When I ditched my iPhone 11 months ago, I promised a follow-up post about the experience. So here it is.


Only one thing really surprised me about going back to a "dumbphone." The idle moments. The habit of pulling out my phone to fill them was deeply ingrained, even more than I'd realised. Every time my brain hit a pause, there would be a moment of agitation: "I'm here and I have nothing to do for a few moments, what do I think about? Where'd my phone go? What else can I do with my hands?" That feeling ("disconnect anxiety"? withdrawal symptom?) lasted for a couple of weeks.

The other interesting thing was how many people sympathised with me (either here on the blog, or in person.) A few people openly told me I was crazy or self-obsessed (both legitimate charges, in all honesty), but a lot of people also really seemed to relate. Most of them had iPhones or other smartphones that they didn't intend to give up, but they seemed to relate to me wanting to. That phenomenon interests me a lot.


So why did I decide to get back on the smartphone wagon, after all my self-righteous abandonment last year? There are a few reasons:

Hypocrisy. Honestly, on the few occasions when I'm out and I really want to google something or look an address up on a map, I just rely on Jess having an iPhone. Smartphone cheating. Similarly, when I'm at home I'll just pull my laptop out. Less convenient than a phone, but the same end result.

LastPass. I've started using the LastPass password manager, which basically means that without my own computer or phone at hand I'm locked out of nearly all my online services. I can't just go to an internet kiosk and check my email when I'm in a foreign city or an airport, any more.

IOIO. Android has some really cool new stuff in it for tinkerers. Can't wait to have a play.

Hackerspace tunes. Sounds stupid, but I want an mp3 player to plug in at the Hackerspace. Pretty much all non-iPod MP3 players seem kinda sucky or ridiculously expensive. Everyone else just uses their phone, so I figured I should too!

Price. I've gone with a $180 Huawei Android phone (will write a review.) This both appeals to my inner skeapskate, and the idea of cheap/commoditised smartphones really interests me (boutique to commodity tech in 4 years!?!)

As for the other behaviours I disliked myself for in the past, I'm hoping I can rely on self-control. Time will tell.

Thoughts on “Smartphone Relapse