iPhone 5 or earlier iPhone 5 for mother

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Martini01, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. Martini01 macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2018
    My mother (in her 70s) has a flip phone but no experience with a smartphone. She would like an iPhone, but probably wouldn't use it much. Basically wants it for emergencies and occasionally using Whatsapp to talk to relatives in Italy, and maybe Facetime. Would an iPhone 5 (maybe a refurbished purchased on Amazon or eBay) be an okay choice? She doesn't want to spend much if it could be helped. Thanks.
  2. Matthew.H, Oct 21, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018

    Matthew.H macrumors 6502


    Sep 16, 2015
    Norwich, UK
    You'd probably want to go for an SE at a minimum due to software support. The 5 only supports 32 bit and is stuck on
    iOS 10.3 so some apps may not work.

    Edited because I had forgot the max iOS for the iPhone 5.
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    I have an iPhone 5. The highest it can go is iOS 10.3.3. That's fine for me, but I don't use WhatsApp so I'm not sure if WhatsApp would run on 10.3.3.

    Without that requirement though it would work absolutely fine. My mother is in her late 70s and she gets along with an iPhone 4s.

    Realistically though I'd either go with an iPhone 5s or an SE. Both can run iOS 12. The SE might be a bit more expensive but you can get one for less than $600. The 5s and SE will also have TouchID if that's important at all to you.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 21, 2018 ---
    The iPhone 5 runs iOS 10.3.3. I know. I have one on that firmware.
  4. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    The 5 size phone is tiny. Maybe too tiny for old eyes and fingers.

    I say get a 5S if you're going to get such a small phone. Touch ID is so much more convenient than having to type in a password every time.

    I have an iPhone 5 running iOS 10.3 and it runs fine. I keep it as a backup phone though and never use it. Screen is too small for me and lack of Touch ID is a pain.
  5. akash.nu macrumors 604


    May 26, 2016
    Yep my vote goes for Either 5S or SE as suggested by others.
  6. CPTmom2wp, Oct 21, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018

    CPTmom2wp macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2014
    I would suggest that you at least consider the iPhone 6s Plus. My 95 year old dad uses that one and really likes it due to the size and some impairment in eyesight. It's also nice when I send him texts as he can see them better in passing when he has it plugged in on the counter and the audio is better when we talk. I had always passed down my previous phones to him and this is his favorite and is not willing to give it up (I tried the larger size the one time and then reverted back to the smaller form factor).
    He has large hands, so while he hardly ever texts himself, he can use his stylus to respond.
  7. pdp1 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2018
    I wouldn’t consider the 5 at all. If you really want the smaller form factor, 5s the ABSOLUTE minimum but more realistically, the SE. iOS12 will be the last supported os for the 5s.

    But what I’d really recommend is the 6s or 6s+. My mom is also in her early 70s, her current 5.5” screen has been a huge bonus for her as she came from smaller 4” and 4.5” phones. Her main use cases for her phone (aside from making calls) are reading news, watching YouTube videos, and chatting/texting with friends and family.
  8. Caspavio macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2018
    there are plenty of useful advice above me. you might want to consider android though. e.g. samsung has an easy mode thaat enlarges icon and stuff or you can get launchers that make everything big and easy to see and press.

    think the biggest problem with iphone 5 is the size of the icons and texts, making it hard for your mother to see and tap. maybe let her try it first.
  9. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    No Android phone that I am aware of can use Facetime though, something OP mentioned is a requirement.

    Now, there's Skype of course, or other video chat services. But that would require a new learning curve on top of learning Android (even in the simplified form you mention).
  10. rachelsgoldens macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2016
    I got my mom an iPhone 5 and it was too small. I got her a 7 on the $650 trade in promo two years ago and she’s happy with it. She's now 65. Depends on the eyesight I think.
  11. Caspavio macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2018
    yeah im aware. not saying OP should do that, but something to consider. there will be no point if OP's mother cannot operate the phone.

    my grandma have problem reading from an iphone 7, and the apps and keyboard are too closely spaced together for her to even use the phone. so in the end she had to stick with a non smartphone with huge keypads.
  12. tl01 macrumors 68020

    Jun 20, 2010
    How is her eyesight? My mom is 74 and she has an X. She likes the bigger screen size bc it is easier to read and type on. My dad has an 8plus as his eyes are not doing great.

    The operation of all the phones is the same...so I would really go based upon eye sight.
  13. JPack macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2017
    Be good to your mom.

    At least buy her an iPhone 6s Plus, please. The touch targets and display elements are much better for people of that age.

    If she needs help from someone using her iPhone, it's much easier to troubleshoot if she's running the latest iOS like everyone else.
  14. Teach4 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2013
    My mom is 92, and prefers the bigger screen because of her eyes. Like others have said, that part is really important. It won’t do her much good, if she can’t see the screen that well. My mom also likes my iPad Pro, I think when they come out with the new one and I get that, I will give her my old one.
  15. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    Challenges form elderlies switching to touch-base UI that I observe:
    - Swiping is not natural for them. They are used to pushing buttons, not swiping. This is the hardest thing for my dad (also in his 70s). Added on that their fine muscle control are no longer great, causing a bit of shakiness/tremors, swiping something becomes ultra difficult. This issue is valid whether the phone is iPhone or Android. Even unlocking the phone can be a hassle for them.
    - Lack of tactile feedback. Due to the lack of tactile feedback of touch screens, they tend to press a button multiple times since they think their first push didn't register. It's just their nature and reflects. This can create havoc on touch-based OSes, switching screens or modes or etc, creating confusion and making things worse.
    - Tiny fonts. The problem with current smartphones are their tendencies to use ultra tiny fonts (and their higher ppi). This is a problem even for me, let alone an elderly. iPhone and Android do have accessibility feature, so you might want to test these first to see if it works for your mom.
    - Accidental touches. The way they grip/hold phones, they don't expect they have to be careful of the touch screen. This is understandable since they can hold a feature phone in any way they want without accidentally pushing some buttons. This can loop into some app being started or settings being changed, and cause even more confusion.

    In the end, it's up to your mom. If she shows some interest or willingness to learn new things, simply introduce things slowly, and I'm sure she will appreciate the new device. I can share my experience with my dad. I tried multiple different phones, even customized Android phones with launchers for elderlies (it changed the home screen into tile base buttons, just like Windows phone). Nothing works. Worse, it makes him frustrated. I end up buying him a new "old" Nokia feature phone, and call it a day.

    As for a phone, I would try getting at least an iPhone 6 to get iOS12. I think Siri shortcuts can be helpful for the elderlies. You can just create some shortcuts to start a whatsapp call or facetime, so it's easier for her.
  16. CPTmom2wp macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2014
    I think the three biggest helpful hints for my 95 y-o Dad, aside from the larger plus side screen are as follows:
    1. Purchase a fine point stylus for using the keyboard.
    2. Setting up "Favorites" for one touch phone calls only to immediate family and friends.
    3. Turn the volume up to max so they don't have to mess with the side buttons.
    4. Limit the apps to a few, e.g., weather, favorite sports team, calendar, time, news, maps, phone, contacts( I typed these in for him from his address book),and messages.

    Also check out the Accessibility features in settings to see if there is anything else that might be helpful. My Dad is very adept at new things and will stay with them until he figures them out, so has no difficulty with the phone and basic apps. But he still finds it difficult to navigate within the apps. It is confusing that they are all so different and is not intuitive to older people who didn't grow up with computers or smart phones........even the basic calculator was invented when he was an adult:eek:.
  17. topgunn macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2004
    I'd go for either an iPhone SE or an iPhone 7. The SE is the least expensive at just over $100 on Swappa.com. If you think she would benefit from the larger screen size, the 7 is a great phone and can be had for under $250 on Swappa.
  18. Garemlin Suspended


    Oct 13, 2018
    My 74 yo mother uses a 6s. She has extremely bad arthritis but uses it just fine. It's in an Otterbox Defender to help her grip it better.
  19. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    This is maybe why my 76 year old mother has zero issues using an iPhone 4s without any limitations.

    My mom was a schoolteacher for over 40 years and in the 80s she taught computer science. There was ALWAYS a computer of some kind in our house. And my mom switched to Mac ten years before the rest of us in the family.

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18 October 21, 2018