How To Make An iPhone Easy For Seniors – The Complete Setup Guide

If you’re amongst 81% seniors in America (60 or older) who use an iPhone and want to know how to make an iPhone easy for senior usage then this complete guide will handhold you in setting it up. 98% senior citizens in America own a phone and 4 out 5 have a smartphone as per the survey conducted by This guide is also applicable to the setup of an iPhone for dementia patients.

Basic Settings: 5 Practical Tips To Set Up iPhone For Seniors

The five basic settings discussed in this section are the primary set and forget features for you as a senior iPhone user. These settings are the initial steps to simplify a smartphone for seniors.

1) Screen Brightness – To setup your screen brightness which suits your environment and also soothing to your eyes is important. Eyes as an elderly individual are sensitive to extreme light. Let’s assume that you’re out in the sun and it’s so bright that your iPhone screen is almost not visible as the screen brightness is too low and not apt for the environment. Also when home in the evening, when you don’t need so much brightness to browse on your phone. The two methods mentioned below will help you to adjust your screen display light as per your liking and surroundings.

You can swipe down from the top right where you have the network bars and control center will pop up as shown below. As shown below you will see the slider right in the middle to adjust your brightness. You can also adjust your brightness by

Clicking on the gray settings app → then clicking on display and brightness → brightness.

Here you can toggle the bar to the left or right to adjust the display brightness.

How To Make An iPhone Easy For Seniors - The Complete Setup Guide 1
How To Make An iPhone Easy For Seniors - The Complete Setup Guide 2

2) Auto Lock – Auto lock is a feature when your iPhone screen goes dark and it locks itself automatically based on the time set in settings. Sometimes you want your display to be on for a longer period of time and sometimes you want it to be ON for a short interval. All being said, you don’t want the iPhone’s display to go dark when you’re working on the phone. 
So, to adjust the auto lock setting you click on the settings app → then click on → display and brightness → then scroll down to auto lock and click on it. Then you will see a screen as shown below:

How To Make An iPhone Easy For Seniors - The Complete Setup Guide 3
Auto Lock Feature

Also keep in mind that the longer you set the time for auto lock, the more battery is burned. So, choose the appropriate time limit as per your requirements.

3) Text Size : – The size of the text on your iPhone is vital when it comes to senior citizens. So, to choose the right text size as per your liking and readability you can follow the step mentioned below to change.

Click on settings tab → Then go to display and brightness → Then click on Text Size. At the bottom you will find the toggle bar to change the text size.

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Text Size

4) Bold Text : – Sometimes, just increasing the size of the text isn’t the right answer to your readability acceptance. So you can also make your text BOLD by following the steps mentioned below.

Click on the settings app → Then go to Display and Brightness → Then click on bold text and toggle the button to ON. That’s it.

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Bold Text

5) Display Zoom : – This feature makes all the icons on your iPhone slightly bigger for better visibility and differentiation. To implement this go to 
Settings tab → Then go to Display & Brightness → and then scroll right to the bottom of the screen where it says, “Display Zoom” and click on view. Then you will see a screen as shown below and you can choose the option which says, “Larger Text” to make the icons bigger.

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Display Zoom

How To Set Up Contacts On iPhone Tailored To The Need Of Senior Citizens

Adding a Contact: – Adding a contact in your iPhone is simple

Click on the contact icon → The on top right click on the plus sign and you can assign the name, assign the type of number it is (mobile, work or home) You can even add an email address and residential address too if you have it for a specific person to be added

You can even add birthdays too. Adding a birthday also means that it gets synced to your calendar on your iPhone. So when you click on the calendar icon, you will see all the birthdays on the specific dates.

Adding an address to a contact also integrates with the maps app. So anytime you wish to visit a friend who is in your contact list and you have added his address, then go to contacts, search for his name and scroll down to his address and click on the red arrow. It will take you to the maps app with directions.

Favoriting Contacts On an iPhone: – Adding favorites in your contacts makes it easier to make calls to frequently called numbers. To do this: – 
Open the phone app → Click on favorites at the bottom left → Then click on the plus sign on top left hand corner to open your contact list and add the appropriate contacts to the favorite list.

How To Add Emergency Information On Your iPhone Being a Senior User

On your iPhone, click on the health app and then click on continue. Add all the fields like name, DOB etc. Then click on profile and here you get the option of adding medical information for the elderly user and also an emergency contact. You also have the option of setting up alerts in case of emergency. 
Also, on your iPhone, click on the settings icon → go to emergency SOS → and click on auto toggle ON. As mentioned above you can add the emergency contact information in the health app. The emergency call feature is activated when you press the button and down volume button simultaneously in iPhone version 8 and above or pressing the power button rapidly 5 times on all older versions.

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Emergency SOS

A Security App On The Phone Is a Must For Senior iPhone Users

Phishing scams and online frauds are at its peak in the current online world. It’s always safe to install a security app like Malwarebytes Mobile Security which costs around $12 a year for a secure smartphone experience. Also, don’t forget to activate two factor authentication.

Enable Speak Selection On iPhone For Reading Out Text Loud

This is also how you turn on the EASY MODE on an iPhone for senior usage.

Using this feature on your iPhone you can highlight any text on your phone and it will read the text out loud to you. To enable this feature follow the steps mentioned below: – 

  1. Click on the settings icon → Then go to Accessibility 
  2. Now click on Spoken Contact
  3. Toggle the switch ON which says Speak Selection. Now when you select any line of text on the iPhone screen then it will read out to you.
  4. If you find it difficult to select a part of text then you can also enable the “Speak Screen” feature. When enabled, you can use two fingers from top to scroll down and the entire screen will be selected and everything will be voice read. 
  5. When you’re inside “Spoken Content” section, you can also select the language and rate at which the text is spoken by clicking on “Voices”
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Spoken Content

Ideal Ringer Volume Set Up and LED Flash Feature For Seniors

If a senior citizen has difficulty in hearing then ringer volume should be set to maximum.
To do this: – Click on settings → Sound and haptics → Togger the bar to setup to max volume. You may also want to enable “Vibrate On Ring” and “Vibrate On Silent” options so that you do not miss calls. 

You can also activate the LED Flash For Alerts feature for more visual clue of all incoming calls. The camera light will start flashing when you receive a call. To activate this feature go to

Settings → Accessibility → Audio/Visual → Scroll right to the bottom and activate LED Flash For Alerts.

Enabling Voice Dialing With Siri

Siri voice commands are a great feature to make use of your iPhone without much human interaction. It’s mainly helpful for seniors as they can make calls by calling out the name to Siri even on a locked screen. To activate this feature: 

  1. Go to settings
  2. Click on Face ID and Passcode
  3. Confirm your passcode to continue
  4. Select voice dial and toggle it ON
  5. Now you are ready to give commands to Siri to make calls

Rearrange The Home Screen Keeping Seniors In Mind

Once you have set up your iPhone as per all the instructions given above, you can set up your home screen with simplicity in mind. Only keep those apps on the home screen which are apt for seniors. If you wish to know step by step how to move apps to the home screen then you can refer to this guide by Apple : – Click here

Setting Up Family Sharing On an iPhone For Seniors

Apple’s family sharing feature is a very unique and salient feature where upto 6 family members can share Apple purchases and subscriptions amongst them including the iCloud storage plan

How Family Sharing Works On an iPhone

Enable Password Protected Purchases For Seniors In App Store

If you think senior members having an iPhone will visit the app store then it’s important that you disable the in-app purchases or make it password protected. Unknowingly they can purchase if they are confused about how apple purchases work. To do this: – 

  1. Click on the settings icon → Then go to Screen Time → Content & Privacy Restrictions

           Toggle this to ON

Once this is ON, go to iTunes & In App Purchases and select Don’t Allow

Best iPhone For Seniors In 2022 – How To Choose The Most Feature Rich and Affordable iPhone For The Elderly

The best phone for seniors In 2022 as per our testing is iPhone SE

Let us look at the factors which play a role in choosing the best iPhone for seniors.

  1. Price: – iPhones are a costly affair. Mostly $1000 upwards when we talk about the latest models. Elderly users don’t need the latest models or the most advanced technology which is present in the iPhone. They need features which suit their daily needs and usage. So affordability is one factor which we need to consider.
  2. Battery Life: – Almost all models last 24 hours before you need to recharge them. Having said that, the more features an iPhone has the more battery it consumes on usage. Hence choosing a model which compliments your usage should be a priority.
  3. Camera: – Camera quality in an iPhone irrespective of the model is never an issue. Each model has an amazing camera quality.
  4. Hearing Aid: – A lot of elderly individuals use hearing aid so its important to check the compatibility of hearing aid devices with your iPhone.
  5. Network Preference: – We only considered iPhone models which come with unlimited time for talk and text. A lot of networks come with expensive data options with higher models which aren’t necessary in cases of senior citizens.


So as we see that you can customize an iPhone specifically for seniors as there are features which will surely help the elderly to work on their smartphone in a better way and also for better communication.

Avatar of Akbar Sheikh
About Author
An engineer and MBA, who is a technology and a gadget freak. I write about smart home solutions and gadgets like all wireless devices, technology brands like Apple. Love to follow the latest trends in the technology space and write about latest developments.

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