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How to select smartphones for elderly people

You’ve come to the perfect place if you need assistance selecting your next smartphone. It can be confusing to choose from so many alternatives, so we’ve put up a guide on the considerations for seniors purchasing a new mobile phone.

Dumbphone versus smartphone

Yes, that is the correct term for them. These are the entry-level mobile phones that were on the market prior to smartphones; they are capable of making and receiving calls as well as messages, but they are not internet-connected.

A smartphone is generally the best option if you’re searching for a phone that can do more than just make and receive calls and texts. Among the many things you can do with it online are send and receive emails on your phone, scan QR codes, and use apps to find your way around.

Features of mobile phones to watch out for


Every smartphone model has an improved camera, but their specifications do differ, so if shooting high-quality photos and videos is vital to you, you might want to spend a little bit more on a later model with better specs.

Learn more about using the camera on your Android or iPhone phone, including how to edit images and set your favorite picture as your wallpaper or backdrop.

Capacity of phone storage

Internal storage is necessary for storing data on your smartphone, including pictures, movies, apps, and other necessities for operation. Gigabytes, or GB (pronounced “gigs”), are the unit of measurement for smartphone storage; the bigger the capacity, the more expensive the phone.

To determine if you need more or less storage in your new phone, find out how much space you currently have on your smartphone. You can check on an Android phone by heading to Settings and typing “storage” into the Android search box, or you can check on an iPhone by visiting the Apple support page.

For times when you need additional storage or a backup for your documents, videos, and images, there are also cloud storage apps available. Our free short courses contain further information regarding cloud storage subscriptions that come with your Android or Apple iPhone. 

Life of the battery

We can do so much more with our smartphones than merely keep communication going. They assist us with getting from point A to point B, paying for items, and even determining when the next bus arrives. For this reason, a long battery life is a crucial quality to consider. It’s a good idea to compare the battery lives of several phones before making a purchase to find out how long they last between charges.


Seeing things clearly can be facilitated with a large screen, particularly if you use your phone for online browsing. However, a large screen usually translates into a larger phone, so you should also think about the phone’s weight and how well it fits in your pocket or purse. The best course of action is to go into a store, test out a number of phones, and see which one best suits your needs.

Features that make things accessible

Using your phone is made easier with accessibility features. There are mobile phones made specifically for seniors, even though some of the major brand phones come with built-in accessibility capabilities that allow you to do things like change the text size on your screen and convert speech to text. Among their useful traits are:

  • SOS key. SOS buttons on specially built phones are easily accessible, and you can push them to send an SMS or make a call to the emergency contact(s) you have stored.
  • compatibility with hearing aids. The M or T grade on hearing aid compatible (HAC) phones ranges from 1 to 4. You should expect less interference when using your phone, the higher the number. The phone’s compatibility with hearing aids that use the microphone setting is indicated by the M rating, while the telecoil setting is indicated by the T rating. The majority of phones have a minimum M3 or T3 rating, which is what you should seek.
  • Cradle for charging. It is ideal for those who struggle with dexterity since, like a cordless house phone, it charges by sitting in a cradle that is constantly plugged into a power outlet.
  • The speakerphone volume and ringtone are really loud.
  • Large buttons to improve the legibility of the numbers. 

Take advantage of our free, quick courses to learn more about the built-in accessibility features of Android and iPhone phones.

Additionally, you may learn more about the iPhone’s Emergency SOS feature by visiting Google’s guide on how to get assistance with an Android phone in an emergency and Apple’s support website.

Compatible with 4G or 5G

Your smartphone uses a mobile network known as 3G, 4G, or 5G to connect to the internet when it’s not linked to your home Wi-Fi. Since the letter “G” stands for “generation,” 3G, 4G, and so forth are the terms for the third, fourth, and so on generations. The network is speedier and more recent when the number is higher.

The 3G mobile network is being deactivated by telcos to make room for more modern technology. Therefore, if you’re shopping for a new phone that will serve you well for a few years, it must support 4G or 5G networks.

It is best to inquire with your existing telecom operator about when and if they are shutting down their network if you have an older phone that is compatible with the 3G network. For instance, Vodafone will discontinue its 3G network in December 2023, while Telstra will do so on June 30, 2024.

Looking at the top of your phone next to the battery icon (which shows up when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi) will tell you which network your phone is linked to.

Is it better to purchase a cell phone on a plan or completely?

When you purchase a mobile phone outright, you pay the entire one-time cost of the device and are free to select from a variety of providers for your data, calls, and texts. These plans are referred to as SIM-only or BYO (bring your own) plans.

Alternatively, you can enter into a contract that allows you to pay for a phone over a predetermined period of time (usually 12, 24, or 36 months) in addition to your data, calls, and messages.

There are very competitive BYO phone or SIM-only plans available, so if you can afford to buy a phone altogether, you can keep your cell plan expenses down.

By computing the entire cost for both options throughout the course of the contract, you can evaluate how much buying a phone outright vs. on a plan will cost you.

Let’s take an example where you locate a phone on a 24-month contract for $80 per month. The identical phone is available for $700 if you purchase it completely, and a $20 monthly BYO phone plan covers calls, messages, and data. The data allotment is the same for both plans. In this case, you save $740 if you purchase the phone altogether.

Plan A: $80 a month multiplied by 24 months equals $1,920.

Option B (outright): $700 for the phone plus ($20/month x 24 months) for a BYO plan equals $1,180.

There is useful information on the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network’s (ACCAN) website if you need assistance selecting a mobile phone plan. To compare phone plans, you can also use comparison websites such as Finder and WhistleOut.

What distinguishes mobile phones that are locked and unlocked?

Unlocked phones allow you to use any telco provider, while locked phones can only be used on the network they are locked to, such as Telstra, Optus, or Vodafone. This implies that you will need to enroll in a Telstra phone plan, for instance, if you purchase a locked phone. It’s wise to check before you buy, as a variety of locked and unlocked phones can be found at stores like Australia Post and supermarkets.

Android versus iPhone

Android or iOS (iPhone) are the two operating systems that power the majority of modern cellphones. While Android is manufactured by Google and is compatible with a variety of phones, including Samsung, Google Pixel, and Oppo, iOS was created by Apple and is exclusively compatible with Apple devices.

Adhering to the same operating system for your smartphone can simplify matters if you have additional devices, such as a tablet or laptop, that operate on the same platform. Not only will you know the functionality better, but the gadgets also tend to “talk to each other” better overall.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to visit a store to test out a few models and ask family and friends about their experiences with phones.

The best advice is to reset your old phone.

It’s advisable to reset your old phone to remove all of your data and settings before discarding it. In this manner, your phone will be seen as brand new, which is crucial if you intend to give the phone to someone else. If you’ve been given a used phone, you should also reset it to remove the previous owner’s data. This guide explains how to reset an Android or iPhone phone.



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