Ask The Techspert: Making Your Smartphone Age-Friendly – Part 1

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Have a tech question that’s got you stumped? Send your tech questions to Techspert Jonathan using THIS FORM. He’ll be tackling one question a month from readers.

We continue to accumulate comments from readers in response to our Open Letter to Tech Product Designers.  We hope Tech companies are paying attention to calls to keep older adults in mind with all their numerous upgrades. Meanwhile, we will cover a few tips to make your smartphones and tablets more age-friendly.

The good news is that most smartphones and tablets, both iOS and Android, come with a wide range of built-in accessibility settings allowing users to have a tailored experience. The bad news is that these features are inactive from the start. You would need to know about them and where to find them. Some of these accessibility settings are immediately enjoyable, like the ones targeting readability, while others come with a learning curve.

Enlarging the smartphone display in general

The first tip to make your smartphone more readable is to adjust the device’s display size. This affects the entire experience by resizing everything displayed in your smartphone, including application icons, text bubbles, the keyboard, and even the battery size and time in the top corners of your device. To increase the display size:

On Android:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap on Display
  • If needed, tap on Advanced, then tap on Display Size
  • Use the slider on the bottom to increase or decrease the overall Display Size.

On iOS:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap Display & Brightness
  • Scroll to the bottom and select Display Zoom (View)
  • Then select Larger Text and confirm that you want to switch to the Zoomed experience

Do you need even bigger text?

 With the Accessibility features, we can enlarge the text’s font size further. On both Android and iOS, do the following to complete this step:

  • Open the Settings app on your device
  • Tap Accessibility
  • Then tap Display Size on Android and Text (on iOS, it reads Display & Text Size)
  • Then you can turn on or off the Bold option
  • Or tap Font Size on Android (on iOS, Larger Text)
  • Then, adjust the slider to increase or decrease text size throughout your device.

Are some buttons, icons, and content still tiny?

Although in your smartphone’s photo and browser apps, you can double-tap or pinch to zoom in and out of what’s being displayed, many apps do not provide this useful feature. That’s where the second tip for making your device more age-friendly comes in handy – Introducing the accessibility Zoom feature on iOS and Magnification on Android. These tools are better explained with a video:

What’s Next?

This article is the first of a 3-parts series about making your smartphone age-friendly. In the next part, we will go over how to make the overall usability of your smartphone easier. Meanwhile, for a comprehensive list of all accessibility features on iOS (iPhone and iPad), visit Apple’s Accessibility webpage to learn about them, where to find them and how to turn them on and off. For Android users, please visit the Accessibility page on the Android website to do the same.

Leave a comment below with any questions or input that you might have!

Jonathan-Techspert-techTechspert Jonathan is Senior Planet’s Sr. Digital Community Relations and Product Specialist and a former Senior Planet San Antonio technology trainer. He is also an iOS developer with a background in Information Systems and Cyber Security.

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