Apple offers a wide range of iPhones at the moment, with models aimed at most budgets as well as hand sizes and performance requirements. But which one would be ideal for older users to buy or receive as a gift from their doting friends and family? Here's our quick guide to the best iPhones for seniors.
What makes an iPhone good for older users?
Obviously, almost any iPhone can potentially be great for a senior citizen, as they are normal people and not some strange sub-class of human. But there are some features that can make certain models more appealing that others for the older user.
One main consideration, as with all purchases, is cost. You don't want to be a person who works hard all your life, diligently saving money into a pension, only to blow a substantial stack of cash on a device that has loads of power and features that you won't use. By the same measure, you'll want a phone that can last a few years, to prevent having to upgrade again in the near future.
Screen size, meanwhile, is a double-edged sword. As we age, our eyes can struggle to read smaller text, so a larger screen can be a bonus. This is also good for video calls to family and friends as you'll get a better view of those at the other end. Typing is also easier on a larger screen, so long as you're happy to use both hands rather than whizzing around with your thumb.
On the downside, larger phones can also mean heavier weight, which can be more difficult to use for extended time without having hands suffer from fatigue. And larger-screen phones are often more expensive.
Finally, there's the software interface. If you're someone who doesn't really want to have to learn loads of fancy swipe gestures to use your phone (or buying for someone like that), then the Home button can be a welcome addition as it makes it easy to return to the main screen at any time.
Here is our pick of the bunch for the silver surfers of the 21st century.
Best iPhone for elder users
While the iPhone 11 might not be the most bang-up-to-date model, originally being released in September 2019, it's still an excellent device that offers a large 6.1in Liquid Retina display, a twin Wide/Ultra Wide camera, the fast A13 Bionic chip that will be good for a few years yet, and an IP68 waterproofing rating to protect against any trips into the bath or sink.
The display is rich and bright, making it easy to read text and watch videos. The cameras are also excellent, with the two lenses providing a powerful combination for things like Night Mode (low light photography) and Portrait mode (blurring out the background). So if you like taking photos, then the iPhone 11 has plenty to offer.
The iPhone 11 doesn't have a Home button, so that could be a deal-breaker for some, but the gesture navigation is quick to learn and easy to use on the spacious display.
It is a more weighty model than some might appreciate at 194g, so if you want all of the benefits (plus a few more) but in a lighter package, then the iPhone 12 does that at a svelte 164g. Price-wise, the iPhone 11 is good value, though, coming in at £599/US$599/AU$999 for the 64GB version, whereas the iPhone 12 will set you back £799/US$799/AU$1,349 for the same capacity.
To see how the models compare, read our iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11 comparison review.
Before spending any money, be sure to also check out our roundup of the best iPhone 11 deals. And we've embedded an automatic pricing table below, offering the lowest prices from a wide range of retailers.
iPhone SE (2020)
If you're looking for an inexpensive iPhone that will fit easily in most pocket or bags, has a Home button to help with navigation, is lightweight and should last for several years, then there really is only one option and that's the excellent iPhone SE (2020).
This small device is packed with fast components that make it a breeze to use and very comfortable to hold. The low price point of £399/US$399/AU$679 makes it superb value and the only real drawback for older users is the relatively small 4.7in display. But if you find the text too small, there is the ability to increase the font as you'll see in our how to get bigger text on iPhone tutorial.
Check out our roundup of the best iPhone SE (2020) deals to see if you can grab a bargain. Or browse the automatic price table embedded below. If the prices are all the same, that indicates (as is often the case with lower-priced devices like this) that retailers are all sticking to Apple's RRP.
Used or refurbished iPhone 8 Plus
Those looking for the combination of a larger display, Home button and low price will find nothing in the current line-up. But if you're happy to look at the used and refurbished market then the iPhone 8 Plus might be a happy medium. True, it's getting a little long in the tooth now, but there are still a few years left in the model yet and it should happily receive iOS 15 updates and beyond.
Looking at Smartfonestore, a used specialist in the UK, revealed that you can buy an iPhone 8 Plus with 256GB of storage in Very Good condition for £309.99. This also includes a 12-month warranty is anything goes wrong with the phone. There are similar outlets across the world, so search in your territory to see what bargains you can dig up.
You will have to put up with the heavy weight, though, at 202g, but there's a lot to like about what you get from the last of Apple's larger devices that featured a Home button.
For a broader look at the iPhone range and the advantages and disadvantages of the various models, take a look at our iPhone buying guide to see which ones we currently recommend.