Other Smartphone for Seniors?

Laton

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 28, 2019
34
15
Hello everyone,

my sister and I plan to gift a new smartphone to my mother. It's her 85th birthday.
Currently she uses mostly an old clamshell phone which she can keep in her small jeans pocket. And she has my old iPhone 4 for looking up contact data or checking the weather.

Now the discussion is open what we should buy. My sister made the suggestion of an android phone with a special layout for elders. The idea is nice, and I would probably go for it. But... after reading a little bit the reviews of some users I'm starting to get doubts.

For example, you have to agree to share your personal data to finish up installation. No way to opt out. Hardware is also not sufficient.
In another case someone used his personal account to set up the handy for his father with the effect that all of his personal data were used for setup. Resetting the phone deleted the special setup for elders with no way to retrieve it.
Or another model... Android 7.0?! Or... exploded batterie?!

The more I read about the Android phones the less happy I am.

Problem is the smartphone shouldn't be too expensive, but I get the impression that purchasing an Android phone might be saving in the wrong place.


So.... I want to check out if the iPhone might be a good alternative. And I need good arguments.


What do we need?

- long stand-by times (Currently she only needs to charge her clamshell phone every 7-10 days if I remember correctly.)
- It should be small and light. (Well, fitting in small jeans pockets will be problem, regardless of Android phone or iPhone.)
- data security and privacy (My mother is very cautious when surfing in the internet or installing updates.)
- easy to use
- durable
- not too expensive, but should have updates for a few years (The first suggestion of my sister was about 140 €. But to get something good I would go up to about 250 €. I startet looking into refurbished models.)


So, are iPhones an alternative? Are there any options to make an iPhone more user-friendly for elders?
Which model would be you recommend?

Thanks a lot for help in advance!
 
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barbu

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2013
732
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wpg.mb.ca
it will come as no surprise on this forum but I clearly think the iPhone is the right choice. Let's look at why:

- long standby time: I think most of us would be shocked to know the standby time of an iPhone that isn't constantly being fiddled with ;-) plus, a cheap usb battery charger can really help here and that's easy enough for old folks to get their heads around.

- small & light: subjective. I would think a bigger screen would be more useful for aging eyes though

- data security and privacy: NO contest here, iPhone destroys any android offering

- easy to use: this is the strength of apple

- durable: having tried on purpose to smash an iPhone 7, they are unbelievably durable. screens can obviously get smashed if they fall wrong but there is no avoiding that

- not too expensive: subjective.

I would add that the Accessibility features of iOS 14 are absolutely compelling. Have you tried Voice Control? It is _amazing_. Plus support for Assistive devices, pointers, hearing aids, on and on... Apple has done a huge amount of work on this.
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,600
2,232
Between the coasts
Unless you replace the flip phone with another flip phone, you're going to have issues of adaptation. You're also likely to "own" the change (in-house tech support), so go with a platform with which you're familiar.

There's 85 and then there's 85 (and some 40-year-olds are no more adaptable than some 85-year-olds). Some people can be educated at any age, others... When it comes to your mother, you'll know better than we would. If you're in a position to introduce her to the potential platforms prior to making the change, you'll be in a better position to gauge the situation.

I'd suggest, for any phone, to break the "only charge it when it's dead" philosophy people learned for nicad-powered devices. "Plug it in every night before bedtime" may take some getting used to, but it's a habit worth breaking, in my opinion.
 

wproct

macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2014
441
159
Iowa
I would definitely stick with Iphone, she already has some familiarity with it. I think that she would quickly adapt to something the size of Iphone 7, 8, or something similar. Maybe even larger.
 

teeshot44

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2015
356
262
US
I would add that the Accessibility features of iOS 14 are absolutely compelling. Have you tried Voice Control? It is _amazing_. Plus support for Assistive devices, pointers, hearing aids, on and on... Apple has done a huge amount of work on this.
IOS 14 ???
 

rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,364
4,355
it will come as no surprise on this forum but I clearly think the iPhone is the right choice. Let's look at why:

- long standby time: I think most of us would be shocked to know the standby time of an iPhone that isn't constantly being fiddled with ;-) plus, a cheap usb battery charger can really help here and that's easy enough for old folks to get their heads around.
I dunno about the iPhone 8 or newer. However, even when brand new standby time was still just 2-3 days at best on my iPhone 7 (like no active usage, just forwarding calls and texts to iPad).

In this case, I don't recommend saving money by going with a used older model.

The iPhone 11 probably has great battery life but might be more expensive and bigger than the OP wants. My dad has one and it was a definite no in my mom's book (small jeans pockets). She was amenable to iPhone 7 size, though.

Assuming the iPhone SE2/9 goes as scheduled, I'll be upgrading her to that ASAP and giving her a wireless charger. I think wireless charging was my dad's favorite "quality of life" improvement after he upgraded from iPhone 7 to 11. So much more convenient for him to charge his phone now. Just put it on the dock at night and it's ready to go in the morning.
 
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oVerboost

macrumors 65816
Sep 17, 2013
1,349
745
United Kingdom
If all she’s wanting is phone calls and texts and other light usage, get a brand new 6S (they’re still available if you look) it’ll be low cost, lightweight, familiar and easy to use.

Doesn’t matter about software updates for the usage it will get.
 
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bushman4

macrumors 68030
Mar 22, 2011
2,659
424
Smartphone such as Apples iPhone is the way to go If you live near the Apple store they always have tutorial sessions going on for free on learning the iPhone
the iPhone is intuitive so a senior citizen should NOT have any problem
 
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ACB 123

macrumors member
Sep 29, 2015
64
20
If she can getting around on a iPhone 4 then I wouldn't change from apple. As they said the 6S would do the job but only you know.
 

JerseyDoug

macrumors 6502
May 10, 2012
261
14
Smartphone such as Apples iPhone is the way to go If you live near the Apple store they always have tutorial sessions going on for free on learning the iPhone
the iPhone is intuitive so a senior citizen should NOT have any problem
Curious. How many 85 year olds have you helped learn a smartphone? LOL! My wife is much younger than 85, with a M.S. in Computer Science from UVA. She doesn't consider her Xr intuitive. When she has a problem, she hands the phone to me. Just sayin'. :)
 

m0sher

macrumors 6502a
Mar 4, 2018
803
769
My parents have a hard time with an iPhone 6, it has to do with interacting with the iOS they don’t understand.

If you can get your parents a flip phone that would be the best thing, simple straightforward and they really don’t have to deal with anything. Especially if they were born in the 40s or earlier.

96BE88A9-CE3A-47ED-87AD-4F389B835908.jpeg
 

alien3dx

macrumors 65816
Feb 12, 2017
1,013
198
lol. The best choice is NOKIA phone flip 2720 .. cheap and durable.
Just program it for quick access number since old folks tend to forget.. no need cyber security level.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
7,617
9,253
I would give the Samsung A50 a try. For the cost, it has excellent battery life and a good camera. I know an elderly person that has one. She uses it on Easy Mode (which doesn't require any info sharing), not because she finds normal mode difficult, but Easy Mode makes everything huge, including the icons. So that's better for her poor sight.
 

shankar2

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2009
983
53
I found the lack of a button on the Iphone 10 & 11 a deal breaker for my parents. I've hence given a iphone 8 to them.

Also Android phones have a "BACK" button onscreen which is awesome for old folks since they do tend to get stuck between using apps. Apple should release one iphone for senior folks with a back button imho.

Also the font customization (size and type) is missing in IOS so one of my parents love their Samsung android phone. They are much lighter, back button, and screen more readable, shiny.
 

alien3dx

macrumors 65816
Feb 12, 2017
1,013
198
I found the lack of a button on the Iphone 10 & 11 a deal breaker for my parents. I've hence given a iphone 8 to them.

Also Android phones have a "BACK" button onscreen which is awesome for old folks since they do tend to get stuck between using apps. Apple should release one iphone for senior folks with a back button imho.

Also the font customization (size and type) is missing in IOS so one of my parents love their Samsung android phone. They are much lighter, back button, and screen more readable, shiny.
back button android is annoyance like 6 .2 inchi size. . I'm sure lot of people wanted those iphone se v2 with touch id
 

Laton

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 28, 2019
34
15
Sorry, that I couldn't respond until now. The last few weeks were quite turbulent. And now that the kids are at home due to the Corona virus, it's not getting easier.

The whole Corona situation also changed my own decision what's best for my mother.

I live several hundred kilometers away, so I can't help set up the phone. I can't help when she has problems when using the new phone. And right now nobody knows when it is save to visit her. My mother has a very high risk to die when she catches the corona virus.

I really don't like it but I decided to go with the android phone right now. My sister lives next to my mother. It is the best decision for now. And to share our pictures we might get a new iPad when the old one won't work anymore.

Good luck to you all! And stay healthy.
 

ericwn

macrumors 601
Apr 24, 2016
4,614
2,861
Best success for your sister and of course your mother with the new phone.

Everyone is different and my mom is very unfamiliar with technology. She can use an iPad for some simple functionality but she struggled a lot when we got her an SE a few years back. Not everybody has the mental capacity to learn new things in their later life.
 
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