Brenda Lyle – Hometown News

Q: Are smartphones easy for seniors to learn?

A: You are not alone in considering this essential technology, as smartphone purchases by seniors continue to rise. According to AARP, “62 percent of those 70 and older use smartphones.”  However, smartphone owners over 70 are likely to overlook the great features available on their device.

Apple vs. Android

No matter the age group, there is always a lively debate about the ease of use between Apple iPhones and their Android competitors.  Apple has not focused on phones for seniors, while Android has an entire line of products considered “senior-friendly.” But that doesn’t mean you have to buy an android.  Read on!

Using an iPhone easily

Start making your phone easier to use by increasing the font size and adjusting the ringer volume. Enabling speech commands (“Hey, Siri”) can help with a lot of your common tasks, like reading the newspaper headlines or calling your daughter. Enable the iphone “SOS” feature and you can record your medical information as well as notify your emergency contact of an emergency. Your iPhone can also keep tabs on family members (and your lost phone) through built-in location settings.

Easy Mode

“Easy mode” is available on all of the newer Samsung Galaxy smartphones.  Turn on easy mode and you can automatically adjust text size and screen contrast. Like iPhones, Android phones can be voice-activated. It also has an SOS feature, although a third party app is needed to find the location of other family members.


Either phone platform allows seniors to access social media sites (Facebook, Instagram etc.) and email accounts. Apps help you keep track of medications, blood pressure and diet, while reading and music apps keep you entertained.

Need help? Your local phone provider can set up your desired features at the time of purchase.  If a grandkid isn’t handy, your local library, senior center or technology club may help. Best tip? Take a deep breath and spend some time learning — by doing.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.