Switching to a Dumbphone… Again

It is not that easy

I would guess that most of us have gotten to the point of wanting to throw our iPhone in the river and get one of those old school flip phones. I know that I have many times and was determined to at least give it up for a while and see what it was like on the other side.

Digital Detox and Digital minimalism are very popular now. As a society, we are quite familiar with our collective addiction to our smartphones. There are companies coming out with new phones that just make calls and texts and maybe a few other features. Punkt MP02 and the Light Phone 2 come to mind. They are both very expensive for what they do. I don’t see why a $30 Nokia can’t accomplish the same thing?

While I agree that I have a problem with my smartphone, I have a hard time convincing myself that my banking app, Google Maps, and my Starbucks app are a bad thing. The smartphone can make many things far more convenient and why not just give up the apps and things that suck up all your time and energy?

The reason is simple, the companies making those phones and apps know us better than we know ourselves. They know what triggers us to look at the phone 100 times a day, they know how to give us that Dopamine hit that we all desire. We are helpless to fight these digital drug dealers. They get us hooked and make us keep coming back for another hit.

The average American stares at their phone between 3 and 4 hours a day. I am personally much worse than that. I stopped looking, but I am more like 6 to 7 hours a day.

Let’s look at some of the things that people are doing these days to fight this battle while hanging on to their smartphones.

  1. Turn off most or all notifications
  2. Set up time limits for certain apps
  3. Change their screens to Greyscale

This is just a small sample of a few of the things people use and I want to tell you why they are useless.

Turning off notifications sounds promising. No buzzing and pinging of your phone. No RED number staring you in the face, but in reality, the first message from your kids or boss that you miss and see an hour later will frustrate you so much that you will say, I MUST have a few people be able to contact me whenever they need to. It is like the alcoholic keeping a bottle of whiskey in his cabinet “just for guests”. It leads to bad things!! Once you open that door, you will continue to justify adding someone else to that special group that in very short order, you will just let everyone back in.

Setting up time limits are somewhat of a joke. It is Apples way of saying they care, but they are the ones that created this monster in the first place. They want you on their device and services as much as possible. Once you reach the time“limit” of an app, it is about 2 clicks to get back to your Instagram feed and continuing to scroll aimlessly.

The change to Greyscale is one of my favorites. How long do you really think you are going to use Snapchat in Black and White? Maybe for about 2 minutes? You will be turning back on the colors in a moment and telling yourself how stupid that idea is.

I could go on and on with everyone's favorite methods for culling their screen-time, but if you really want to succeed at this the only reliable way of doing it, is to not have the phone with you. Leave it at home. Spend your day doing whatever you do with a dumb-phone in your pocket and leave the SIM-less iPhone at home that you can play with at the end of your day. You can do your banking, read emails, return WhatsApp messages, watch some Youtube, read some Medium.

Granted you will have to reach into your pocket and pull out a $5 bill for that Venti Latte with Soy milk, but that may be a good thing because when you have to actually hand over hard-earned money for that drink, you just might rethink your coffee habits.




Just a guy with some thoughts. I love tech, my family, sports, politics and trying to find my place in this crazy world

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Bob Pepe

Bob Pepe

Just a guy with some thoughts. I love tech, my family, sports, politics and trying to find my place in this crazy world

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