August 5, 2023

The end of Analogue August

In August of 2021 I decided to embark on Analogue August - giving up my smartphone for a month.  Instead, I gave it up for two years.  It's been a weird and wonderful adventure, which I have already written about a fair amount.  I think my favourite posts on this are here:

Smartphones: The right tools for the wrong jobs?

On Not Using a Smartphone: The Why

5 Things I've Gained from Quitting my Smartphone

However, after two years I've decided to try having a smartphone again.  I stuck my sim back into the SIM-less iphone and after figuring out how to disable all the apple stuff (I don't understand iMessage) it seems to work like a phone.

So far I mostly keep data off when I'm out of the house, which I think was the biggest shift in my phone usage over the last two years.  It used to be that I would do anything at any time... I could order groceries in the queue at the bank!  I could sign up for a swim session while going to the toilet! 

I've gotten used to being in lines without using my phone.  Sitting on the train without distracting myself.  Doing internet things at home, and when it's best to do them.  I feel far more present when I'm out and about, knowing that internet things can be done at the right time... some other time.

I've also spent 2 years without apps... so much of my former phone use was definitely behavioral conditioning.  My phone currently shows texts when I get them (with no sound) and rings out loud.  Nothing else bleeps for my attention.  It's not really a source of interest or engagement.  Sure - I can check the internet, or blogs.  I can check email on the web app.  But I have gotten used to doing these things at home now.  It's not the first thing I think of, when my brain has some blank space.

Maybe I needed 2 years to come down from a phone addiction which built up for the previous 10.

There are definitely some cool things with smart phones... I like that I can text faster and easier.  I like that I can check when my next train is leaving and what platform it's on before I get to the station.

I'm also very aware that so many things I now do on the phone were not that much harder without it.  I like that I have my store discount cards in one place on the wallet... but I could easily have done this with my keychain discount fobs.  

I'm also aware that I wasn't really smartphone-less for two years - I did have an iphone, it just didn't have a SIM in the iphone.  So lots of things I can now do on my phone I could do before.  I could download offline maps.  I could buy train tickets at home and then activate them offline.  I could use apple wallet (fun fact - it works without internet!)

I'm hoping I'll continue to have a smartphone-lite life.  I struggle when people visit me and spend lots of time staring at their phones.  Phones, to me, are always worse than people.  They don't enhance my enjoyment of things. 

If I find in a few months or years I'm using the phone too much again I'll certainly be happy to switch back to the Nokia 105.  It was a great experiment for seeing what the real difference between constant connection (smartphone/out-of-the-home-internet) and analogue living was.  Turns out the things missed when opting out of constant connection were more than made up for in analogue life.


  1. Oh how much I loved this post. I want to try it but am too chicken. I don’t particularly like using my phone for anything rather than reading blogs, maps, and checking my kids’ school app. But I can feel a sense of freedom that is permeating from your post.

    1. It was really nice to just opt out of all apps. I went to the local soft play and tried to pay for a ticket and they asked me to use the app... I said I didn't do smart phone and could I just pay for a ticket. My kids were playing before the person next to me finished downloading an app and booking a space. I don't intend to use apps (except google maps). I'm curious what will happen when my son starts school in September... I'm hoping whatever app they use has a web interface I can use instead. Most of the app things people have told me to use actually have perfectly functional websites I could use.

    2. This is interesting... I feel like many things have moved to online only/ app options. For example, I was the Volunteer Coordinator for my son's swim team, so I helped organize all of the meets and competitions. Well, the head coach decided to adopt online ticketing, meaning that NO cash would be accepted at the door anymore. People had to buy online in advance and then pull up the app so that we could scan their tickets (with a phone). There was literally not a cash option. Apparently the high schools have all moved to online only ticketing for sporting events and drama events like school plays, etc too. I actually pushed back on it initially because it was just a hassle for some people to have to download the app, make an account, etc... and it was a hassle for me as the event organizer to have to troubleshoot the various issues that would come up. (The wifi wasn't working well at one venue, and that was a nightmare.) I personally said, Let's just keep the old method... a couple of moms sitting at a table collecting $5 as people go in!! But I lost that battle. :) overall the online app works really well and is very easy, and no more worrying about running out of cash or change. I guess what I'm saying is that around here it seems like "not having a smartphone" is less and less an option. My kids' soccer teams all ONLY communicate via a Team App also- all scheduling, game times, messages, etc come through the app. One time we were at a tournament and they suddenly changed the field to one 10 minutes away.. the notification popped up on the team app. I remember thinking, gosh, if I didn't have the app, we would have been at the wrong field and missed the game!!

    3. Interesting! I have realized that my choices are probably a lot linked to the fact that I'm not in the states and that I have younger kids. I don't think that going smartphone-less for two years would be possible if I had your life... maybe I'm just grabbing the last of analogue before it disappears entirely.

      I have gone to events where you had to buy online in advance and scan a QR code... but I would just print the QR code on paper and that always seemed to work.

      Also, more than once when I said I didn't have a smart phone the person at the till said they didn't know how to take payment and then let me attend for free. I know that's not a perfect system either though (but I was pretty amused when it happened.)

  2. That was daria from

  3. Very interesting post! Thanks for the update on what you're doing! It's such a great topic and so fascinating these days. Currently reading a book called Unwired that SHU gifted me when I met her in June that is all about big tech and addictive technology etc. So this topic has been on my mind again more lately. :) I'm nowhere at your level, but I have been deleting Facebook from my phone and only checking it 1-2x week at specific times, which has felt like a good step in the right direction to decreasing much of the mindless scrolling/ compulsive random checking.

  4. This is so interesting to me! I sort of "dumbed down" my smartphone earlier this year- took off all apps except for maps and disabled the internet. Also turned it to grayscale. I thought all those apps were making my life easier (like keeping my grocery list totally online) but it soooo wasn't. I'm sure I miss out on deals here and there because I don't have the app, but I'm also confident I save a lot of money by not shopping on my phone.

  5. I will be so interested in your evaluation of how it goes now that you've switched "back." I would love to give up my smartphone but... am not ready to cut the cord quite yet.

  6. I really try hard not to use my phone for anything except phone calls and texting, but there are apps that I find so necessary to life (like GPS, podcast, library). I also regularly keep my phone on a different floor of the house than where I am and that's really kept me off of it, too. But really focusing on diminishing my phone usage, I've been able to get more done, particularly reading!

  7. True, true, my very existence is spent
    online; however, what we do with our
    time online is what we shall be judged
    on - doesnt matter if you're [pl] atheist.
    Why am I such a risque iconoclast?
    A schtick-in-the-mud, a narcissist?
    I'm a Near Death Experiencer, dear:
    ● ●
    Cya soon, miss gorgeous...

  8. I could definitely take a few pages out of your book and disconnect more, but at the same time, my smartphone connects me with so many people far away. I would miss that so much (I know I just need to be more intentional).

    I really try to put the phone away when I am with people (unless we take a picture or look something up that is relevant in that very moment). I think that is the least we should expect from people when we're socializing.

    I am curious to hear how your re-entry goes!

    FYI, iMessage is not different from text message other that it uses data instead of the phone network. So you don't need it (or can't use it, if you're out and about without data turned on), but it can be useful for people like me who text people overseas and don't have a text message plan for overseas.

    1. It seemed like imessage was forcing certain messages to come through on imessage rather than text, and my phone wouldn't receive some messages when data was off. I have a UK and US phone and I only use the UK phone for UK calls, the US phone has a US number (via Voice over IP I think?) and works when on wifi. I keep imessage on for that phone but I think something got confused when I had imessage on the UK and US phone.

      I know I could be more connected to friends in the US all the time if I used imessage/whatsapp, but I intentionally don't use it like that so that my time spent messaging my US friends is different than my phone time, which connects me to the people I see frequently. However, I know that's probably my weird and wacky choice...

  9. What an interesting and exciting experiment. I am trying to do a social. media free Sunday and that alone is so much harder than I ever anticipated. It is pathetic, really. But you gotta start somewhere. I wouldn't be able to be off a smartphone as a social media manager and online consultant. But I try to have boundaries and not check during weekends and such. I will have to read you previous posts on this topic.