Why I Got Rid of My iPhone

iphone3gI said a bittersweet good-bye last week.

I departed the smart phone ship and went back to a basic phone–though it does flip up for quicker texting, which actually is slower texting because my fingers are too big.

When I first got an iPhone over the summer I told myself I’d get rid of it if it became too much of a distraction or if I felt it became a self-control issue. After all, we’ve all seen the “I can’t breathe if I’m not holding my iPhone” guy or girl. Just look over in the car next to you sometime and watch. Soon enough you’ll see that eerily familiar thumb swipe as someone looks at the latest Facebook updates or scrolls through texts.

It got to the point where a red light became an opportunity to see what was happening in the Twittersphere. A down moment at the house where the kids weren’t nearby was a quick glance at the SportsCenter app. I’d have my blog stats opened in Safari to validate my writing.

Lindsey and I would be watching a movie and wonder together, “Wait, what other movie was she in?” Imdb has the answer. Movie interrupted.

And as we know, a quick check of Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, Pinterest, etc. is rarely quick. Once you check on something and follow a few rabbit trail links, it takes a minute or so to refocus on what you were doing prior.

So I bought a standard phone on Ebay (using my Ebay app on the iPhone) and bid farewell to my smart phone. Why the italics? Because I wasn’t any smarter, just more connected and distracted.

“Well I don’t have that issue with mine,” you say. That’s great! But I don’t think that’s the majority of people. I look over at mothers and daughters “eating” together only to see both staring at their laps scrolling away. Kids are tamed at the table with their own iPad mini (not judging because I’ve done it with my phone). Conversation with someone becomes a competition with their device.

I get it. Those phones are convenient. But convenience and connectedness can easily become addictions.

Getting rid of the phone means making some changes and planning ahead a bit more.

For instance, I actually printed off directions using a website called MapQuest the other day. Yep. Paper with words on it telling me how far to go before making my next turn. Turns out I got there…and back (just reverse the directions).

Lindsey asked how I felt getting rid of it. Scared, I said. Isn’t that sad? I was scared to not have all the convenience at my fingertips.

But being present to what’s happening around us requires making the tough decisions and forsaking what’s good or acceptable for what’s best.

Oh, one more difficulty of not having the iPhone: receiving texts from people with an iPhone that require me to receive four or five separate texts. My texts are much shorter now.


  1. Duanag · January 31, 2014

    So glad I don’t have an iPhone.

    Sent from my Android


    • patricklmitchell · February 1, 2014

      Well played, Duana….Lindsey has greatly benefited from taking the Facebook app off her phone. And a few days in, I already feel freer.

  2. Duanag · January 31, 2014

    But seriously, I took 3 months off social media and by the end I didn’t really even miss it. It was more of a relief to not “have” to check it. It is definitely a struggle to keep the smart phone from being an addiction. But life is possibel without it… I did it for like 20 years before I got one. I’ll be thinking over these ideas much more, thanks for sharing your story.

  3. hennifer jicks · February 4, 2014

    very challenging. I think I might go a week with my phone on “airplane” mode maybe allowing myself a limited # of times where I can switch out. maybe for lent.

    • patricklmitchell · February 7, 2014

      Jen, it’s a worthy challenge! I was just told about sabbathmanifesto.org. Maybe worth checking out.

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