Simple Smartphone Customization Tips for Seniors

Technology offers all kinds of tools to enhance our lifestyles and assist us with meeting our ever-changing needs as we age. However, it can also be a bit intimidating if you’re part of a generation that didn’t have much exposure to computers and cell phones growing up. Here are some easy ways to customize your Smartphone to give you more of what you need, and less of what you don’t.

Customization Tips for an Android Phone

All Android phones provide you with the ability to increase your phone’s font size. To change the font size on your phone, go to Settings > Display > Font Size. From there, you have the option to select small, normal, large or huge. Text size options may vary with different Android models.

To raise the volume of ringtones for your text messages and incoming calls, go to Settings > Sound. There will be a list of sound options where you will be able to browse through different tones. You can preview the tone and then select the one you want to use for your notifications.

Android offers a number of apps called “Launchers” that change the general layout and look of the phone, creating larger icons and a simplified system that will be easier for those with less digital experience. One of the more popular launcher apps is Wiser, free on the Google Play store, along with the Simple Senior Phone launcher.

To make your phone overall easier to use, some Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy series, offer a simplified or Easy Mode. Find it by clicking Settings / Personalization > Easy Mode and follow the instructions on the link above.

Customization Tips for an iOS Phone

If you are using an iPhone, there are a number of options available in the Accessibility settings that could help make the phone easier to use, especially if your vision is a particular challenge. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Here you can enable VoiceOver to have content read aloud, as well as use the Zoom and Magnifier tools to make items on the screen easier to see and read.

To increase the font size on your iPhone, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Text Size. From there, you’ll be able to drag the slider to your preferred text size.

To adjust the ringtone volume for your text messages and incoming calls, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics. Scroll down to “Sounds and Vibrations Patterns” and select the tone you want for each notification.

If you use hearing aids you can connect them to your iPhone if they’re compatible, which provides you with a suite of extra features, including “live listen,” to improve your experience.

To reduce the number of apps on your screen, you can group relevant ones together by holding an app and dragging it on top of another one to create a folder. Your iPhone will even suggest a folder name.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to keep all the apps your phone came with. Click and drag the ones you don’t find useful to your Trash Can.

Fine Tuning With Apps

No matter what you want to do, it’s more than likely there’s an app for that, and it’s probably free. Both iPhone and Android platforms offer a host of no-cost apps through the Apple Store or Play Store that can do everything from assist with scheduling medications and exercise (Medwatcher) to helping you keep track of birthdays for family and friends (Birthday Sweet or Birthdays).