Downgrading My Phone To Upgrade My Life: Why I Gave Up My Smartphone

I did the unthinkable.

I gave up my smartphone for a dumb one.

I’m not a 70 year old man frustrated with newfangled technology. I’m a 30-something-ish woman who wants to get back to basics. When I confronted myself today and tried to figure out what the biggest, most unproductive time-suck in my life is right now, I could see it as I robotically scrolled through old messages using my phone’s touchscreen.

It was the micro-checking of my smartphone every time it chimed. It chimed if I received a text message, an update, an email on any of my four email accounts (one for personal use,one for the blog, one for coupons and one to give to people I don’t actually like and never want to hear from), my Facebook account, my blog Facebook page, my blog Twitter account, my blog’s WordPress page or when I received an actual, but increasingly rare and old-fashioned, phone call.

I was also tired of the nervous twitch that I had developed to check to see if any of those notifications might be coming in throughout the day. It chimes. When I turn it down, it vibrates. When I de-activate that, the green light blinks. Seriously, there is no escape from the audio-visual knowledge that something is there for you to open. Even if you turned off the data plan, all it would take is a simple, “I wonder what’s playing tonight?” to compel a quick phone call to turn the service back on. “I’ll turn it off next month”. Whatever. Junkie.

Some might say that it all boils down to a lack of discipline, priorities or internal strength. This may, in fact, be true. But, it has become the new normal. I beseech you to look around the next time you’re in the mall at all the people walking past you. Most everyone, including some kids, are probably clutching their cell phones like life support. Women carrying purses the size of a truck tire, have their cell phone in one hand. Teenagers sitting across from one another are communicating via text and they are separated by three small floor tiles. Men are walking, yapping and texting away, using peripheral vision to avoid collisions.

I’m finished.

I have downgraded my spiffy smartphone for a phone that looks a whole lot like the one I carried 10 years ago. I can make and receive calls. I can take quality photos and video. I removed my 30 dollar a month data plan and opted to be able to send the photos via text. I’m saving money. I questioned my resolve for a short second when I was informed by the Β technician that I could always re-activate my smartphone but I will have lost the unlimited data plan I had been grandfathered into. For the same price I was paying, I would only be able to use 2 GB per month. This is the magic number, it appears, because most people use more than 2 GB per month. I’m certain I do.

I look at giving up my unlimited data plan as proof of a supreme commitment. If you consider that, in this age of the internet, commitment in many new modern relationships is signaled by someone making their e-Harmony profile unsearchable, then this step is surely a monumental one. It’s like I’m practically engaged to this fossil of a phone. Unlike the guy who just pushes a button so people can find his dating profile in the morning, I would actually have to pay out the nose to exploit the internet shamelessly in the future should I relapse.

As I thought about whether I could commit to an app-challenged phone, my smart phone kept chiming every minute or two on the other side of the counter where the Verizon Technician was looking at it. It was like crack. I wanted to reach across the counter and rip it from her. Who was trying to reach me? What if it was important? What IS my friend Gretchen having for dinner? What about Lisa?

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, when she went to the back, I picked it up, unlocked it and saw that Brothers All-Natural Crisps were now discounted by 2 dollars per dozen and that Zulilly was having an awesome Crocs sale. This is what I’m talking about. This validated my decision to reclaim my time to focus on more important things.

I told her to go ahead. Make my phone dumb again.

In addition to saving time that was being expended in these micro-transactions throughout the day (that sometimes translated into more lengthy ones), as well as the money we’d save each month without the data plan, I think I’m probably most relieved to not have to face the panic of the “OMG- WHERE IS MY PHONE!!!!!” moment that happens every once in awhile.

I can’t count the times that I’ve made it to my mini-van with two toddlers in tow, a cart full of groceries in 110 degree heat, only to find on one of my nervous checks that my phone is not in my bag, not in the van, not in the cart, not under the seat, not in my son’s pants, and not on the ground. I race like a banshee into the store, mowing over kids and old people re-tracing my steps, breathing heavily, near tears thinking, “MY ENTIRE LIFE IS ON THAT PHONE”.

That phone posesses every account, every photo, and critical identifying information. Who cares if it’s passworded? It’s in there and someone is going to find it, exploit it, steal my identity, ruin my family, bankrupt us and my kids futures’ will be over. I start to feel sick. I beg strangers to let me use their phone to call my own in hopes that I’ll hear that familiar ring, which I don’t. I hear my own voice on the voicemail telling me that I’ll call me back whenever I find my forsaken phone!

Every time it happens, and I find it at the last moment sitting on a shelf of kid’s shoes where I set it when I tried to unsuccessfully squeeze my kid’s fat foot into a sandle, I collapse on the nearest chair, sweaty and panting, and I swear I am getting a dumb phone. Tomorrow. I’ll do it tomorrow. And, of course, I don’t. Until today.

There have been a few other unexpected by-products of this decision. About a year ago, I received a request to “sync” my phone with my email contacts. I didn’t really know what that meant. I selected “Yes”. This imported every single email and phone number amassed in an email account I’d had for 10 years. It happened again shortly thereafter for another email account. I accidentally said “Yes” again and it imported every email and phone number for another one.

Before this, I had about 50 easy to find phone numbers that I had inputted into my phone. These are the people I really care about. These are the people I want to actually talk to on a daily basis. I could no longer find their phone numbers. When I wanted to call my dad, I had to go to “Search” and type in “DAD” because my contacts had become so convoluted and unnavigable. (Dont be offended you’re not on that list. I doubt I’m on yours, either.)

There were literally over 2,000 contacts in my phone address book and I didn’t know half of them. Back in 1998, I made the mistake of “Replying All” to one of those mass chain emails with a 3 page address list promising to grace me with a million dollars if I would just forward that goofy chain letter to 20 more of my friends. I “Replied All” with a “Don’t ever send me this junk again” message. I thought I was the cool, stern, rational kid who didn’t fall for such lame schemes and I wanted them all to know it. Every one of those idiots has been in my address book for the last year. And, now, look who’s the idiot. I should have just forwarded the damn email to twenty of my friends.

When the Verizon technician transferred my contacts today, I saw something beautiful. My original contacts! The ones I cared enough about to actually input myself, number by number. There they were. The list was so short. It was so sweet. Score for the dumb one.

I’d post a picture of my new dumb phone. But, I can’t. My new phone just doesn’t have the chops. If any of my Facebook friends are wondering why they haven’t heard about my new dinosaur phone it’s because I had to drive all the way home first, feed my family, play with my kids, throw in a load of laundry and write this before I even thought about getting on Facebook to update my status.

I already feel free. It feels better than finding out that my ex-boyfriend “is tired of eating Doritos every night and he just wants to find a decent woman, already” as soon as he posts it. Well, maybe the shadenfreude of knowing that he by-passed a good one is slightly better than my newfound cellular freedom- but it’s a pretty close tie.

Oh,and by the way, Facebook just notified me that the ever-invasive smartphone contacts list they just started poaching to send out friend suggestions to my unsuspecting associates, has just been removed. It’s because I don’t have a smartphone anymore. And maybe I won’t have to look like Robocop once a year wearing that wrist brace because my carpal tunnel is acting up again from typing on that microscopic keyboard.

As digital convenience starts to make my life more complicated and difficult, (Hello, 2 GB of unprinted and un-culled digital photos spread over four computers, 3 external hard drives, an online back-up service, Facebook, and Shutterfly) I have to question whether or not all this easiness and immediacy really is better. I’m looking forward to moving backward a little to move forward. I’m feeling good. I think this downgrade might be the best upgrade I’ve had in a long time.

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95 Responses to Downgrading My Phone To Upgrade My Life: Why I Gave Up My Smartphone

  1. You know, I was thinking about this the other day. How much time I spend using my smartphone and I am seriously considering upgrading my life also and getting a dumbphone. And now after my smartphone is pretty much falling apart.. I think I’ll do it.

    Great post!


  2. I’m very much a 70-year-old man when it comes to cell phones although I’m a 30ish woman. I don’t use one. It’s somewhere–I think in the diaper bag–for emergencies purposes only. I remember distinctly this one time leaving the gym and seeing people walking glued to their tiny screens and it was very unsettling, like Night of the Living Dead.

    Good on you for downgrading.

    • I’ve noticed that, too- I think it hit me when I realized that there were times my daughter asked me a question and I said, “let me check this real quickly”. I didn’t like that at all. Major reason to switch up. Tonight was the first night without it- and I’ve gotten a lot done. πŸ™‚

  3. Oh my gosh, your posts just keep getting better and better.

    Amen for your liberation!

    I have always had a dumb phone. And my work Blackberry has no apps. Should I get tempted to “upgrade”….I will just trot out this wonderful piece.

    Thanks. πŸ™‚

    • Gretchen- I don’t know how you even find the time to read my posts. I’m so glad you liked it! Did you catch your cameo? πŸ™‚ When I was working, I might have checked FB once a week on the computer. I didn’t even have a smartphone because those couple of hours with the kids were so precious that it never ocurred to me to do anything but be with them. But this last year and a half with one, I noticed that I and a lot of people I know and see around are always nose deep in one. It’s too magnetic. We can’t help it. πŸ™‚ Thanks for taking the time to read it!!!!

  4. I just got a smartphone. Like, seriously, I’ve had it for three days. People are already talking to me about their phone addiction issues, repetitive stress issues related to texting, how expensive data gets…. But… I mean…. All my friends have one…. (Great post!)

    • Desi- I think if you set some rules for yourself early on knowing the hazards, you might be okay. I talk a lot about the time-suck, but really a HUGE factor was my constant phobia of ever losing it. So much sensitive information was trapped in it- Even with a password, it made me nervous having that little thing so full of access to our accounts.

  5. I felt the exact same way when I downgraded from having a smartphone (Sidekick to G1 to Blackberry) to my current, “dumb” phone a couple months ago. At first I was going through withdrawals and opted to have certain notifications sent to my phone, but that “need” eventually went away and I’m back to using my phone just to keep in contact with the handful of people that really matter the most.

    I agree that this downgrade has been one of the best upgrades πŸ™‚

  6. You are so brave!! My husband hates my smart phone!! He would love for me to get a dumb phone lol!! Good luck!! Maybe I’ll find the strength one day..,,,,

  7. Welcome to the club. Dumb phones are the smart choice for many of us πŸ™‚

    PS… I had chicken marinera over rice for dinner πŸ˜‰

  8. Favorite part, “I told her to go ahead. Make my phone dumb again.” LOL

    I actually think you are totally bonkers for “going dumb” again, but I do relate to that freeing feeling! We’ve been traveling across the country by RV for the past 5 months and living minimalistically has its rewards. Everything from my wardrobe, to cooking in small spaces, to no TV, etc.

    Its like knowing the difference between your “wants” and your “needs”. When you know, you are free….

    Nice post!

    • That’s hilarious that you liked that part, too- Another friend of mine quoted it on FB- I didn’t realize it was funny. hahaha~ Thanks so much for your thoughts- and I would agree that I’m nuts for downgrading because I know what I’m giving up- and I spent a lot of money on my android 2 not too long ago- only to set it aside. But, tonight, I made rain sticks out of coffee beens and paper towel holders with my kids, marched in a 3 person parade begging the skies to rain, and I didn’t look at my phone one time. I didn’t even take it out of the bag. That validates my decision all over again.

      Also- checked out your site- beautiful jewelry- I liked the green and yellow inspiration from the plants. Really pretty piece you made.

  9. Ironically .I own two phones ,a smart one to do everything except the call function (It replaced my PDA) and a dumb one for calls ,messages and stuff .It takes time to get used to smartphone and accept as a tool not as a memoir of your life (security nazis and their rumors ).Thanks Patricia ,now I have another post idea !! .

    • If you’re not ready, you’ll relapse- πŸ™‚ I’ve been contemplating it for months now- The security issue of losing it and all the data was my worst fear. The few times I thought I’d lost it, I was nauseous. Thanks for writing in! πŸ™‚

  10. Well, I haven’t downgraded…I have always had a ‘dumb’ phone. This post encourages me to stay strong in the face of all of my ‘techy’ friends who mock me! πŸ™‚

    • Bridget- Thanks for checking in! Giving it up is something I didn’t think I could do- But, there was also a time I thought I’d never get out of the Army. And a time I thought I’d never leave the professional work force. And a time I thought I might regain my pre-preganancy hips. Every day I learn more about the things I’m willing to do- I gave it up when I was ready just like I chose to quit those other things, too- I don’t think anyone can do it if they aren’t ready. I’m on day 2- and I love it. I just wish I could take better pics with this dumb phone- and then I have to text them to someone with a smartphone since I got rid of my data plan in order to save them on a PC- πŸ™‚

  11. You are a brave, brave woman. I’ve thought of doing this as well, but unfortunately tied to it for work email purposes (that’s my excuse at least). It is, however, the smartest thing to do for our family….you’re making me reconsider.

    • Jessica- it would be hard if I were working, too. The crazy thing is that when I was working, I didnt have time to jerk around with a smartphone or facebook or blogging. I was too busy trying to get to the daycare and get my family fed and bathed before bed when we’d do it again. I’m on day 2 and I miss having a great camera and ability to upload to sites- but that’s about it. I’m already a happier person and my kids are, too.

  12. I disabled the apps that link me to all the Social Sites after I came out of a phone|twitter|facebook|blog|email checking freakish blackout; when I was supposed to be singing a lullaby to my little1! I’m holding baby in one arm & phone in the other, I kept telling her one more minute, until finally she got tired of waiting one more minute and she fell asleep.

    I laugh about how ridiculous it is…I’ve read that this happens a lot. I guess, like everything else in my life I had to learn the hard way…bahahahaha!

    I enjoyed visiting your blog…I followed a link to your site after seeing a comment you posted over at Scary Mommy — your blog name caught my attention…cool name by the way πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much! I like your blog name, too! Scary Mommy is a good hotspot to connect to other mom bloggers- I think the final straw for me was the thought that this was my kids’ future. They’d see me on it all the time and think that it was ok to live like that. I want more for my kids- I loved it, though- the constant connection, giving of feedback and receiving it. You have to know yourself- and I know I’d just re-enable that app at some point. Best for me to just go cold turkey. πŸ™‚ Thanks for writing it-

      • you’re welcome…and thank you! Isn’t it truly amazing what we can learn when we see our not so good behaviors played out in our children…Oh girl you are spot on…I remember the 1st time I noticed someone typing away on their phone while their kids sat quietly eating. I don’t know this persons story, I have no idea what was going on she may very well been handling something very important. But, for me since that day my phone is not touched during mealtime ! And, I no longer use my phone for anything other than talking. I am highly motivated to refrain from over using my phone by two really awesome little girls that call me Mom — they won’t always be so little or so eager to spend time with me! Not to mention, It helps that my phone is much smarter that I am technical; I have no idea how to operate those settings…I had help! To re-do it would require me calling AT&T again; I would rather chew glass (not really). πŸ™‚

  13. I LOVE you! (Yes, I’m one of your friends from college so I can say that). I am proud to admit that I too have a dumb phone and have NEVER had a smart phone. My mac geek husband insists I upgrade and I was almost ready to do that. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for confirming my beliefs about social networking and smart phones…I’M NOT ALONE IN THIS WORLD! Love your blog my friend!

    • Brigette-
      I had no idea you read the blog! Thanks so much! I do like social networking- but I like doing it only when the kids are asleep or don’t need me for something. WIth the smartphone, it’s too accessible. There are ways to have a smartphone and limit use- but it’s a lot harder! I like that when I’m out and about, I don’t have any access. πŸ™‚ Glad it helped you with your decision to stay smart by having a dumb phone. hahaha!

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  17. Just read this post after reading the two-month post…post (how many times can I use post in one sentence).

    This is classic. It’s like trying to justify snail-mail because it’s nice to find a letter in your mailbox, plus you get to show off that your handwriting is still better than a doctor’s. Somewhere, your smart phone is still telling itself, “She’ll be back.”

    • Nami- no joke- I could go back one day- especially if or when I return to work! It was sooooo convenient. I have claimed a lot more time during the day- but I also play a lot of catch-up at night after the kids go to bed. That’s email, blog and other computer time- so there is a give and take- I’m just happy with the new arrangement that there aren’t any virtual distractions during the day! I’m keeping the droid in case I go back one day, for sure, though! That thing was expensive! πŸ™‚

  18. A very brave decision. I am glad I did not do the “synch”ing thing then. πŸ˜‰ I don’t have a data plan yet and I was seriously considering upgrading my postpaid plan to a data plan but now, I don’t want to anymore. Thank you for sharing!

    • Also- be careful of the Facebook App sync- It will upload all your contacts to Facebook! And it’s hard to get them off! Good luck to you! May you not become a phone addict. haha!

  19. So I’m reading this here in Jan 2012 and I have to say that this is truly a great idea. I went from an iphone to a droid to a non smart phone. I am happy to say that this week I payed off and cancelled my service and am now suing a prepaid service which I pay max 29 dollars a month to use. I have a solid mobile phone, a week of battery life, loud call volume and no fussy un necessary features. I love technology and will continue to embrace and get involved with it. However I feel that in my own life I need to decide what is best for me, and I can say that it is truly liberating to carry a budget, tough mobile phone that can survive anything and costs next to nothing!

    • Great, Curtis!!!! Thanks for reading the entry, too- I’m so much happier without my smartphone. My husband briefly lost his and was in a sheer panic for days until it was located-so much is at stake monetarily and identity-wise with those little computer-phones. I think the dumb phone masses are growing!

  20. I am literally shaking, but I am contemplating dumbing down. I play an MMORPG (online game with lots of ‘friends’), I use it to read, I use it for recipes, Facebook… I never get on the computer at home anymore, because I have no time to do so. However, I am NEVER without my phone in my hand, and I have noticed that my ability to go without looking at the phone is minimal. I am realizing that it might be an actual addiction, because of how fearful I am.

    • Lynn- I think it’s likely that many people are addicted to their smartphones, ipads, computers. Seriously- wherever you look on a bus, in a mall, at a coffee shop, people are glued to their phones and computers and devices. I let it go to reclaim the little time I had. I still spend a lot of time on the computer at night, but my days are more free. πŸ™‚ I say, go “dumb” πŸ™‚ Thanks for the comment!

  21. I don’t have a smart phone. I don’t want a smart phone. I don’t even know what Angry Birds is (it’s a game, right?). I think iPhones are ultra cool. But I have absolutely no need for one, and they seem to be just as time-intensive as having another child.

    Besides, I can check my email on my dumb phone, and I find it hard enough to avoid doing that every half an hour when I’m away from my computer .(Do I have any comment notifications from WordPress? Any new twitter followers? Does ANYBODY love me?) I don’t need any more temptation, thank you very much.

    Congrats on the step backward to go forward. Sounds like a win/win/win to me!

    • Yes, Jo- stay away! They can be so addictive- just look around! They are leading us all by a leash! I’m glad I got rid of mine- although, I spend more time in the evenings catching up! πŸ™‚

  22. Oh my gosh, this is hilarious, inspiring, and quite REMARKABLE! I LOVE THIS! Hooray for the “dumb phone” and for getting your life back!!!

    So happy you found me tonight so I could find you!!!

    • I’m just thrilled you stopped by, Hands Free Mama- Your message is great. I still work to stay disconnected- but I’m glad I’m more aware. I love your blog and am so glad I found YOU!

  23. I had a smartphone for just around a year and it fell into my son’s bath and it’s gone, and now back to my old dump phone. In fact it did save me a lot of time on the phone. Have been thinking to get a new smartphone again, but after reading your post I think I will just stick to my dump phone until it die.

    • I don’t how I missed this awesome comment! I’m wondering if you stuck with your dumb phone- but I like the typo for “dump phone’ haha! Thanks so much for reading the post!

  24. This post rocks! How liberating! Coming from someone who owned a flip phone briefly, and then went back to… no phone. I get it. I’m far too obsessed when it comes to f/b, my blog, pinterest. I would never trust myself with a smart phone. It’s a crazy, addicted world we live in now. A world so obsessed with checking in every five minutes, but placing a real phone call or visit to a friend… almost never. We’re weird. I’m sorry that our children have to grow up thinking this is normal. I’d like to laugh, but really, I’m serious. πŸ™ Anyway, good for you for making the change!

    • Jackie- Thanks for reading this post! Y’know I think I could totally get rid of my phone- but it turns out friends and family NEED me to have my phone. I’ll go days without charging it since I”m not glued to it all the time with a dumb phone- and people get MAD at me for not being reachable! πŸ™‚ Thanks, again! And it is much harder to socially network without a smartphone as a blogger, though- I think I could be more successful with a smartphone, but I’d probably be neglecting other areas of my life, too! πŸ™‚

  25. My fiance just bought his first cell ever this past weekend. At 38 that’s pretty huge. But its a smartphone and I’m already doubting mine and everyone elses encouragement to do so. We have two small children and he’s stay at home daddy, so it was for safety and such. However, you know, as well as I that it is an extension of you and now he’s going to jump at every chime. I told him the novelty will wear off, but will it???

    • Cindy- Thank you for your comment! It’s hard to say- but I’m skeptical! If you just look around, people clutch their smartphones like life support!!! I believe that in 20 years, there will be real studies about lost productivity and social skills and real connectedness because of a verified “smartphone addiction syndrome”. I don’t think humans can help it! But, I do wish your fiance luck!!!

  26. I just “downgraded” my phone last week and it was one of the best decisions I think I have ever made. I now have an archaic flip phone for which the most impressive feature on it is a caller ID function letting me know what state the person calling me is from. My phone only makes a sound when someone is calling and my only message is letting me know if I have a voicemail. I now sleep through the night, not waking up every time my phone buzzed with an e-mail from Petco or a Facebook notification. After 6 days I have 3/4th of my battery left and no need to leave it constantly plugged in for fear of my battery dying or having to constantly have it on me just in case Papa John’s has a new daily special. My phone bill is now under $20 a month and I…am free. In a world where cell phones are now costing more than cars and there is no life outside of Twitter, it’s nice to find at least one other person out there who is proof that there is life outside of a data plan. πŸ™‚

    • Andi-
      Yay for you! But, I have to be honest- I still have a data plan! A series of phone mishaps, losses and dead chargers on vacation led me to get the data plan put on my iPad so I could at least communicate with family and friends and it cost us so much to activate that I ended up keeping it- But, there is still a freedom of not being tied to a phone. An iPad is much harder to react to and doesn’t have all of the signals that some sale is waiting for me. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I don’t regret giving up my smartphone- although- my flip phone is so unimportant to me that I forget where I left it, to charge it, etc….and it has actually caused friends and family to get seriously annoyed with my lack of responsiveness. The downside of being a dumb-phoner in a smartphone world….

  27. Interesting read. I still have a dumb phone, and not due to frustration with apps. It’s a frustration with the never-ending battle of costs vs wages, and costs always win.

    I’ve made serious changes in the last year to cut costs; my odometer shows I’ve cut my drive time almost in half over the past ten months, and I dumped cable TV in favor of video streaming with no internet upgrade required.

    Since I work from home and spend 40+ hours weekly looking at three computer screens (yes, I still have desktop PCs!), it is nice to be ‘disconnected’ and not feel like one of the Borg who is constantly hooked up to the collective.The phrase ‘resistance is futile’ comes to mind when I watch people at grocery stores and airports, unable to go 30 seconds without texting or talking to somebody, being anywhere but where they are.

    This is also a timely read, since I visited my carrier’s local store today and revisited the idea of joining the ranks of smartphone users (contract is up next month). While I really liked the demo phone and had fun with the apps, when I think of want vs. need I still can’t justify the additional cost.

    So I’ll revisit the idea again in 2014; meanwhile, it’s another dumb phone for me.

    • CJ-
      I like your observation that resistance is futile when it comes to smartphones! I’m sure there will be studies in 50 years about how much lost productivity and progress happened because of smartphones and social media…I say that as I blog. haha! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment….I’m not completely against smartphones or ipads…but, for me, I found that temptation is best avoided by eradicating it. πŸ™‚ Good luck to you!

  28. I just downgraded this year and consciously gave up the unlimited data plan AND my $10 text messaging plan I had been grandfathered into. When I was closing my contract to switch to pre-paid, the customer service rep asked me three times if I was “really sure” I wanted to lose unlimited because “there was no going back”. I have yet to miss my smart phone.

    • Leslie- Thank you for your comment! It is amazing- even without a smartphone, one can still feel SO connected most of the time! BUT, it IS better to not have the pull of that little, flashing distraction! Congratulations- and I agree! Giving up my smartphone was the best decision I’ve made in a long time! Really- thank you for taking the time to comment here! πŸ™‚

  29. Just downgraded myself to a ‘feature’ phone. I already pay for internet once at home and there’s really nothing pressing that couldn’t wait til I got home. If there is, call me! But yeah it can still access facebook, etc, it’s just not as pretty as an app and I don’t fool with it nearly as much. I ripped a couple movies and some songs if I have downtime, like a Dr appt, etc. But tablet and PC await at home. I like the arrangement. The now 25 dollar prepaid phone cost is nice too. No more 98 dollar phone bills for me, especially in this economy!

    • Roger- Welcome to the Dumb Club! πŸ™‚ I haven’t considered a pre-paid plan…but it IS nice to not sweat where I left my phone because there is nothing important on it! Thank you for your comment!

  30. That tax cut loss really put thoughts into motion, along with looking back the past 8 months or so of actual usage. It was time to stop throwing away money. And remember, that dumb phone still kicks the crap out of that numeric pager you were rocking in the 90s. Lol

  31. You’re welcome. Oh! Also, if you decide you want to move it up a notch, check out Nokia’s line of Asha models. They’re Luke the Cadillac of feature phones from what I’ve seen. Even have WiFi, 3g, FM radio. The model I’m considering is the 303. Can be had for around 150 bucks. Take that, 600 plus smartphone! P.S. If so inclined, the Asha line runs on Nokia’s S40 software. It’s older stuff but still supported. Reason I brought this up is Twitter has now made an official app for the S40 series software.

  32. I’m thinking about doing this as well. Before I commit, however, I turned on all the restrictions on my iPhone, including turning off Safari and app installations and music browsing. I had my wife put in the code so I couldn’t just unlock it when I felt like it. I gave her gloating rights if I ask her to turn off the restrictions within two weeks. We’ll see how it turns out! I can always go and buy a $30 unlocked phone to use in the meantime, and leave my iPhone at home. Great post. Glad to know I’m not crazy for thinking about this. I just feel like I miss so much because of the constant availability of the Internet. I’m often there, but not “there”, if you know what I’m saying.

    • Thank you for your comment, David- I DO understand exactly what you mean about being there but not really being there….I feel much more present with my kids now- I think that the smartphone “addiction” that seems so prevalent right now is something that we humans are just not well prepared to overcome- until we gain consciousness about how it is really affecting our lives, our families, our productivity and our time. I wish you luck with your interim solutions! If they work, I say keep with it- It will cost you money to switch to a dumber phone- so if these measures work for you, save that cash! πŸ™‚

  33. This made me smile:
    “I’d post a picture of my new dumb phone. But, I can’t. My new phone just doesn’t have the chops. If any of my Facebook friends are wondering why they haven’t heard about my new dinosaur phone it’s because I had to drive all the way home first, feed my family, play with my kids, throw in a load of laundry and write this before I even thought about getting on Facebook to update my status.”

    I remember 6 years ago dumping cable. For the first 3 months, it was awful but today I laugh that I ever felt like I needed it.
    I have the FIRST Droid, and there are times when it gets so slow and wacked out I think “If I had to dial 911 right now, i would be dead.”
    I see this in my future very soon.

    • Jay- Thank you for your comment! It’s amazing how “connected” I still feel even without the smartphone in my hand…nowadays, it is so easy to be “un-present” with the technology around us. The funny thing, is that I think I had the first droid, too. πŸ™‚ My awful “dumb phone” is so insufficient when it comes to texting that sometimes I think it would be good to have a smartphone- but then, I remember….people don’t bother texting me now. And, I am thankful I made the switch. Now, dumping cable? I do love my tv. ha! Good luck to you!

  34. I have done this very thing – I am not into social media, and only had two email accounts on my phone…but still found myself checking it constantly for emails (I teach at a university and seeing the students emails throughout the day got to be very stressful!). I am SOOOOO happy to be back to a basic flip phone…yes, that actually looks like and functions as a phone, that’s it. Samsung Rugby II – bought it for $35 from amazon, best $35 I ever spent. I can go 3 days before needing to charge it. If you put it on the T-9 feature, texting (which I do not do much of) is very easy.

    I feel “free’ now….I wait to check my email when I have time to sit down and actually read and respond to them – it’s such a stress relief.

    I don’t think I’ll ever go back – there’s honestly nothing that I miss about it.

    I don’t like how society almost forces technology on you – I’m a little afraid that the “non-smart” and non-touch phones will cease to exist!! I will be REALLY sad the day, if that day, happens.

    FIngers crossed it won’t πŸ™‚

    BTW – I loved your comment about waiting to jump online because you made dinner and spent time with your family first. I feel like everywhere I go everyone is walking looking down and doing something on their phone. Even if you go to a restaurant, people are on their phones…what happened to going out to lunch with your friend? Not your phone, your friend, and their phone.

    • Jenifer- Thank you so much for your comment! Yes, I agree with you on all counts. I have to admit that sometimes I feel like giving up the smartphone has cost me the ability to really grow my blog the way I’d like to- but when I think about the fact that I’m not able to be constantly connected throughout the day when my kids are off from school, I remember that growing my blog is not what matters most! πŸ™‚ And, in truth, there are many other reasons why my blog isn’t growing. haha! I DO have a pretty constant connection because I DO have wifi on my ipad- and I use that a lot when the kids are in school to network and read posts and wonderful comments like yours! BUT, when that cover is shut, it’s shut. I have no idea what is going on behind it when it is tucked away- and there are no sounds or lights- and no texts or calls. It’s amazing what just separating technical functions can do to free your time and focus. As a blogger, I will be connected- probably more than the average tech user- BUT, I feel that not having a smartphone is a way to carve out some non-tech time. Good for you for the downgrade- and I’m not much of a texter, either. It takes too long to scroll through all the characters. πŸ™‚

  35. I am so glad I found this post! I received my first smartphone this past Christmas as a gift from my parents. Previously I had a basic “dumbphone”. I didn’t think I was missing out on much until I put my hands on my new I-phone! Whoa! I had instragram, FB, and any app I could think of at my finger tips. I LOVED it! I went from someone who never answered a text to someone who facetimed. I am a homeschooling mom of 3 boys. Weeks after getting the phone I found myself checking in several times during the day. I felt a little guilty, but I couldn’t stop. At one time my eight year old son brought a project he had built to show me and I was so wrapped up in my phone that I told him to “hang on a second” I was ashamed of myself. I actually thought about removing all social apps, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. All that changed yesterday. While pumping gas in the rain, I heard my two year old screaming in his car seat. He had dropped a toy as I went to pick it up to give it to him I heard something fall out of my van. I looked around, but didn’t see anything. I left the store and headed home. When I got home I realized what had fallen out of my van…it was my phone! I was sick to my stomach. I called the gas station to see if someone had turned it in, as I sat on hold I could feel my heart pounding. It felt like I was waiting to hear the results of a biopsy!! I wasn’t surprised when I heard them say no one had turned it in. Today I have missed checking in and looking on my FB page. To the point I felt sad. (crazy, I know) Your post has been a blessing to me! My babies are only little one time. I will never get these days back. My worse fear is that my children will look back and remember our days together and picture mommy with a “smartphone” in her hand. They need and deserve all of me. As it stands right now, my “dumbphone” was reactivated this evening. Yay! For accidental liberation!!

    • Larissa- Thank you for your wonderful comment! Sometimes, I miss having the smartphone, for sure, too- And, I STILL find myself sometimes saying “Hang on a sec!” and feeling bad about it! You are right- Today, so many kids are missing in the Oklahoma tornado aftermath, I’m reminded about cherishing every moment with my own kids like you are- I won’t be getting a smartphone anytime soon- It’s still very easy to be very connected through technology without one. Congrats to you on your loss! haha! Make sure you change all your account/app passwords! πŸ™‚

  36. Just stumbled across this post while trying to make the decision of whether or not to downgrade my phone, and you make a lot of great points.

    When I constantly find myself instantly responding like Pavlov’s dog to the chime of my iPhone the second it makes a noise, I know it’s time to stop. If people want to get a hold of me, call or text! That’s why I have a phone number.

    Thank you, you helped me make the decision to take the plunge.

  37. Wow, you’re still getting comments almost two years later. Great post! From one writer to another, I like your style.

    I’ve been using smartphones since 2008 and, this past spring activated a basic phone for a trip to Europe. It felt so great to go back to basics that I never reactivated my smartphone. It fits in my pocket and smallest purses, needs charging once or twice a week and works flawlessly. No more work e-mails distracting me on weekends or middle-of-the-night notifications from someone in another time zone. Probably the greatest benefit is being able to thoughtfully respond to messages when I open my laptop, vs. reading messages on the go and forgetting to reply later.

    I work from home, so I was paying $30/month for about one-half gigabyte of smartphone data (in addition to paying for Internet at home and on two other devices). Now I’m donating that money every month to an animal rescue group or a humane society, wherever the need is greatest.

    I don’t anticipate any of my friends joining my “dumbphone movement,” but I’d be so thrilled if I could socialize with friends without everyone on their phones, posting photos of me on Facebook! Grrr! And you mention being able to give your kids your full attention … yes, don’t be the mom I just saw at my vet clinic, playing with her phone while her children ran around the office, jumping on the scale and shouting into a kitten’s cage.

    I, for one, am going to be fully present and enjoy what matters in life. All the best to you.

  38. Pingback: Inverted Back to the future (Arriving at the past??) | Check My Soul

  39. Thank You for this post. Now I know I’m not the only one out there ready to get rid of his smartphone and BE FREE!!!!

  40. Pingback: Why I Want a Dumb Phone | by Ari Herzog, Digital Media Explorer

  41. Hello from Australia. Thanks for the article. I have only had a smart phone for a couple of years but am sick of it already. I have prepared an ad and taken photo’s ready to sell it on line. I always kept my dumb flip phone which my sim is now back in. I googled smart phone addiction and came across your comments as well as the interesting comment below from another article on smart phone addiction. It is definitely a growing world wide problem. Optometrists are also concerned with the increase in eye sight problems as a result of smart phones. I think the following comments I found really sum up where the smart phone addiction is heading…

    I was sitting in the airport yesterday awaiting my flight, and I looked around at my fellow passengers-in-waiting … and virtually ALL of them were looking at their phones!!! It was the strangest thing … no one was reading a newspaper or flipping through a magazine or engrossed in a book … no one was even engaged in a conversation. They were just all looking at their phones! There was even a father with his toddler, and as the toddler was ripping and running through the waiting area, the father ran behind him, one hand reaching out to grab the baby, the other hand holding onto his phone … which he never stopped looking at!!! Not realizing that I was thinking out loud, I exclaimed, “Everyone is looking at their phones!” At that point, several of those close by turned around and stared at me, and feeling a little uncomfortable, I simply took my phone out and started looking at it, and they in turn went back to their phones as well.

  42. This is one good article, thank you! Years later now, in Germany. I’ve been thinking of downgrading for quite a while. Actually, I was always someone who was of the first to be interested in new media, ever since the 80’s. In fact I used to be a programmer. I got an iphone some years back. I “deleted” my whatsapp and fb-accounts about 6 months ago, after realizing I was wasting my life knowing a lot of completely irrelevant daily things about all my “friends”. And surfing on, reading this post and watching that video, and suddenly yet another day was over! Also, I couldn’t be on a vacation without having people wanting me to keep them up to date with photos of my whereabouts. “Where are you? I haven’t heard from you for OVER A DAY! Are you alive? Send us a sign of life!! Why aren’t you using iMessage? This sms is costing me!” Hell. I spent half my vacation searching for and logging into wifi hotspots just to send them MY irrelevant pics and locations! After my last vacation, when I finally wanted just to relax and travel, I cancelled whatapp and FB. (And twitter, which I never used anyway). Everyone hated me. I ignored it. Now, silly me updated to ios 8. I found I had a “health” app I didn’t want but couldn’t delete, and a “tips” app I didn’t want either, and who knows want else. I probably “accepted” to turning my life over to Apple without knowing where, when and how they’re intruding into my privacy. I tried to downgrade back to ios 7 but I was too late. So now I looked for a dumb outdoor phone I can drop into water or throw around without it breaking, and with no features other than telephone and sms. No internet, no apps, no social media. I found a nice rugged one, with heaps of standby time, and what I like is that it has dual sim. I have 2 prepaid sim cards now, one for normal life at home and work, and one with which I can call my daughter, who is traveling in Asia for a year, once in a while, for a few cents. When she gets back, I’ll switch to one for work and one for private. No more 2-year contracts for me. I feel a lot freer after leaving that burden behind. I don’t carry my iphone around with me any more, I’ll probably sell it as soon as I’ve copied my important contacts into the new mobile. I’ll do that AFTER I’ve finished the BOOK (a paper book!) I’m reading πŸ˜‰

    • Hi, Ibu! Thank you for that great comment! Yes- It can be hard for people to relate or understand why not having a smartphone can be better for some people! It can definitely be inconvenient for the dumb phone holder, too! haha! I just feel like it’s so easy to be connected in so many ways, that pulling that part back was the best way to regain micro-moments. Good for you and Good luck! Thanks, again!

  43. Now I’m retired, and it seemed stupid to have the smartphone next to the computer. Two years with carrier is up in 10 days. We’ve replaced both phones with the AARP sponsored company without a contract. Just two basic phones, less that $50/mo, for all we need! I’ve always been a geek, but I don’t need this level of frustration, expense and time-snare. If I REALLY need access where I’m going, I’ll bring the laptop!

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