I’m permanently attached to my iPhone. Big surprise, most of us are after all. It is my phone, my camera, my notepad, my calendar, my radio, my music player, my weather report, my health tracker, my contact list, my source of entertainment and my means of communicating with anyone who is further than 30 feet away from me. I check it constantly, I post photos to Instagram several times a day, and I scroll through Tumblr or Pinterest when I’m bored. I only ever turn it off when I board a plane, and I turn it right back on again as soon as the plane has started taxiing upon arrival. I can’t imagine my life without it.
Which is why I decided to ditch it completely for a whole week.
That’s right: meet my old Samsung e730. I bought it in 2006 which makes it 8 years old, and it works just as well as on the day I bought it. It has a state of the art clamshell design and features an mp3 player, 92 MB memory, polyphonic ringtones, a 176 x 220 pixel display and a 1,3 mpx camera. What more could you possibly want? I’ve kept it around in my tech-mess drawer for all these years because I couldn’t stand the thought of throwing it away, and now it is time to put it to good use again.
So, without further ado: my week without my iPhone.
I always use my phone to check the weather report and listen to the radio in the morning. Today I had to do this on my laptop (who usually sits on my table untouched until late in the afternoon) but this really isn’t the biggest of inconveniences. I couldn’t listen to music on my way to work, since my “new” phone doesn’t take a standard headphone jack and since I deleted all the music off my old iPod years ago. Will have to dig out my mp3 collection (how incredibly 90’s) and revive the iPod for tomorrow morning. Also had to bring my point-and-shoot camera in case of anything shot-worthy. Throughout the day I notice how all my texts are less than Twitter length because it is a total bore to type using physical buttons. My recovering tendonitis hates me, and I suddenly worry that people might think I’m mad at them because of my short messages. I actually called The Boyfriend to let him know I was running late just because I couldn’t be bothered to type a text. When I walked home from work I suddenly noticed how noisy the world around me was, and again I cursed my lack of music. Surprisingly I don’t find myself missing social media, as they are just as available to me on my MacBook, and I didn’t bother to bring my phone into meetings as I knew there wouldn’t be anything interesting going on in it anyway. I’m sure I was much more focused that I usually am.
This morning I didn’t even remember to take my phone out of my bag until half an hour into the workday. I don’t miss my iPhone at all except for whenever I want to snap a photo or when I have to type a text, which is still a pain in my butt. In the evening I watch a movie without a single distracted moment for the first time in years, and I make a mental note to delete several apps from my iPhone once I get it back. Am also entertaining the idea of having a designated phone basket where I leave my phone as soon as I get home from work each day. I find myself dreaming of a super-simplified iPhone with just a few apps on it, only to remember that I was the one who installed all those apps in the first place and that I could just as easily delete them. Pinterest, eBay, Etsy, the Tamagotchi app – you’re going down.
I just realized I haven’t taken my vitamins at all this week because my phone doesn’t remind me to take them. Not good. I still don’t really miss my phone though, except for when I want to listen to music or snap a quick photo. Am also discovering that the world truly does not go to shits when I don’t reply to Facebook messages right away. When a friend needed to get in touch with me quickly she ended up just sending me a text instead. Who would have thunk it?
Instagrams that didn’t happen: a dang-it-I’m-sick selfie
Today I’m home with an awful cold, so I have to break one of my rules – I get out my iPad so that I can stay on top of work e-mails. I am careful not to open any other apps, but I did take the liberty to delete a whole bunch of them. It felt good. Am also discovering that I really really miss being able to Chromecast YouTube-videos to my TV. This is one of my favorite ways to relax, and having to do it from my laptop is so much more of a hassle compared to doing it from my phone, especially when I’m sick and would rather not leave the sofa.
Still sick, so I still need my iPad to stay on top of work emails. This is proving to be my biggest anti dumb-phone argument so far: I can’t check my work email on my laptop, so I depend on having some sort of 4G device in order to stay in the loop. In the evening I notice how I have only had three comments on my blog this week. Could this be blamed on my lack of promotion on Instagram?
Instagrams that didn’t happen: Kleenex mountain
I always wake up long before The Boyfriend on weekends, and usually I just turn on the radio app on my phone and start scrolling through social media to pass the time, but today this is not an option. I walk the dog and start typing up a blog post instead. Way more productive, although not quite as comfortable and lazy as I would like. I end up finishing next week’s blog posts before breakfast. After breakfast we take a stroll around town and I buy a little blue vase that I want to use as my designated post-work iPhone dumping ground. Later in the afternoon I find myself desperately wanting to scroll through my tumblr feed while The Boyfriend plays Playstation. Some websites just work better on a phone or tablet than on a laptop, and Tumblr is one of them. I start tidying up instead.
Another day where I did just fine without my smartphone. I checked e-mail and social media on my laptop, and spent a few hours turning an old dress into a skirt (a project that I had been putting off for months). I would have liked to show off the finished result using Snapchat or Instagram, but in the end it was probably better that I didn’t, seeing as I’d like to do a blog post about it. It wouldn’t be as much fun if you already saw it on Instagram two weeks ago.
So long, apps
After one week I am surprised to say that I didn’t miss my smartphone nearly as much as I thought I would. In fact I feel like this has been a healthy reality check for me. I’m not saying I’m throwing the iPhone away and going back to my flip phone, goodness no, but it has been an eye opener to see how pleasant it was to not have the allure of e-mails and social media constantly in the back of my mind. I wouldn’t want to be without the convenience of my smartphone – a phone, an iPod and a camera is just too much to carry around – but that doesn’t mean that the smartphone needs to be permanently attached to my hand at all hours of the day. I also have to admit that I missed the convenience of replying to texts via iMessage on my MacBook. Once Os X Yosemite comes around I will be able to reply to all texts (and calls) on my MacBook, not just the ones from people with iPhones, and I have been yearning for this function ever since they announced it. Can you tell I really really hate to reply to messages on my actual phone? In the end I ended up deleting 29 apps, including all my games and shopping apps, and I can probably still delete a few more. I’ll let you know how project phone vase goes, but so far I’ve got high hopes. I can’t wait to go back to a modern touch screen though. Physical buttons can take a motherfudging hike.