- Starting monthly cost (with paperless billing): $24.99
- Device type: Smartphone
- Device dimensions: 6.6 inches x 3.01 inches x 0.35 inches (length x width x height)
- Device weight: 6.7 Ounces (oz)
- Connection type: Cellular (4G), Wi-Fi, GPS
- Battery life: 37 talk hours
Jitterbug Review 2024: Cellphone for Seniors
- Lively offers a simplified flip phone and smartphone with optional connection to a 24/7 monitoring center.
- All phone plans offer unlimited talk and texting and range from $19.99–$49.99 after you agree to paperless billing.
- Phone plans vary based on which health and wellness package you choose.
- Jitterbug phones have large screens and keypads, simple navigation, an amplified speaker, and are compatible with hearing aids.
- Telehealth, brain games, ride services, and one-on-one care advocate services are available with a premium monthly package.
Lively Jitterbug phones are specifically designed for older adults or anyone wanting a more simplified phone. Both the Smart4 and Flip2 have list-based menus for easy navigation, an extra loud volume option, the ability to call contacts and send messages with your voice, and more.
Jitterbug phones also offer health and wellness features. The Lively monitoring center can dial 911 for you, and it can dispatch designated contacts and nonemergency services to your location, such as roadside assistance or a locksmith. Unlike most current phones on the market, you aren’t locked into a contract. You’ll pay for your Jitterbug phone month-by-month and can cancel your service at any time.
Why you can trust our expert review
Our Reviews Team spent more than 2,500 hours conducting in-depth research on medical alert systems. During our process, we:
- Engaged in ongoing independent research
- Consulted with licensed adult caregivers, doctors, and nurse practitioners who specialize in older adult care
- Mystery shopped 13 medical alert system brands
- Surveyed 1,000 medical alert system users
- Tested various medical alert systems
- Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties, such as Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot
Read more about our medical alert systems review methodology.
Why Jitterbug is one of our top cellphone picks for older adults
Lively Jitterbug phones are a great option for older adults who want to upgrade their current phone at a more affordable price. This is especially the case for the Smart4 device, which is only $149.99, while smartphone competitors start at $400. The Smart4 also has one of the largest touchscreens on the market at 6.75 inches.
Our Reviews Team also likes that Lively only offers unlimited talk and text plans. You won’t need to reload your minutes or pay extra for going over monthly minute limits.
Both the Smart4 and Flip2 have simple navigation menus and accessibility features, such as voice-to-text, text read-aloud, and an extra loud speaker setting. Depending on the phone you choose, you’ll be able to use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to make calls, send text messages, check the weather, and more with your voice.
Both phones come with the option to access emergency help through the Lively Urgent Response app. Urgent Response connects you to a 24/7 monitoring center straight from the Flip2 keypad or Smart4 touchscreen.
Pros and cons of Lively Jitterbug phones
Comparison of Jitterbug cellphones, as of January 2024
*Device is regularly $149.99 but is only $74.99 until Dec. 31, 2023.
Jitterbug Smart4 smartphone review
Jitterbug Flip2 review
How much do Jitterbug phones cost?
Comparison of Lively Jitterbug phones and prices, as of January 2024
|Lively Jitterbug Phone
|Starting unlimited talk and text plan
|Starting data plan monthly cost
|Cost of the phone
**The totals shown are costs for your monthly service only. They don’t include taxes and fees. Plans include a $5 monthly discount for participation in paperless billing.
The $149.99 price for a Jitterbug Smart4 is hundreds of dollars less than most current smartphones on the market. iPhones can run between $400 to more than $1,000, depending on the model and whether it’s new or used. Google Pixel phones cost between $400 and $900.
Standard ground shipping (three to seven business days) is free for both Jitterbug phones, while expedited shipping (one to three business days) is $20.
Unlimited talk and text plans
All plans offered for Jitterbug phones come with unlimited talk and text, Ask Lively, and Lively Rides. You’ll choose between three different tiers offering up to four additional features: Urgent Response, Link App subscription, Nurse On-Call, and Care Advocate. For more information on each feature, see the “Apps and accessories” section.
- Unlimited talk and text
- Ask Lively
- Lively Rides
- Unlimited talk and text
- Ask Lively
- Lively Rides
- Urgent Response
- Link App subscription
- Unlimited talk and text
- Ask Lively
- Lively Rides
- Urgent Response Link
- App subscription
- Nurse On-Call
- Care Advocate
Your phone uses cellular data to send texts and emails, browse online, check social media, and do other online activities when it isn’t connected to Wi-Fi. All Jitterbug smartphones (Smart3 and Smart4) require a data plan, while the Flip2 does not.
When choosing a data plan for your Smart4, you’re selecting a certain amount of data you think you’ll use each month. Lively data plans are organized by gigabytes (GB), which are measurements of digital information.
Keep in mind that the Smart4 can connect to Wi-Fi, so you may only need a higher data plan if you expect to use your phone when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, such as places outside your home without easy internet access.
Use this data calculator tool to help estimate how much data you’ll need based on your online activities. Keep in mind this is a third-party tool and may not be completely accurate, but it’s a good place to start.
You’ll choose one of the following data plans for your Smart4:
- 1GB ($5 per month)
- 5GB ($10 per month)
- Unlimited ($30 per month)
Ways to save on Jitterbug phones
Lively runs promotions on their current devices throughout the year, sometimes reducing the total cost of either phone by 25%–50%.
During a call with our Reviews Team, a customer service representative told us that if you call a team member to purchase a device, they are almost always able to offer special discounts on phones, or early access to deals that aren’t yet active through the website.
Your Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) may offer partial or complete coverage for your Jitterbug phone since it has features that work like a medical alert system. Check with your insurance provider to confirm whether coverage is available with your Medicare Advantage plan. Coverage varies by plan.
Another way to save money on your Jitterbug phone is to sign up for paperless billing. This will reduce your monthly bill by $5. Otherwise, the basic plan is $24.99 per month, instead of $19.99. If you use your mailed bill as a reminder to pay for your service, try setting an alert on your new phone to remind you to pay. You can also set up auto payment.
How to pay for Jitterbug smartphones
To pay for your device, activation fee, and first month of service (cellular plan and data plan if needed) you can purchase:
- Directly from Lively over the phone with a credit card or by check
- Through the Lively website with a debit card or credit card
To pay for your monthly service you can:
- Set up automatic payments and have the service cost deducted from your bank account or debit card each month (if you set up automatic payments, you can also sign up for paperless billing, which will save you $5 on your monthly bill).
- Download a payment form, print it, and mail it to the company if you want to make monthly payments on paper instead of making automatic payments with your credit card. Mail the filled-out form with payment to the following address:
ATTN: FINANCIAL SERVICES
P.O. BOX 4428
CARLSBAD, CA 92018
Where can you buy a Jitterbug phone?
You can purchase your Jitterbug phone online through the Lively website or over the phone. Jitterbug phones can also be purchased online from the following retailers:
- Best Buy (Best Buy owns Lively)
- Rite Aid
If you purchase your Jitterbug phone through one of the above retailers, you’ll activate your phone on the Lively website or by calling the company. Our Reviews Team likes that you can keep your current phone number instead of trying to memorize a new one, but you’ll need to call the Lively activation team at 866-397-9291 to confirm your number is eligible to transfer before purchasing a Jitterbug phone.
Lively customer service
When we called Lively, our Reviews Team member was connected with a friendly and empathetic customer service representative in less than one minute. The representative answered all our questions. Our call felt more like a conversation than a sales pitch.
We really liked the advice the representative gave us: If you’re unsure about switching from your current phone to a Jitterbug phone, use the 30-day return window as a trial run so you can see how it works and if it’s the right choice for you. You can speak with a customer service representative over the phone or by submitting an online contact form.
- 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, Monday through Sunday
Website: Online contact form
Jitterbug trial and warranty
You can return your Jitterbug Smart4 or Flip2 phone in “like new condition” within 30 days of receiving it, and Lively will refund the following:
- Equipment fee ($149.99 or $99.99)
- Activation fee ($35)
- Applicable taxes
You won’t have to pay to ship your equipment back to Lively, but you will be charged a $10 restocking fee. Lively will send a prepaid shipping label to use to return your phone and charging accessories.
The Smart4 and Flip2 come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty that covers the phone, battery, and accessories. Lively will repair or replace the product for free if it’s damaged due to manufacturing defects within the first year. This limited warranty does not cover wear and tear or accidental damage.
If you would like to protect your phone from the above damage, you can purchase a protection plan for $3.50 per month by calling a Lively Customer Care Advisor at 1-800-733-6632. While the paid plan guarantees Lively will repair or replace your device if your Jitterbug phone is damaged, you’ll still be charged the following fee if your phone needs to be completely replaced:
- $25 replacement fee for Flip2
- $50 replacement fee for Smart4 or Smart3
Lively apps and accessories for Jitterbug phones
You can view all health and safety features by clicking on Services in the main navigation bar of the Lively website.
Urgent Response feature
Urgent Response is the Lively medical alert feature available for Lively Jitterbug phones and medical alert devices. You’ll press the Urgent Response button on your Flip2 or Smar4 to contact a 24/7 monitoring center staff member during a medical emergency, non-medical emergency, or other situation requiring assistance. All staff are certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch.
During your call, monitoring center staff will access the information you provided in your Lively account to share with emergency responders and family members. This may include medical history, emergency response instructions, contacts, and other custom information.
Lively Link app
Lively Link is a smartphone or tablet app designed for caregivers to check in with the Jitterbug phone user. Caregivers can download the app from Apple Store or Google Play. They must receive an invitation from the primary user to connect the Lively Link app to the user’s personal Lively account.
With the user’s permission, caregivers can track their location and daily activity as long as the user has their Jitterbug phone with them. Caregivers can check the phone’s battery level and will receive notifications when the user contacts the monitoring center.
Nurse On-Call feature
Get 24/7 access to registered nurses and board-certified doctors with the Nurse On-Call feature on your Jitterbug phone. Health care professionals are available to answer your medical questions, write prescriptions, or refill common medications. You’ll connect with a medical professional by pressing the Urgent Response button on your Smart4 or Flip2 and telling the monitoring staff you’d like to use Nurse On-Call—no appointment, insurance, or copayment required.
This feature is similar to visiting an urgent care clinic—it’s not designed to replace your primary care physician. When we spoke with Norman about this feature in our Lively medical alert system review, he advised users to be cautious if the Nurse On-Call medical professional doesn’t have access to their current prescriptions and medical history. “Convenience is wonderful, but when too many people are prescribing medications for you, it can be dangerous,” said Norman.
Care Advocate feature
The Care Advocate feature pairs you with a “care advocate” to set personal goals focused on what matters most to you, whether that’s health, finances, estate planning, or other interests. Your care advocate will develop a personal care plan with you and connect you with community resources to help achieve your goals. All care advocates are licensed social workers with a master’s degree.
Lively Rides service
Lively Rides is a ride service offered through Lively and Lyft for safe, convenient rides scheduled straight from your phone. No need to use an app—simply press “0” and tell a Lively Personal Operator where you’d like to go. The operator will give you an estimated cost and arrival time for your Lyft, and you’ll receive a notification on your phone when your driver arrives. All drivers have passed a background check and are insured.
Lively ride services are automatically added to your monthly bill, so you don’t have to worry about paying cash or getting an instant charge to your credit card. Use this service for trips to the grocery store, when meeting up with friends, going to the doctor’s office, or anytime you’d like someone else to do the driving.
Lively has partnered with Posit Science, a company founded by two neurologists in 2002, to include free games that help improve focus, attention, and memory. Brain Games are free and included with both the Jitterbug Smart4 and Flip2, so you don’t need to download them.
Jitterbug phone accessories
Lively offers phone accessories for a one-time fee. You can purchase extra accessories while buying your new device, or you can find a link on the menu under “Phones” on the Lively website.
Optional Jitterbug phone accessories you can choose are:
- Extra wall charger ($19.99)
- Car charger ($24.99)
- Glass screen protector ($14.99)
- Bluetooth headset ($29.99)
- Black or white smartphone grip ($7.99)
- Phone case ($19.99–$24.99)
- Lockbox ($19.99)
Jitterbug cell phones compared to the iPhone
|Cost of the phone
|Starts at $799
|Screen size (in inches)
|Starts at 128
|Battery life (talk hours)
Lively Jitterbug phone customer reviews
Overall, Lively Jitterbug phones have mixed reviews across multiple sites. Lively has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) score of 1.16 out of 5 stars from 178 customer reviews. It has an A+ rating and is accredited by the BBB, indicating that the brand resolves customer complaints and responds to negative reviews.
There were only a few positive reviews at the time of writing. Positive reviewers praised the customer service department. A majority of BBB reviews were negative. Many reviewers mentioned poor customer service and a blackout in their phone service in late December 2022.
Lively has 1.5 out of 5 stars and a “bad” rating on Trustpilot based on 214 reviews. More than half of the reviews were one-star out of five, and Lively hasn’t responded to any as of this writing. Many positive reviews mention how easy the phones are to set up and learn how to use and overall peace of mind the Lively Urgent Response service gives them. Negative reviews touch on poor customer service and high monthly costs.
The Jitterbug Flip2 has 4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon based on more than 2,700 reviews. Overall, it gets 3.4 stars for its ease of use and 4.0 stars for battery life. Reviews are mixed, claiming it’s either easy to use or that it’s difficult to set up and operate. The Jitterbug Smart4 has only been out for a few weeks as of this writing, so no reviews are currently posted on Amazon.
Lively Jitterbug phones are simple devices that have all the features of their flip phone and smartphone competitors—plus the ability to connect to a 24/7 monitoring center at any time of day for emergency or non-emergency assistance. Keep in mind that Jitterbug Smart4 and Flip2 do not support fall detection, so if this is a feature you need, consult our list of best medical alert systems.
Frequently asked questions
Unlimited talk and text plans required for each device range from $19.99–$49.99 per month. The Smart4 also required a data plan ranging from $5–$30 per month. So the monthly cost for the Smart4 starts at $24.99, and the starting cost for the Flip2 starts at $19.99.
Yes, the Smart4 and Flip2 offer accessibility features designed for older adults, such as a large screen, backlit keypad, voice commands, text enlargement, and hearing aid compatibility at an affordable price. Lively Jitterbug phone uses the Verizon network, which offers strong cellular coverage in the majority of the United States.
There are some downsides to Jitterbug phones. Our Reviews Team doesn’t like that Lively only offers individual plans, and there’s no family discount if you want to have a plan with more than one device. We also don’t like that Lively adds $5 to your monthly bill if you don’t sign up for paperless billing.
No, the Jitterbug Smart4 and Flip2 will not help prevent falls, but even medical alert systems with fall detection do not prevent falls. Lively Jitterbug phones also do not support fall detection since they are designed to be placed in your pocket or purse and not around the neck. That said, you can use your voice to contact the monitoring center from your Smart4 or Flip2 phone. If you’ve fallen and can’t reach your phone, you can say, “Hey Google, call Urgent Response” or “Alexa, call Urgent Response,” prompting your phone to contact the monitoring center.
Have questions about this review? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Federal Communications Commission. Hearing Aid Compatibility for Wireline and Wireless Telephones. Jan. 28, 2021. Found on the internet at https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/hearing-aid-compatibility-wireline-and-wireless-telephones.