Jitterbug Phone Review

We scoured user reviews and put our knowledge of Jitterbug's parent company to work in this review.
Best for basics
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Large screen and loud speaker
  • Icon Pros  Light
    YES/NO buttons for easier navigation
  • Icon Pros  Light
    $99.99
Best simple smartphone
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Touch screen, video chat, and voice-to-text features
  • Icon Pros  Light
    GPS and maps
  • Icon Pros  Light
    $149.99

Jitterbug phones from Lively offer user-friendly features tailored to older adults. The Jitterbug Smart3 and Jitterbug Flip2 come with quality audio, big buttons, and large print to make staying in touch easier.

Because these phones are designed for older adults, you can add senior-specific features to your phone plan. Examples include Urgent Care virtual doctor visits, the Lively Link app, and a Personal Operator. And every plan comes with 5Star Service that connects you to an emergency operator who can help you in a scary situation like a medical emergency.

Jitterbug phones pros and cons

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Features designed for seniors
Pro Bullet 5Star emergency service
Pro Bullet Affordable monthly plans
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited minutes
Con Bullet Only 2 phones to choose from

Jitterbug pricing and service plans

Lively has two Jitterbug phones to choose from: the Jitterbug Flip2 ($99.99) and the Jitterbug Smart3 ($149.99).

You're required to select and talk and text plan for either phone. If you choose the Jitterbug Smart3, you'll also need to choose a data plan, which ranges from $2.49 for 100 MB per month to $30.00 for unlimited data per month.

You can then add an optional Health and Safety Package to either phone's cell phone plan. 

Compare Jitterbug talk and text plans

Plan name
Price
Monthly minutes
Monthly texts
Learn more
Value Talk & Text300$0.10 per text
Unlimited Talk & TextUnlimitedUnlimited

Compare Jitterbug health and safety packages

Package name
Price
Urgent response service
Virtual doctor visits
Lively Link app
Personal operator
Basic
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Preferred
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Ultimate
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

Info as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Jitterbug minutes, texting, and data

Jitterbug uses Verizon towers, but you don’t need to be a Verizon customer. With a network that big, you’ll have cell service throughout most of the US.

Unlike Verizon’s usual service, you won’t need to sign a long-term contract to use Jitterbug to make a phone call or text. The service sticks with you month to month, but you’ll need to pay for talking minutes, texts, and any data you use each month.

Jitterbug Flip2: Best for basics

Best for basics
jitterbug flip kids phone
Jitterbug Flip2
$99.99
+ monthly plan

The Jitterbug Flip2 is a simple flip phone designed to help older adults stay in touch with their loved ones.

This simple phone's big buttons, simplified menu, and powerful speaker makes it easy to see, hear, and use.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Simple keypad
Pro Bullet Loud speaker and hearing aid compatibility
Pro Bullet Large print text and magnifying tool
Pro Bullet Urgent Response Service button
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Poor battery life
Con Bullet No voice-to-text feature

Features for people with hearing and vision impairments

The Jitterbug Flip2 is compatible with hearing aids for users who have trouble understanding conversations on other cell phones (so you won’t have to shout at the pizza person when ordering dinner). And if that’s not enough, switch it to speakerphone for more powerful audio.

If you have vision impairment, its large backlit screen shows large print and a magnifying tool to make reading texts and numbers easier too.

Jitterbug Flip2 keypad and buttons 

The Jitterbug Flip2 has physical buttons on its keypad (something we’ve missed in the age of the touchscreen), including YES and NO buttons for commands. There’s also an ON/OFF button to remove any mystery of how to activate your phone.

But the best button on the Jitterbug Flip is the Urgent Response Service button. If you opt for one of the Health and Safety plans, this large red button connects you to a Lively operator who can reach emergency services like paramedics or the fire department.

Difference between Jitterbug Flip vs. Flip2

The Jitterbug Flip2 improves on the original Flip with a larger screen and free brain games.

Jitterbug Smart3: Best simple smartphone

Best simple smartphone
Jitterbug Smart3
$149.99
+ monthly fees

The Jitterbug Smart3 looks like the iPhones or Androids your grandkids are always on, but without the distractions of social media, app updates, or confusing menus.

The Smart3 also has an Urgent Response Service button at the bottom of the screen, a feature that accesses emergency services through a helpful operator.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Large backlit screen
Pro Bullet Simple touch-screen menu
Pro Bullet Talk-to-text feature
Pro Bullet Video chatting
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Weaker audio than Jitterbug Flip phone
Con Bullet Touch screen may be tricky for those with dexterity issues

Accessibility and controls

This Jitterbug smartphone sports a simple main menu with large, clear print and backlit screen to make reading easier for older adults.

Like the Jitterbug Flip2, it has a reliable speaker for those whose hearing isn’t what it used to be. From the customer reviews we read, the speaker isn’t as powerful on its own, but switch it to speakerphone, and you’ll be able to hear everything.

Messaging and features

The Jitterbug Smart3 can call, text, and even video chat with your contacts. We also like the talk-to-text feature that lets you send messages hands-free.

And its 13 MP camera is on par with name-brand smartphones like those from Samsung and Apple. So you can snap pictures of your next vacation and receive photos from your friends and family.

Like any smartphone, the Jitterbug Smart3 can access the internet. So you can read your email messages, access directions and phone numbers, and read the latest news online. It also has a built-in GPS for directions through the map function.

Jitterbug health and safety features 

The optional Health and Safety Plans include additional features that keep you connected to your loved ones and emergency services. The Basic, Preferred, and Ultimate plans all come with 5Star Service and brain games.

Urgent Response Service

Jitterbug comes with its own monitoring professionals who can help you in an emergency, turning your phone into a simple medical alert device. The Flip2 and Smart3 cell phones both have this feature.

If you fall in the kitchen or have any other emergency, press the red star button on your phone. Jitterbug operators will help you through the situation and send first responders to your location.

Urgent Care

When you have medical questions or want to see a doctor without the hassle of visiting the hospital, you can use Jitterbug’s Urgent Care feature. With the press of a button, you can connect with a nurse or doctor virtually or over the phone. They can even prescribe you with medication using this feature.

You’ll need the Preferred or Ultimate plan to get Urgent Care on your Jitterbug phone. But if you visit the doctor often or have frequent health questions, it’s a helpful feature to have on hand.

Brain games

Mental health matters too. Stay sharp (and entertained) with fun brain games built into your Jitterbug phone. Test your memory and spatial skills to keep your mind moving and active. Plus, they’re fun.

These brain games are available on both phones and all three plans.

Lively Link

Lively Link is a service that will keep your closest contacts up to date on your phone usage. If you misplace your phone, forget to charge it, or press the emergency button, Jitterbug will notify them so they can help you out.

This feature is only available with the Preferred and Ultimate plans.

Personal operator

If you need help finding information like addresses or phone numbers, the Personal Operator feature will put you in touch with a professional who can help you.

The Personal Operator feature only comes with the Ultimate plan.

Also from Lively

Jitterbug’s parent company Lively has wearable medical alert devices that can help you stay safe while you run errands, go on vacation, or hang out at home.

The Lively Mobile Plus and Lively Wearable 2 are simple wearable devices with GPS capabilities that make it easier for emergency responders to find you in a dangerous situation.

Lively Mobile Plus

The Lively Mobile Plus clips onto your belt or attaches to a lanyard to be worn as a necklace. It has an optional fall detection feature that calls operators who can help you. We featured it as one of our top picks for Best Medical Alert Necklaces.

Lively Wearable 2 

The Lively Wearable 2 looks like a smart wristwatch but connects to your existing smartphone via Bluetooth.

If you fall or need help from emergency responders, press the button, and it will connect through your phone to help you. Learn more about the Lively Wearable 2 in our Best Medical Alert Watches review.

Final word 

The Jitterbug Smart3 and Jitterbug Flip2 come with simple menus, bright backlit screens, and powerful speakers to make them easier to use for older adults. And while they both also come with games, you won’t have to deal with distracting apps and updates hounding you.

Cell phones don’t have to be complicated or distracting to keep you in touch with your loved ones. Jitterbug phones come in two flavors: simple and simpler—giving you the option of a touch-screen smartphone or a classic flip phone that can call for help, receive text messages, and take pictures.

Jitterbug FAQ

Yes. Just be sure to contact Lively customer service before you activate your new phone. They can transfer your existing phone number to your new cell phone.

The FCC requires all wireless phone manufacturers to make their products compatible with hearing aids.1 But phones like Jitterbug are made specifically for people with hearing loss in mind.

They can pick up the sound from your phone and transmit them into your hearing aid. You may get some background noise in the mix, but it will be easier to hear the person on the line.

No. Jitterbug doesn’t require a contract. Services work on a month-to-month basis, and you can cancel any time.

How we reviewed Jitterbug 

We’ve reviewed Jitterbug’s parent company Lively before, so we already knew the ins and outs of the company’s medical alert devices. To build on this knowledge of our Jitterbug review, we scoured Jitterbug reviews from users to get the inside scoop on these phones for seniors.

Learn more about how we conduct reviews like this one from our SafeWise methodology page.

Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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