My Life Without A Smartphone


Just over three months ago, I wrote about why I decided to ditch my iPhone. As promised, I wanted to do a followup and let you know how it has been now that I have gone 90 days without owning a smartphone of any kind.

Below are the things I have experienced more and less of as a result of living without a smartphone:

More Freedom

Man does the feeling of freedom sure feel good. That’s why I chose to use the picture above for this post. Now that I do not carry a smartphone with me, I have come to realize is that it is much easier to live in the moment. I feel free when I leave the house because I am actually leaving my computer behind.

Prior to ditching my iPhone, leaving the house just meant switching from using my MacBook to my phone. I never really got anytime away from it all. It felt like the internet was always there, whether it was on the screen in front of me or in my pocket. Talk about information overload.

I spend a good amount of time on my computer at home, so I do not miss surfing the web when I am not here anymore. It feels amazing to not have to worry about anything other than what I am doing at any given moment.

It reminds me of what life was like when I was younger and had nothing to worry about except what I was doing at any certain moment. If I wanted to go outside and ride my bike, I did. I didn’t ride my bike while talking on my phone and blasting out emails. I just focused on the bike ride and my surroundings. I actually took the time to notice things like grass, animals, and trees.

More Adventure

For the most part, the only thing I actually missed was the GPS and Google Maps features of the iPhone. I used to use it on a daily basis to find stores, restaurants, and other destinations I needed to find. It was especially useful when traveling around because I could just type in where we were going and figure it out as we drove.

Instead, I have had to go back to using a paper map (yes, they still make them). I must say, it took a lot of getting used to since paper maps are a tad less interactive. You cannot ask a map where you are at any given point in your trip, nor can you ask it for directions and get a nice step-by-step guide to follow.

Luckily I have realized that I enjoy getting lost from time to time. A few times I have ended up going somewhere completely different than planned. This is especially true for things like restaurants. If I can’t find it, instead of looking it up I will just give somewhere else a try. It feels good to do things on whim instead of always doing things we plan in advance.

I think it makes life a little more interesting since it isn’t so predictable. It makes going places more of a challenge and adventure. I like it.

Less Distractions

When it comes to life without a smartphone, I must say there are far less distractions. I can still remember the days when I would sit down at a restaurant with my girlfriend and occasionally check my email, Twitter, and Facebook to see what was happening out there in the land of the internet. Talk about distractions!

Not a day goes by where I do not see someone walking down the sidewalk texting (or surfing the web) on their phone, only to miss walking into someone by a few inches because they are not paying attention to where they are going.

Is this really the way life should be? Do we really need to be so on top of things that we need to constantly be distracted from what is actually happening around us? I sure don’t think so.

Less Expenses

As I mentioned in my last post, I am saving roughly $80/month by not having an iPhone. I did in fact buy a Tracfone, but I only use it for emergencies and other situations where I need to talk to someone outside the house. I haven’t even used $20 worth of minutes in the last 90 days nor do I plan on using the rest of them anytime soon.

I must say, it feels good to have one less monthly bill coming out of my bank account. While it might not be a ton of money, it is $80 less a month I have to worry about.

Less Worries

I have also noticed a lot less worries in my life. I no longer worry about going over my minutes, nor do I worry about any issues with my service provider.

Best of all, I no longer worry about having a $300+ piece of technology in my pocket at all times. It is quite the relief to not have to worry about keeping my phone safe. The nice thing about the Tracfone is I can easily replace it for about 30 bucks if I were to break it or lose it.

I do realize that smartphones are very useful for certain people in certain situations. That’s why I don’t anticipate everyone ditching them anytime soon. However, it is worth thinking about a life without one.

After trying it for 90 days, I can honestly say it’s not so bad after all. Who wouldn’t prefer a life with more freedom and adventures and less distractions, expenses, and worries? I know I sure do.

Photo Credit: Josef Grunig

16 thoughts on “My Life Without A Smartphone

  1. Jeremy

    Lol at the huge full color ad for the Google Nexus One at the bottom of this post :) Liked the review though. I too went from a smartphone back to my old trusty clamshell “dumb” phone and am very happy I did. Something that isn’t talked about very much is that on a lot of smartphones, both making calls and texting are more of a pain in the ass than with a regular old phone. Since I do these 2 things 99% of the time on my phone, paying the premium for a smartphone just doesn’t make any sense.

    Reply
    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Hahah yeah, got to love the ad selection. And I totally agree with you about the ease of use. My crappy flip phone is so much easier to use as an actual phone that my iPhone. The touch screen was nice, but I would constantly but stuff and hang up on people without even trying.

      Texting..that’s a little bit more difficult. Though I have started getting used to using the number pad for typing again. Reminds me of college all over again.

      Reply
  2. Ladbrokes Casino

    There’s a lot to be said for not always being in touch with people and chatting to them on their own terms, rather than being at the beck and call of everyone who has your phone, Facebook and a million and one other contacts. Then, as you say, there is a handy money saving to go with the peace and quiet.

    Reply
  3. Ncgal

    I decided to switch back to my old phone because I felt like life was passing me by while I sat on my smartphone downloading apps, checking email, checking twitter, youtube. I love life without my smartphone & the pricey data plan charges. Best decision ever!

    Reply
  4. soultravelers3

    Great post..I just found it!

    “Prior to ditching my iPhone, leaving the house just meant switching from using my MacBook to my phone. I never really got anytime away from it all.”

    Exactly! This is the reason why we have not succumbed to a smart phone yet, despite living a constantly world traveling, paperless digital nomad life as a family.

    I do not want to be plugged in all the time and I think it is easy to become addicted to them and that they get in the way of freedom and living more in the “now”.

    Reply
  5. Christy

    I am personally very happy w/ my iPod Touch and my Boostmobile Clutch phone (which I only pay about $20 a month for). I see no need for the extra expense of iPhone w/ its required data plan.

    Reply
  6. Bob

    Great idea. It is actually my goal in life to someday never carry a cell phone and have my future assistant deal with all incoming calls :) Moreover, everyone has a phone now. It’s not as though you need to run to a payphone so you can easily borrow a friend’s, or stranger’s phone.

    I’m on my ATT plan until June but will at a minimum be switching a prepaid card if I can do that with my iPhone.

    Reply
  7. alvarez

    This is a great post. I got a smartphone last fall after years of just having a regular “dumb” phone and since then I’ve found it’s become a distraction because of the instant connection to email. Every time I get an email, the phone buzzes and like Pavlov’s dog, I can’t help but to check it. Other than that, the most useful thing about the phone really is the GPS and looking up directions. I don’t really check news too frequently on or twitter that much.

    The strange thing is that I feel *bad* for not using its full potential. Imagine that! There’s this amazing piece of technology that I’m paying crazy amounts for per month and I’m not using it enough, and the one constant use (email) is a distraction. I’m very seriously considering just getting rid of the data plan now since I want a little peace of mind. I’m already imagining walking down the street not knowing of any work emails or what time my meeting is the next day. What a joy that would be.

    Reply
  8. dprogrl83

    yeah smartphone plans are outrageous. at the young age of 18, about to get my first job, i’d never buy a contract. prepaid all the way.

    for a pageplus plan i’d only be paying $6-12 a month (either 83 or 166 min a month). could always buy more cheap aircards if i needed it.

    anyway i agree wholeheartedly about this whole smartphone obsession problem. EVERYONE is always texting and staring at their phones all the time. i know someone who was texting, totaled a car, and broke his arm.

    i have a tracfone currently that i’m going to keep as a “backup phone” for pretty much everything i do, and a droid pro (smartphone) for all the other times (for use at home or in public places). no data plan, just wifi. as for getting out in the real world, hiking, going to the beach, and living in the moment, i’ll keep my camera-less $10 tracfone and i won’t have to worry about it falling out of my pocket and losing $400 down the drain. nope, it’ll only be for emergencies.

    nice blog post.

    Reply
  9. syl8

    my smartphone plan is without 3g. only $6.60 a month for 166 min. talk and text is all i need, with the occasional wifi i can find in my local area.

    i really dislike the concept of “unlimited.” unless you spend hours every day talking to people, you really don’t need it. i think people just like things being accessible for them at all times. smartphones truly can be a waste of time.

    Reply
  10. Melinda Williams

    Wow! I am contemplating writing a blog just like this one and then suddenly your pops up. I love it when that happens. Such inspiration! I like your approach and the understanding that this “living without a smartphone” isn’t for everyone- yet everyone should probably at least consider it. I have never had one and I never intend on having one. Paper maps can be fun…and getting lost can be fun, too (which has happened many times, and I’ve even thought, “Wow, if only I had an iphone…” but that doesn’t last long), if you have company. ;) Thanks for the great read!

    Reply
  11. Angela

    My iphone broke yesterday, I’ve used an iphone for nearly 4 years. Instead of going into a new two year contract i decided to get a phone that was simple. Just texting and calling was enough. I was doubting my decision earlier today but reading this helped me think more positive about it. Great read, thanks!

    Reply

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