Cell phones for seniors: How to find the right device for grandma and grandpa

Do you know this? You try in vain to reach your (grand)parents because they neither own a smartphone nor want one? A cell phone for seniors could help them overcome their fear of the unknown. We tell you how to find the right cell phone for grandma and grandpa.

  • Before buying, you should clarify what requirements the senior cell phone must meet
  • Many devices are limited to basic functions, simple operation and SOS features.
  • You can also make your old cell phone suitable for seniors

The most important thing to remember when looking for a cell phone for seniors is that you shouldn’t assume anything about yourself. Your grandparents may not be able to use some of the functions that are indispensable to you. For many older people, a phone must be able to do one thing above all: make calls. Which camera is installed or which app is installed does not necessarily play an important role for seniors. However, this cannot be generalized. Therefore, you should ask exactly what the device has to be able to do.

What you need to know beforehand from grandpa, grandma and co.

First, ask your parents or grandparents how they plan to use their senior cell phone. Should it only be used for making calls or can it be a bit more advanced? It’s also important to know whether this will be your first cell phone or whether the person you’re talking to already has experience using cell phones. You probably already know a lot of this yourself if you have regular contact with your relatives. For example, whether they use hearing aids or have limited motor skills. It’s important to find out all this.

What makes a good cell phone for seniors?

The right operation

The search for the best cell phone for seniors can only be successful if you know the prerequisites. If they have problems using the touchscreen, for example, you should consider a simple cell phone with the largest possible keys. In the range of manufacturers such as Doro or Swisstone, you will certainly find a large-key cell phone that meets your requirements. Many of them also offer illuminated keys, which makes it easier to use in the dark. The menus are usually simpler than those of conventional smartphones.

Some devices also offer voice control. They read out functions to the user and execute them after verbal confirmation. This is particularly useful for people with impaired vision. A large font is preset on most cell phones for older people. If, on the other hand, hearing is impaired, a cell phone for seniors that supports hearing aids is a good choice. Pairing takes place either via an induction coil or via Bluetooth. Cell phones with M3 or M4 classification are particularly suitable for people who rely on hearing aids.

Important functions

A good cell phone for seniors also has an emergency call function that can be used to request help by pressing a button. If the user keeps the button pressed, stored emergency contacts receive an emergency text message. These can be relatives or rescue services. After accepting the emergency call, the device switches to hands-free mode and the person in need of help can describe his or her situation.

The speed dial function offered by many devices is also practical. This allows you to assign phone numbers of your choice to individual keys. The user then only has to press one key to call the stored contact. GPS, on the other hand, makes it possible to locate grandma and grandpa. This can be useful if your grandparents get lost on the road. You can then determine their location via GPS. You should also make sure that the device has a long battery life so that it does not run out on the road.

How to find the right device for grandma

How to make your old cell phone suitable for seniors

Important settings

But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a special smartphone for seniors. You can also set up your old cell phone so that it is easy for older people to use. Basically, you should reset the phone to factory settings. How this works depends on the model and whether it is an iPhone or Android smartphone.

You should also make a few settings to increase readability. Especially if grandma, grandpa and co. have poorer vision, you’ll be doing them a big favor. On an iPhone, go to the settings and select the menu item “Display & brightness”. Then you can adjust the display with “Text size”. If the text is still not large enough, follow the path “Settings | General | Accessibility | Larger text”. Here you will find “Larger dynamic text”.

Proceed similarly with an Android smartphone. Under “Display” you will usually already find the setting for the text size. However, the exact path can vary depending on the model. In addition, you can improve the contrast and highlight buttons under “Accessibility | Improve visibility” on a Samsung device, for example. This optimizes the readability and the handling. You will also find the option to further enlarge the display of texts here.

Keep it simple

If you have adjusted the font size and contrast for readability on your old phone, the most important options are already set. Now, however, you need to consider how much of a tech-savvy person you want the phone to be. If your grandparent is not at all familiar with technology, you should avoid adding extra apps and keep the home screen as uncluttered as possible.

The DeepL access bar should therefore contain the important apps for calling, text messaging and contacts. If the screen is large and easy to read, you can also drag the camera app to the DeepL access bar. The main thing is that all important functions can be found quickly and easily.

If the converted senior phone is only for telephony and texting, you’ll need to make one more setting. Deactivate the mobile data so that the Internet is not activated unintentionally. If the mobile network is not included in the cell phone contract, this could otherwise lead to additional costs. iPhone users select “Mobile network” in the settings and deactivate “Mobile data” there. With an Android smartphone, you can turn off the Internet by tapping the corresponding option directly in the notification bar.


  • Senior cell phones are significantly less expensive than conventional smartphones.
  • However, they usually also offer significantly fewer functions
  • Large keys and easy-to-read text make them easier to use
  • Many devices can be paired with hearing aids and offer emergency call features
  • A senior smartphone is required to access the Internet
  • You can also turn your Android device or iPhone into a cell phone for seniors
  • Set the text size higher in the display settings. Under the operating aids you can enlarge texts even more
  • Reset the smartphone to factory settings and put only the most necessary apps on the home screen.
  • Adjust the contrast for better readability
  • If the SIM card does not support mobile Internet, you should switch it off on the iPhone or Android phone.
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