iPhone for seniors
Each year, we look and determine the best iPhones on the market. Our overall favorite, the iPhone 12, is our recommendation for the best handset for seniors this year. In addition, we’ve gathered other noteworthy models to help you choose the one that fits your needs best.
Best overall: iPhone 12 (2020)
The iPhone 12 was introduced alongside the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Available in Blue, Green, PRODUCT (RED), White, and Black, the model is available with 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage. Like the other 2020 iPhones, this model is compatible with MagSafe accessories and wireless chargers. It also features 5G wireless, where available, for super-fast downloads and high‑quality streaming. The iPhone 12’s battery is designed to allow for up to 17 hours of video-playing between charges, 11 hours when that video is streamed, and up to 65 hours of audio playback. With fast-charge, you can get up to a 50% charge in just 30 minutes.
It offers a ceramic shield front that provides four times the protection of previous iPhone models. Additionally, the phone’s body is made from aerospace-grade aluminum, and it provides water resistance to a depth of six meters for up to 30 minutes.
This year’s flagship iPhone comes with a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, an A14 Bionic chip, currently the fastest in any smartphone. On the back, you’ll find a dual 12MP camera system (Ultra Wide and Wide); on the front, there’s a 12MP TrueDepth camera. Together, you have impressive tools to take high-quality photos and videos. They can also take advantage of Animoji and Memoji, which they can send to their friends.
There are four main areas where the iPhone 12 compares unfavorably with the much higher-priced iPhone 12 Pro. First, only the Pro models feature a Telephoto camera and a LiDAR Scanner for Night mode portraits, faster autofocus in low light, and next-level AR experiences. Second, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are the only 2020 models to include surgical-grade stainless steel. And finally, only the Pro models come with up to 512GB of storage. Many users won’t need these additional features.
Our recommendation for best iPhone for seniors is this one: the iPhone 12.
- Today’s flagship
- Same internals as the Pro models
- 5G wireless
- No triple camera on the back
- No 512GB option
- Could be replaced in fall 2021
Best alternative: iPhone 11 (2019)
The iPhone 11 is a terrific choice for many buyers looking to save some money but still want a 6.1-inch handset. It’s available in black, white, purple, yellow, green, and (PRODUCT)Red. The iPhone 11, first released in 2019, includes an A13 Bionic chip with Neural Engine and a Liquid Retina HD display.
On this former flagship, you’ll find a dual 12MP back camera with Ulta Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture) and Wide (ƒ/1.8 aperture) cameras with an optical zoom of 2x and digital zoom of 5x. On the front, there’s the 12MP TrueDepth camera with a ƒ/2.2 aperture.
- Large display for less
- Six different colors
- LCD, not OLED
- Could be retired soon
Best premium: iPhone 12 Pro (2020)
Source: Daniel Bader / iMore
The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max (see below) are identical except for their sizes, 6.1-inches vs. 6.7-inches. In turn, the Pro models are nearly the same as the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini internally, although key differences on the outside remain. For example, all four iPhone 12 models have an A14 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, Face ID, 5G capabilities, and MagSafe support. In addition, the iPhone 12 Pro offers up to 17 hours of video playback, 11 hours of video streaming, and 65 hours of audio enjoyment.
Beyond this, the Pro models have a stronger body (ceramic front shield and surgical-grade stainless steel), one more camera (Hi, there Telephoto), a LIDAR Scanner, and more storage options. They also come in different colors: Pacific Blue, Gold, Graphite, and Silver.
The biggest negative here shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The iPhone 12 Pro is expensive at every storage level.
- Same camera specs as Max
- Unique colors
- Telephoto lens
- Strong body
- Same display as iPhone 12
- Time could be ticking
Best value: iPhone SE – 2nd Generation (2020)
Not everyone wants to buy a new iPhone every year. For those folks, there’s the iPhone SE (2020). Introduced earlier this year, the iPhone SE (2020) looks like the iPhone 8 that it replaced in Apple’s current handset lineup.
Featuring Touch ID, not Face ID, the 4.7-inch iPhone SE (2020) is still packed with plenty of features that make it worth considering. These include a 12MP camera and 7 MP FaceTime HD camera, A13 Bionic chip with a third-generation Neural Engine, wireless charging, Haptic Touch, and more. Better still, the iPhone SE (2020) is available for hundreds less than other handsets on this list.
If you’re looking for a new iPhone that acts and feels a lot like the one you currently own, the iPhone SE (2020) is probably the one for you. It offers modern features in a design that’s practical and familiar. Best of all, it’s often on sale.
- Much less than iPhone 11 series
- Tried and true design
- Is a 4.7-inch display enough?
- Touch ID, not Face ID
Best large display: iPhone 12 Pro Max (2020)
Source: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore
Display size isn’t the only difference between this year’s iPhone Pro models. However, it might be the only thing noticed by most buyers. Beyond display size, the iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a 5x optical zoom range on its camera system versus the iPhone 12 Pro’s 4x optical zoom range. The larger model also offers better battery life; up to 20 hours of video playback, 12 hours of streaming video, and 65 hours of audio. That’s it!
Like with the iPhone 12 Pro, you need to ask yourself whether buying an iPhone Pro is the right choice. If you want the biggest iPhone display to date, this is the one to buy.
- Most prominent iPhone display to date
- Great rear- and front-facing camera
- Blazing fast
- Difficult to hold with one hand
Best iPhone for seniors
If you’re a senior and in the market for an iPhone, you’ll quickly notice there’s a wide selection from which to choose. Our advice is to go with the iPhone 12, which provides most of the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max features, but for less cash.
Among the features packed into this beast is the A14 Bionic chip, which is the fastest to date in a smartphone. You’ll also find a dual 12MP camera system (Ultra Wide and Wide) on the back; there’s a 12MP TrueDepth camera on the front. In terms of battery life, the iPhone 12 is again a suitable winner. It provides for up to 17 hours of video-playing between charges, 11 hours when that video is streamed, and up to 65 hours of audio playback.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. A Penn State graduate, Bryan likes to watch Nittany Lion football in the fall and explore new cities each summer with his teenage daughter. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
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