‘Hanging Up on iPhone’

The usually rational, Stephen Hackett is trading in his iPhone for a crappy Motorola flip phone. Stephen is tired of having his head down in his phone, which I think we can all understand, and here’s how he is going about this:

In addition to my self-imposed 12-month timeframe, I’ve got an LTE iPad mini in the mail, set to be delivered Friday. It’s my first iPad with cellular data, and coupled with the Mini’s form factor, I think it will be a decent iPhone-replacement for the times I need data when I’m not in the office or at home.

Stephen freely admits that this could also be accomplished with self control:

The problem is that five years of reaching in my front right pocket any time I’m free has created a strong habit, and I need to quit cold turkey.

Again, I get where he is coming from, but this just seems stupid to me. Not a publicity stunt stupid, or anything of that ilk, just a silly move to combat a perceived problem.

There is no doubt in my mind that we, as a society, need to get our heads out of our phones, however getting rid of portable computing isn’t the solution. The solution is finding what is addicting you and limiting that.

Addicted to Facebook? Delete the app. Addicted to Twitter? Delete the app. Email? Turn it off.

All of those actions can easily be reversed on the fly, with only a few minutes lost, yet they are annoying enough to reverse that we wouldn’t have the time to reverse the actions when we feel compelled to check.

I know this works, because I’ve done it. When I stopped using Twitter in favor of App.net, I noticed that I just stopped caring about checking either that often. My App.net feed is so slow that I can catch up every few hours, in a few minutes. Twitter is so irrelevant to me that I just check my mentions every few days.

This to me sounds like saying: “I’m quitting the Fourth of July because I don’t like lighting off fireworks.” Don’t buy the fireworks. 1

I hate it when people say “guns don’t kill people…” and all that, but in this case it really isn’t the fault of the iPhone. It’s the fault of the user for being addicted. Now, luckily, that is easily solved by removing the addicting apps.

I’ve pushed a lot of addicting apps to my second home screen buried inside unnamed folders that I move regularly. This means I can still find stuff when I need/want to, but not fast enough for me to feel like I can just check on X “really quick”.

Maybe that doesn’t work for Stephen, but the benefits of having a phone like the iPhone with you 24/7 far out weigh the costs in my book. 2

  1. Communist.
  2. I say that now, hopefully the iPhone (et al) isn’t a leading cause of cancer later in life — but I suspect that it would be all cellphones not just smartphones.
Originally posted for members on: November 13, 2012
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