Thanks to new accessibility software and mobile applications, older adults and people with sight loss are now also able to use smartphones, navigate websites, send emails, and much more. Here we have compiled a list of the best apps for seniors and partially sighted folks to use smartphones.

1. Big Font

Big Font is a smartphone magnification app that allows you to scale system font size from 20% (smaller) to 1000% (bigger). Most phones have in-built settings to increase font size but if you still struggle to see the default text, this app can be a good solution to further enlarge font size to meet your need.

Big Font

Price: Free to download, but with in-app purchases.

2. Chih Chao Yu

Chaozhuyin is a Chinese phonetic symbol Input Method. This app can increase the size of a smartphone keyboard to make it easier to read for seniors and folks with vision problems. A bigger keyboard is very useful to help make fewer typos and increase typing speed. You can also customize the look and feel of the keyboard, from colors to various themes or skins.

Photo: Chin Chao Yu Big Keyboard

Price: Free

3. Whoscall

One of our best apps for seniors is this great caller ID app developed by a Taiwanese startup. Unfortunately, senior citizens are one of the most targeted groups for scams, identity theft, and fraud. Specifically, robocalls, the persistent automated telephone calls to cell phones are a favorite tool for scammers. To stop unwanted robocalls, you can try a Caller ID and spam blocking app like Whosecall. This app helps you identify each incoming call, especially those from unfamiliar numbers, so you know if it’s legit or not. Whosecall can also automatically block unwanted calls based on known spammers, as well as numbers you manually add.

Whosecall

Price: Free

4 . Magnifier

There are apps that turn your smartphone into a digital magnifying glass to help you read menus, prescriptions, recipes, and much more. They use the built-in camera on your smart device to scan documents or pages and enlarge the text on-screen. Some also contain additional features like reading lights and color filters. We found that there are many free magnifying glasses apps with similar functionalities and features. You may try to search with keywords like “Magnifier” in the app store to try which one suits you the best.

5. Big Launcher

If your love ones have difficulties reading small text and icons on smartphones, they can try a Launcher app to change the entire look of their smartphone device, making them easier to use. Big Launcher is a great app that simplifies an Android phone’s home screen with a plain background and enables a grid-based arrangement. The four blocks are huge to read, with similarly sized big icons.

The launcher’s home screen doesn’t show any app names, but the icons have unique, bright gradients that someone with poor vision can still easily identify. This section also features a SOS button for calling emergency contacts.

Photo: Big Launcher interface

Price: Free to download, but with in-app purchases.

6. Caller Name Announcer

The Caller Name Announcer app helps you hear who is calling when you are engaged in other activities when it is unsafe to look at your phone or if you are visually impaired. With this talking caller app, you do not need to pick up the phone to read who is calling.

Caller Name Announcer

Price: Free to download, but with in-app purchases

7. CALCU

Almost all smartphones include a default calculator, but not all of them are big enough to read for the elderly or people with vision difficulties. CALCU is a simple, functional calculator app that features large numbers, large buttons, and a high-contrast display. This big calculator helps you get the job done faster with fewer errors.

Photo: CALCU Interface

Price: Free

8. Google Handwriting Input

The last pick on our list of the best apps for seniors is this useful Google handwriting app that let you write down words directly with mouse and trackpad. If you have difficulties reading and tapping on a regular keyboard display, this Google Handwriting Input can be a solution. This is one of the best handwriting-to-text apps that can translate your scribbles directly onscreen as you write. Supporting over 100 languages, it allows easy input of ideographic lettering and voice, and recognizes emoji-style drawings.

Google Handwriting Input

Price: Free

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