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Updated by Riley J. Dennis on November 30th, 2016.

One of your parents or grandparents has just gotten a new Android phone — and it’s just so confusing. The best way you can help them is to download an extremely simple launcher to their device. These three launchers are simple and easy to use, with big pictures and text so that your older relatives don’t even have to put on their glasses.

We’ve taken a look at a bunch of great launchers Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare The Best! Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare The Best! Given the huge number of launchers available, there's something for everyone. Here are the best app launchers for particular needs, depending on what kind of user you are. Read More in the past — even some gesture-based launchers 4 Gesture-Based Launchers For Android Compared 4 Gesture-Based Launchers For Android Compared If you've ever wanted a quicker way to access your most frequently used apps, read on. Read More — but these launchers take us in a new direction. Instead of trying to be innovative and customizable, they strive to take the complexities out of Android.

And they succeed.

Wiser

First up on this list is the beautifully colorful and straightforward Wiser. We’ve reviewed Wiser Android Too Complicated? This Launcher Will Simplify Your Life Android Too Complicated? This Launcher Will Simplify Your Life You may think Android isn't for everyone. You sometimes hear others say "it's too complicated", or "It might be good for techies, but not for me". We have good news. Read More in the past and found it to be a fantastic way to simplify your Android experience, but let’s take a brief look at it in comparison to these other two launchers as well.

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Wiser is so easy to setup that your older relative could easily get it installed with the step-by-step instructions if you just point them to the Play Store. You start at the home page with links to your Contacts, Dialer, Messaging, Camera, Gallery, and Applications.

Wiser-1

 

Tapping the arrow to the right will take you to your Favorite People where you can add contacts. Going to the right again will show you two pages where you can add favorite apps.

However, going left brings you to the Notice Board, which takes all your notifications and puts them in an easier to read Wiser-style configuration. As the only launcher with notifications integrated like that, this is a standout feature for Wiser.

Wiser-3

You can still access all your apps on the device, so the launcher doesn’t get rid of any functionality. The Dialer and the Contacts apps are both built-in to the launcher, but other additions like the Messaging app, Camera, and Gallery will take you to the Android device’s default — unlike some of the others on this list which have their own apps for those.

But for those times when you are redirected to outside apps, you can always customize Android’s text size and keyboard Larger Icons and Keyboards for a Phone Mom Would Love: Android Can Make the Elderly Tech Savvy Larger Icons and Keyboards for a Phone Mom Would Love: Android Can Make the Elderly Tech Savvy The elderly often feel intimidated by new technology. Smartphones in particular did not catch on among the retired compared to the Facebook generation. And for good reason: Tiny screens and keyboards seem designed for addicting... Read More to make it easier to use.

Download: Wiser (Free)

Necta

Created by XDA forum member Williams.Joe, Necta Launcher is a comprehensive offering that has a lot of built-in simple-style apps. Aesthetically, it’s certainly not as nice as Wiser, but you can at least switch between a blue, green, or red theme in the settings menu.

The default page shows the date and day of the week at the top, three favorite contacts below that, and large icons with text for basic functions like calling and messaging. Strangely, tapping on Call will take you to the built-in contacts apps, and it requires another tap to get to the phone dial, which could be a bit confusing for those not familiar with smartphones and phone/contact app integration.

Necta-2

 

However, Necta has the best selection of built-in apps out of these three launchers. While Wiser will redirect you back to your stock SMS app, Necta has it’s own simplified messaging app that follows its theme.

There’s also a built-in camera interface, gallery, flashlight, and SOS app. These apps all keep a back arrow at the bottom for easy navigation as well.

Necta-4

Just like in Wiser, you have an app drawer with all your installed apps available, but Necta goes a step further and includes settings in the app for for WiFi and other customizations. True, this could be confusing for some, but it also saves you from having to go into the System Settings, which are probably more confusing for the non-tech savvy.

Unfortunately, Necta is only free as a trial, and after a few days, you’ll have to buy a $6.99 in-app purchase to access the full version.

Download: Necta (Free trial)

Big Launcher

Don’t let the hefty price tag ($10) scare you away — Big Launcher is actually a viable option here. It won’t win any design awards, but it’s big, bold, and has high contrast, so it shouldn’t be a problem even for those with poorer eyesight. Right on the home page, you can see the alarm and cell signal, with large colorful buttons below and no text you’d need to squint for.

Big Launcher also has an SOS feature built-in, which can be used to either call or text pre-set numbers in case of an emergency. For senior citizens, this is a particularly helpful feature to alert their loved ones if they’re unable to get up or have a serious problem.

Big-Launcher-1

There is no built-in camera or gallery app, so you’ll be redirected to the defaults for that, and the phone app — like on Necta — opens to the contacts page and requires another tap to get to the dialer. You can still access all your regular apps, but this time it’s in a listview.

While its price is high, you can try out the free demo, which doesn’t have ads or a time limit, but it is limited in a few features like how many past calls and text message threads will be shown.

Download: BIG Launcher (Free demo | $10)

Grand Launcher

Grand Launcher looks like it was designed in the 90s, but that might be exactly what your parent or grandparent is looking for. It has that familiar old Windows XP kind of style with contrasting colors and big gray buttons.

I found this to be one of the easiest to navigate. There’s only ever a few buttons on screen at any one time, and even the camera interface is hugely simplified. It gives you all the stuff you need for the actions you’re doing at the moment, and nothing else.

Unfortunately, it’s only free for a week, after which you’ll need to upgrade to the $1.99 paid version, but that’s not a lot for such a quality launcher.

Download: Grand Launcher (Free | $1.99)

Phonotto

While high-contrast, simplified launchers are generally intended to clash with modern design aesthetics, Phonotto does a good job blending the two. As a result, this launcher is probably the nicest-looking on this list, with colorful icons and modern fonts.

Upon setup, Phonotto will run you through everything you want to activate, and it could be a nice little refresher to go through it with the person you’re setting it up for. Once you’re all set, though, it’s beyond simple. People of any age should be able to navigate the large and clearly-labelled buttons with ease.

The free version is only good for 30 days, after which you’ll have to pay a $0.99/month subscription fee to continue. So it’s a much cheaper upfront cost but could end up costing you more than the other launchers in the long run.

Download: Phonotto (Free trial)

Which Is The Best?

My personal favorite, and the one I would recommend for my old folks, is Grand Launcher. It’s dated aesthetic isn’t quite my style, but I think it would work well for its target audience. Plus, it has the most built-in apps and features, which reduces confusion for the user. And it’s only $1.99 for the full version!

Not sure what device to get your older family members? Try out these 3 amazing tablets for senior citizens The 3 Best Tablets For Senior Citizens The 3 Best Tablets For Senior Citizens Senior citizens often find themselves looking for products that are powerful yet easy to use, not only out of a desire to simplify, but also because older buyers can often afford exactly what they want.... Read More , or these 5 great simplified cell phones The 5 Best Cell Phones For Senior Citizens The 5 Best Cell Phones For Senior Citizens Us young punks love our fancy mobile phones. We text, we visit websites, and we view video – all on a device that uses small text and is fragile if dropped. The HTC SuperMan FullThrottle... Read More .

What is your favorite simple launcher for the older generation? Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: BIG Launcher

  1. Mario
    October 25, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Grand Launcher is the best for grandparents!

  2. Mark Deering
    October 18, 2016 at 2:01 am

    This is a great review, but Necta is not free. They give you a trial period and then charge you to continue. I would not have minded paying for this app, since I thought it worked well for my father. The problem I have is presentation in the app store made it appear free. I feel this was a Bait and Switch for senior citizens. This is abhorrent. I would not buy this app not for any price. I probably will pay $10 for Big Launcher. Money was not an issue. Honesty is.

    MD

  3. Gerald
    April 28, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Necta Launcher dangerous!!!!! Most people are setting Necta launcher up for there senior loved one. You give them their phone, days after you are not with them, it asks for money and worst has the rights to keep asking for money, who knows maybe every month or every day. It preys on the senior it claims to help. Calling this a trial is a cop out. As xda developers, you could easily put two versions of the app in the store, one a clearly labeled trial and one the paid version. In my opinion, this is intentional, deliberate and dangerous!!!!!! You should change your suggestion as you where the reason I choose it!!!

  4. Mr Gee
    April 28, 2016 at 8:29 am

    HELP! I have Necta Launcher with 8 contact and 2 WhatsApps icons each says "application is not installed on you phone" HOW DO I REMOVE THE EXTRA ICONS?

  5. Shay
    March 22, 2016 at 6:37 am

    I tried several and am really liking Phonotto for a person who's been limited all their life. This has lots of checkboxes for disabling features so I can simplify the interface more. This seems the most lacking feature of the several I've tried, being able to customize it for the particular user. I'll probably try a few more, but this one seems like it'll be the winner for this person I'm setting it up for.

  6. klamb
    August 31, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Necta is no longer free - they changed to a trial version in Sept 2014, and now charge £4+ for the app. This isn't exactly obvious from the description in the Play Store ... as it only indicates in-app purchases.

    • Mihir Patkar
      August 31, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks for the update, klamb!

  7. msh
    May 2, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    big app is perfect for old people

  8. pat
    April 30, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Just switched my 80 years old dad from flip to smart with Big Launcher. He loves it. He sent his first text to gKids.

    This app is awesome.

  9. Rob
    December 19, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Probably also have a look at the GoLivePhone: http://www.gociety.eu
    Beside a very easy and customized UI, also the menu structures are very consistent and easy and they offer also care applications as automatic fall detection and activity measurement etc
    Really good looking and well functioning product for elderly from all ages.

  10. Looca
    August 7, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    In my opinion, Wise is a step lower than others applications.
    In your place I would have used for other applications such as Phonotto

  11. Jayson
    July 7, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Has anyone tried if these launchers work with dual sim phones? My dad uses a dual sim non android phone so i cant test it out before buying.

    My other option is the nokia lumia 630 dual sim. I like how wp presents dual sim with a different colored sim and msg tile for each number and you can increase the tiles and font to a large size.

  12. SK Loh
    July 7, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    I don't think Necta Launcher is free. Once installed and using, I keep getting nagging reminders saying that the version I use is expiring and ask me to buy the product.

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