iPhones are too much for her...
September 3, 2009 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a good, simple AT&T Cell Phone that syncs with a Mac for my mother?

A few years back, I got my mother an iMac, and she's been happy with it - she's gradually migrating her life off of paper / rolodex and into Mail, Address Book, etc.

Her current AT&T cell phone is a piece o' junk, and is due to be upgraded. She doesn't need an iPhone - it's too much for her, and she would not use half of the features, much less the internet on it. Paying for a data plan would be wasting money.

Is there a simple cell phone out there that has basic (and easy to set up) sync functionality with the Address Book on the Mac, that is also a good phone? It can be by USB or Bluetooth, although USB might be better if it also charges the phone (to keep it simple). I'm familiar with iSync, but know it can be a pain to configure sometimes depending on the model of the phone. She doesn't need a QWERTY keyboard, and doesn't text, but it would be nice if she could have numbers handy in case she needs to make an emergency call.
posted by GJSchaller to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here's Apple's list of everything that iSync supported under 10.4 and 10.5. I would assume the list for 10.6 is not so different.

Here's a somewhat dated list of 3rd party iSync plugins for other phones.

I would shoot for something on either of those pages.
posted by Remy at 7:43 PM on September 3, 2009

Recent basic phones aren't supported by iSync, but there are many many plugins available for hundreds of kinds of phones. Follow the link for


You'd need to set it up for her.

Also, I hope there's a Time Machine or other backup going on. Going paperless is no fun if you lose it all. iMac hard drives do fail!
posted by yesno at 8:00 PM on September 3, 2009

posted by yesno at 8:00 PM on September 3, 2009

Another alternative would be to have the phone sent to you to program.
posted by Palamedes at 8:40 PM on September 3, 2009

One thing to keep in mind if your mother is getting older is the display size on the screen.

While my father painstakingly transferred his Rolodex contacts to his simple Samsung flip phone a few years ago, he still dials numbers from memory because he can't read the screen without his reading glasses.

He'll even call me or friends to ask for a number that is already programmed into his phone!
posted by thisisnotbruce at 10:23 PM on September 3, 2009

It doesn't directly match the specifics of your question, but there's the Jitterbug, which can be updated by computer, if not specifically by iSync and Address Book.
posted by WCityMike at 10:24 AM on September 4, 2009

Response by poster: She's on a Time Machine (I took care of that as soon as she moved to Leopard), the screen thing is a good point - thank you.

I've been in the corporate world so long that I've had a Blackberry or iPhone provided for me, and I haven't had to do phone shopping in close to 6 years. I'm more looking for "what's a good phone?" than "what's Mac compatible?", although the compatibility is a requirement.

I may suggest a used iPhone w/o a data plan if such a thing is available...
posted by GJSchaller at 3:25 PM on September 4, 2009

one possible option would be to buy a used unlocked iphone, and see if Tmobile will let you subscribe without any data plan.
posted by vegetableagony at 3:02 PM on September 15, 2009

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