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When it comes to setting up a new smartphone, unfamiliar technology is not the only challenge that older people face. Changes in eyesight, hand dexterity, joint pain and other factors may affect your experience with devices. But smartphones come with a few handy settings to make it easier for an older person to use one. 

1. Find and use the accessibility settings 

Most smartphones have accessibility modes built into their operating system. You can find these within your phone’s settings menu. These features may include an on-screen magnifier, text-to-speech tools, one-handed UIs and adapted colour modes.


Accessibility settings on Android phone

2. Improve in-app settings and get to know your phone

There are other ways to improve accessibility without dedicated features. For example, become familiar with gesture shortcuts, touchscreen features such as pinch-to-zoom if you need to zoom into text on web pages and messaging apps that allow you to adjust your message size. 

3. Get your virtual assistant working

Another handy tool you have at your disposal is your virtual assistant. Android users have access to Google Assistant, while iPhone owners have Siri. Your assistant can carry out a number of commands, such as making phone calls to contacts, opening apps and setting reminders or alarms. You’ll find your assistant settings in your phone settings.


Virtual assistant on Android phone

4. Change keyboard settings 

In terms of your smartphone's on-screen keyboard, you can adjust the key and letter sizes to make errors less likely. Don’t forget to enable predictive text and text correction so that keys accidentally don’t force you to write the entire word over again. 


Keyboard settings on phone

5. Consider a stylus 

A phone with a stylus can also be helpful for people with limited finger dexterity. Phones that come with a stylus will have built-in features that work with it. However, you can also use a generic stylus with any touchscreen phone in place of relying entirely on moving and typing with your fingers.  

For more about accessibility, including how to get assistance on Vodacom’s accessible devices, click here. 

Header photo by from Pexels

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