How to make Android phones senior-friendly

How to make Android phones senior-friendly

/ 08:56 AM March 12, 2024

Android phones have been accumulating more features and getting smaller. However, that makes it difficult for older people to use. They may need help to identify and use specific features, especially when their devices have numerous icons. Fortunately, you can help your grandma and grandpa use this essential device in many ways. 

You can make apps appear bigger, remove ones they don’t use, and enlarge the keyboard, Also, you could assign call shortcuts to help them contact loved ones easier. Let’s start by navigating the specific menu options to implement these adjustments. 

The 5 ways to a senior-friendly phone

  1. Increase text size
  2. Enlarge the keyboard buttons
  3. Uninstall or disable unwanted apps
  4. Assign call shortcuts
  5. Turn off gesture navigation

1. Increase text size

An Android phone screen showing increased text size settings.
Free stock photo from Pexels

Make it easier for your elderly loved ones to identify specific features by making their names bigger on the home screen. Follow these steps for Android 13 phones from MakeUseOf:

  1. Open Settings and then the Display option.
  2. Scroll down and then tap Display size and text. Alternatively, select System font, Font size and style, or a similar option for your phone brand and model.
  3. Next, drag the slider under Font size to the right until it is large enough for your loved one to read. However, ensure you can still see apps and other important features among the larger words.

2. Enlarge the keyboard buttons

Close-up of an Android keyboard with enlarged buttons for improved accessibility.
Free stock photo from Pexels

You can help your grandparents type on Android by making the keyboard larger. Most smartphones use Gboard, so let’s use it as an example for enlarging keyboard buttons:

  1. Open any app that lets you insert text, such as Google Chrome.
  2. Next, tap on the text box to make the keyboard appear. 
  3. Select the menu icon, which has an icon with four squares, in the top-left corner of the keyboard. 
  4. Choose the Resize option.
  5. Then, stretch the edges of the keyboard until the buttons are large enough. You may also revert to the normal size by tapping the Undo button on the left.

3. Uninstall or disable unwanted apps

An Android phone screen displaying the app uninstallation process.
Free stock photo from Pexels

Android phones come with numerous apps to get you started, but we don’t use many. Often, these confuse elderly folks who only prefer using a handful of programs. Make their devices elderly-friendly by decluttering with the following steps:

  1. Identify the apps your older relative frequently uses, such as the messaging app. 
  2. Then, head to Settings
  3. Open the Apps option, and then select an app you don’t want.
  4. Next, tap the Uninstall button. Alternatively, select the Disable or Hide button if you choose a built-in application.

You may also hold your finger on a specific app until the Uninstall and Remove options appear. Afterward, drag it to the former to permanently remove it or to the latter to hide it from view.

4. Assign call shortcuts

A senior tapping on a customized call shortcut on an Android home screen.
Free stock photo from Pexels

Most phones automatically save contact information in SIM cards and social media to facilitate setup. However, having too many contact options can overwhelm older folks. Ensure they can reach important ones by assigning call shortcuts:

  1. Press and hold a blank area on your Home screen.
  2. Then, tap Widgets
  3. Go to the Contacts category and choose the Direct Dial widget.
  4. Drag it to a desired spot and choose a contact.

MakeUseOf says you can assign multiple call shortcuts on Samsung phones. Open your Phone app and go to the Keypad tab. Next, hold down any unassigned number and select a contact. That will let your grandparents call specific people by merely pressing down on specific keypad buttons.

5. Turn off gesture navigation

An Android phone settings menu with gesture navigation options highlighted for adjustment.
Free stock photo from Pexels

Some Android phones let you navigate apps by swiping the screen. However, this feature confuses many seniors. You may turn it off with these steps:

  1. Open the device’s Settings app.
  2. Head to Accessibility, System controls, and then System navigation. Alternatively, head to Display, the Navigation bar, and then Navigation type.
  3. Afterward, choose the 3-button navigation style.

READ: How to disable pop-up blockers


It will reveal a triangle, circle, and square button at the bottom of the screen. The triangle lets undo actions or return to previous apps. The home button directs the user to the home screen, and the square shows their active apps.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

TOPICS: gadgets, technology
TAGS: gadgets, technology

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.