Here are some tips for purchasing a phone if you have mobility or dexterity issues. When choosing a phone, make sure that it has the features you need before you buy - not all features are available on every phone.
You may want to look at phones that:
- Are light and easy to grip, or where you can add an easy grip case
- Have a touchscreen - can activate most of these with one finger
- Come with a physical keypad with large well-spaced buttons
Most smartphones (Apple iOS, Android and Windows phones) either have builtin features to enable voice control, such as Siri for Apple iOS, or you can install an app to do the same job. These can help you:
- Call someone in your phonebook just by speaking their name
- Search the internet using voice commands
- Dictate text messages and email messages
- Open applications using your voice
- Use your voice to record notes for reminders or to send as messages
- Set buttons to make a sound or vibrate when you touch them, so you know what you are pressing
- Personalise your ringtones for each person, so you know who is calling
- Set up your phone for speed or one touch dialling
- Choose a hands-free kit/ Bluetooth headset so you don't need to hold your phone on a call
- Use predictive texting or a predictive typing app to limit the amount of typing you have to do
Most smartphones have a section in the settings called Accessibility, where you can find some helpful features like:
- Touch and Hold delay accessibility service for Android allows you to set a pre-determined amount of time for tapping and holding the screen
- Switch Control Accessibility feature for Apple iOS allows you to control the phone using a single switch or multiple switches
- Assistive Touch Accessibility Service for Apple iOS helps you with gestures that you may have difficulty with. It is also possible to add an external device such as a joystick
- Speech output is available in Apple iOS (Voiceover) and Android (Talkback). This has been designed for the blind but it can also be useful for those with limited dexterity. When switched on it lets you navigate the phone by swiping across the screen. Each item in turn is announced. Then, a double tap anywhere on the screen will activate the item. This means you don't have to target a small area such as an icon or button in order to select it
There are lots of Bluetooth keyboards available that connect to your phone without using cables. This may make typing easier.
Visit an O2 store and speak to us for help with choosing a handset with the features you need.