell phone plan for seniors can be a complicated process. To help you break it down, here are the types of plans available.
Talk and Text Cell Phone Plans
These plans, offered by providers such as Lively or Tello, allow you to build your plan with a monthly allowance of minutes, messages, and––in some cases––data. These can be an excellent option for people who already have an existing home phone; opt for an affordable monthly plan to use when you need it. Some providers will offer special periods with these plans – on the nights and weekends, where calls are free.
Unlimited Cell Phone Plans
For people who use their cell phones often, particularly smartphone users, an unlimited plan is ideal. These plans don't have limits on the amount you can talk, text, or use data. Some of our favorite unlimited plans come from Verizon, Mint Mobile, and AT&T.
With that said, the name Unlimited is often a bit misleading since most of these plans indeed place limits on data. However, the company won't charge you overage fees; instead, your data speeds will be slowed or throttled.
Prepaid Cell Phone Plans
Perfect if you only need a cell phone in an emergency, prepaid cell phone plans don't require contracts or monthly payments, instead you purchase a pre-set amount of minutes, messages, and data. After you purchase, you can use this allowance and buy more if you need to.
Which Cell Phone Is Best for Seniors?
When choosing a reliable and affordable network, you'll also want to think about which phone to buy. To help you in the search process, we've compiled a series of guides with all the hands-on knowledge you need to make a decision:
- Cheapest Cell Phones for Seniors
- Best Prepaid Cell Phones for Seniors
- Best Cell Phones for Seniors With Dementia
- Best Cell Phones for Hearing-Impaired Seniors
- Best Cell Phones for Visually Impaired Seniors
- Easiest Cell Phones for Seniors
- Best Big-Button Cell Phones
Senior Cell Phone Plans Frequently Asked Questions
For seniors with smartphones, Verizon and AT&T both offer great plans, but Mint Mobile is great for affordability and low data usage.
AT&T does offer a discount for 55 and older, but only to residents of Florida.