I unashamedly admit I have a flip phone, from that ubiquitous Tracfone brand found in corner gas stations and supermarkets. Yet I also have an iPhone, and unashamedly admit that I was one of the first iPhone owners back in the days when they were exclusive to AT&T and unlimited data plans were simply not an option. So this means I have a history with my iPhone, and that includes a brief dalliance with an LG Android that I regret to this day. My flip phone is tucked away in the corner of a drawer, minutes exhausted.
So why would I even begin to think that trading in your smartphone for a flip phone is a decision you could live with?
First, I’ve been around the block a few times and know that having a smartphone is like a warm blanket made of technology that keeps me connected with friends that I have never met. They send me messages all times, day and night so I never feel alone. But the longer I have had a smartphone, the more it seems I want to be left alone. That warm blanket has had an inconsistent history of getting too warm and stressed me out to unhealthy levels.
The alternative flip phone does allow you to receive texts but without the faces, emojis, emoticons, and other graphic images that can easily be misunderstood. You can go back to an era when people said what they meant and meant what they said. I admit that there are times when you might wake up in the morning and miss the 420 texts that call your name, but you’ll get over it soon enough.
Having an organized number of apps is a great argument for keeping your smartphone and thinking twice before abandoning it. What would you do without them all? I’ll make the case that you just might feel a lot more secure about your privacy and go to bed at night freed from the possibility that your app just might be the one that unveils your private or financial life. I likely don’t have as many apps as you, and the more apps you have the more likely it is you will tether your smartphone to your daily life. But that in itself is something to consider.
The flip phone can have apps depending on which brand your choose, but the screen is usually so small that using them can become downright irritating. Flip phones can access the Internet, but even if you have won the Fastest Thumbs On The Planet competition it is far from the ideal user interface. If you see this as a negative, you likely have too many apps and are too exposed to too many strangers, corporate or otherwise.
I can tell you a reason not to make the switch, which seems contrary to the theme of this article. It is the simplest reason of all – that you prefer not to talk to people. There are those of you who prefer not to deal with 101 voice mails from people who have little to say of substance. They can be rerouted to your text message haven where you can get to them when you will because it is usually impossible to have a full text message queue.
Oddly, it is also the biggest reason to make the switch. These days people who call are asking for you attention, whether the reason is that they just wanted to hear your voice or they are feeling a bit lonely themselves. Text is awful for communicating emotions, and often the tone of a text message is misinterpreted. If you happen to remain connected to real people in a real world, you know you can hear the unspoken truth about a conversation or message in between the silence of the words. As far as the nonsense voice mails, phone companies have made it easy for us to “press 7 to delete.”
You don’t have to do without your smartphone forever. You can pick up a flip phone for cheap and manage the amount of time (and money) you will spend every month talking with people. It’s likely you will be able to buy a few more things you wanted with the money you save from your smartphone bill. In a year or so you can return to your smartphone smarter about technology than you were before.
If you believe that when you return after a year you will find all those social media friends and apps still waiting for you to come back to the virtual life, then you likely are smarter than your smartphone. That would make your decision not a trade-in, but a trade-off.