I’m Gen Z, and I ditched my iPhone for the Light Phone II for a week


My title is Jennimai, and I am hooked on my iPhone.

As a Gen Z-er, I can barely bear in mind a time earlier than smartphones. My first cellphone was a purple monster with a sliding display. I traded it in for my first iPhone in 2013 and by no means appeared again.

I do every little thing on my telephone: textual content, FaceTime, mindlessly scroll for hours and hours. I can hardly think about going even a day with out touching my telephone, and I have no real interest in the resurgence of nostalgic tech the remainder of my technology is so intrigued by. So, think about how I felt when I turned off my beloved iPhone for a week.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone 13 and 13 mini evaluate: It is all about the battery life

Sure, pricey reader, I tried to not use my iPhone for seven entire days. Instead, I used the Light Phone II, which launched in 2018 through Kickstarter after a profitable run of the unique Light Phone in 2015. This is the way it went.

What the heck is a Light Phone?

The Light Phone II is neither a smartphone nor classic flip telephone, so utilizing it meant I misplaced out on each comfort and cool woman vibes. As an alternative, it’s an especially fundamental telephone that primarily sends and receives texts and telephone calls. Since I had the II model, I might additionally obtain podcasts and music, however taking part in them wasn’t simple – extra on that later.

The Light Phone II and everything that comes in the box – which is literally just the charging cord. Figure out your own adapter!

The Light Phone II and every little thing that is available in the field – which is actually simply the charging wire. Work out your individual adapter!
Credit score: Mashable/Jennimai Nguyen

For $299, which will get you the telephone and a charging cable, the Light Phone guarantees that can assist you unplug from the social media-obsessed and overly linked world whereas nonetheless delivering the most essential telephone features. To make use of it, you must present your individual suitable SIM card or enroll for a separate telephone service by way of Light Phone, which prices $30/month or $70/month relying on the quantity of information. I opted to make use of my current SIM, which additionally ensured that I could not actually cheat and use my iPhone throughout the week.

By way of options, the Light Phone II purposely does not have many. It is about 3.8 inches x 2.2 inches, sufficiently small to really feel tiny in my already fairly small fingers. It has a headphone jack, a micro USB charging port, quantity buttons, and a fundamental menu button. All the things is centered round the E-Ink display, the similar dimmable, paper-like display discovered on Kindles. It does not emit any blue mild, making it extraordinarily simple on the eyes.

Very smol telephone suits wonderful in my smol fingers.

Credit score: Mashable/Jennimai Nguyen

Quantity/navigation buttons on the prime and backside, fundamental menu button in the center.

Credit score: Mashable/Jennimai Nguyen

Briefly, the Light Phone II is the most boring telephone round. It is meant to disconnect you as a lot as attainable from the trendy world, a purpose I discovered each admirable and abhorrent.

At first, the Light Phone was type of a lovely reprieve.

I agreed to tackle this story as a result of I in truth felt like I wanted it. I’d been enthusiastic about my social media and telephone utilization for the previous couple months, and realized that I spent far an excessive amount of time on each. I do not have actual numbers as a result of I refuse to show my Display Time report on – principally for concern of laborious proof that I spend upwards of 12 hours a day on my telephone.

Whereas I do not have numbers, I do have actual conditions that paint the image of my dependancy. Earlier than the Light Phone, I fell asleep each evening scrolling by way of TikTok. I do not imply perusing the app for a little too lengthy earlier than getting some shuteye; each single evening, I scrolled till my eyes bodily closed from exhaustion and I drifted off whereas nonetheless holding my iPhone. Whereas working from residence, I’d continuously decide up my telephone for no cause in any respect, select a social media app to mindlessly scroll, and look as much as see a complete hour had handed. I continuously felt phantom buzzes, considering I acquired a textual content or notification when nothing had are available. Each time that occurred, I felt weirdly dissatisfied and unhappy.

Suffice to say, I felt like my iPhone managed me greater than I managed it. I considered deleting apps, however I at all times got here up with an excuse to maintain them. And in keeping with a examine from researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Texas, even the mere presence of a smartphone can scale back your potential to focus and carry out duties. A part of your mind is simply too busy specializing in not utilizing your telephone, and the nearer your telephone is, the extra distracted you get. The extra reliant you might be in your smartphone, the much less cognitive capability and fluid intelligence is out there when your iPhone is close by – one thing the examine calls “smartphone-induced mind drain.”

Primarily, even when I deleted some apps, my emotional dedication to my iPhone prevents me from really being free and centered. I needed to totally eliminate it.

My first two days utilizing the Light Phone, I felt like I was lastly escaping. That is the Light Phone’s greatest benefit: It has completely no potential to host exterior apps. It could possibly’t connect with the Apple’s App Retailer or Google Play, and any software program updates are completed annoyingly on a desktop web site.

Slicing off entry to my favourite apps was the solely method I might give them up. In my first two days utilizing the Light Phone, I completed a entire guide in lower than 24 hours, one thing I hadn’t completed since center college. I learn earlier than mattress, chatted with my boyfriend, and then simply rolled over and closed my eyes to go to sleep. I barely even checked the Light Phone for notifications, as a result of the show for texts was so unexciting – no emoji, no message reactions, nothing to maintain me engaged.

These first two days had been bliss. Then issues acquired annoying.

Being connection-free is a downside

All through the remainder of the week, I realized that nobody else was dwelling the Light Phone life. I imply, I clearly knew that, however being disconnected from the digital world whereas everybody else was very a lot plugged in created a plethora of points.

Initially, you must flip off iMessage in your iPhone so that each one texts redirect as an SMS to the Light Phone. Thus, I turned the dreaded inexperienced bubble. Any time I texted, group chat or solo, somebody commented on it. That is a very minor downside – and admittedly, fairly distinctive to Gen Z – however I genuinely was embarrassed to textual content my iMessage buddies, which is just about everybody I usually discuss to. The disgrace ran so deep that I principally stopped texting the remainder of the week.

This is what texting on the Light Phone looks like: small and annoying.

That is what texting on the Light Phone appears like: small and annoying.
Credit score: Mashable/Jennimai Nguyen

This was half inexperienced bubble paranoia, but in addition partly because of a bodily annoyance. Like I talked about, the Light Phone itself is sort of small, with the display being even smaller. Texting on it was actually a nightmare for my fingers, which I take into account to be fairly deft. Each letter additionally took about a second to register earlier than showing on display, so popping off a fast “hey, what’s up?” took 10 instances longer than on an iPhone. Making an attempt to kind a textual content rant? Completely not a chance. I ended up simply avoiding different individuals, or calling if it was completely needed.

Certain, in some senses, this was a constructive. I wasn’t texting simply to textual content, as I usually do. However it made me miss out on a lot of enjoyable little moments with my buddies. My greatest pal was at a wedding ceremony that weekend, and I could not get a play-by-play of any drama through textual content. The Light Phone additionally does not ship or obtain footage (it does not even have a digicam), so I could not take a look at my nephews’ child pics that my sister continuously sends me. It felt good to not be tethered to my telephone, but it surely felt not so good to be not noted of small, joyful moments.

Throughout the week, I additionally went to a pal’s condominium for the first time since she’d moved there. I did not know get to the new tackle, so I tried to make use of the Light Phone’s Instructions characteristic. Sadly, it doesn’t come pre-installed. Customers need to obtain the Instructions, Music, and Podcast instruments onto their telephones through the Light Phone dashboard on their laptop. That half wasn’t too laborious. However getting the instruments to truly work? A nightmare.

The Dashboard has a very minimalist look – fitting.

The Dashboard has a very minimalist look – becoming.
Credit score: Screenshot: Light Phone

The Light Phone ought to have had entry to my limitless information telephone plan through my SIM card, however I discovered that the Instructions software by no means loaded when I was off WiFi.

I hypothesized that the loading situation had one thing to do with how the Light Phone was accessing the merged Dash/T-Cell information plan I have, as the Light Phone is suitable with T-Cell, however not Dash. When I requested Light Phone about the loading situation and my concept, cofounder Joe Hollier mentioned “the lack of information looks like the most believable cause,” however was unable to supply a positive reply. He did counsel the information points may very well be solved by utilizing a T-Cell-specific SIM card, as he personally makes use of. When the Instructions software did load, it displayed strolling, driving, and public transportation choices.

You must click on on every particular person software that you simply wish to add in the Dashboard.

Credit score: Screenshot: Light Phone

For Music, you even have so as to add particular person songs.

Credit score: Screenshot: Light pHone

With Podcasts and Music, customers need to obtain the apps and the particular person songs and episodes they wish to take heed to. The Light Phone solely has 8 GB of storage, so that you do need to be a little choosy.

Once more, even when I did the requisite steps, I could not get the media to load when not linked to WiFi. I’d like to inform you what the audio high quality was like, however I merely by no means heard it. When I requested Light Phone about this situation, Hollier informed me, “There isn’t a good rationalization as this isn’t a problem we’re seeing with different customers. There may be a likelihood that the podcasts you had been attempting to take heed to is not supported (our software pulls from the collection of free Apple Podcast RSS library), generally this would possibly occur if a present goes unique say, to Spotify or different paid platforms, however ideally it wouldn’t be an possibility if not supported.” To notice, I was attempting to entry the Betches podcast, which is out there on Apple Podcasts.

SEE ALSO: MacBooks aren’t the solely nice laptops — and this record proves it

The opposite fundamental situation I had with utilizing the Light Phone was largely because of the nature of my job. You see, having a job in digital media whereas actively disconnecting from all media was powerful, to say the least. I additionally make Mashable’s Snapchat and TikTok content material, which I do totally on my iPhone. To do my job and hold these platforms working, I really could not put my iPhone away. Sure, I cheated on my week of being iPhone-free, but it surely was essential to receives a commission, OK?

There have been different small annoyances throughout the week: I could not snooze the alarm on the Light Phone. Typically my texts simply would not ship. I could not take any footage of a beautiful date in Central Park with my boyfriend. The vibration setting was too quiet, whereas the ringer was too loud. I could not scan a QR code menu whereas out at a restaurant. I could not name forward to my hair salon when I was working late, as a result of I did not have its quantity saved. I could not signal on to Slack from the cell app whereas nonetheless in mattress (sorry, boss!).

For a few of these issues, I additionally cheated with my iPhone, which I ended up carrying round with me in case of emergency. Do not get me flawed, if it wasn’t important, I simply sucked it up and figured it out, or forgoed it. Like when I made it to my hair salon, I simply tipped further effectively as a result of they waited for me. However I wanted issues like a maps software, so I would screenshot my Apple Maps app whereas at residence on WiFi, then examine it whereas out on my service-less iPhone.

Having to finish up carrying a number of gadgets round turned extra of a stressor, as I was continuously checking my pockets to ensure I hadn’t misplaced them. Perhaps this may have been much less of a downside for a much less anxious individual, however alas, I was continuously pressured. Is not that the reverse of how the Light Phone was alleged to make me really feel?

The Light Phone has advantages, however I in all probability will not use it once more.

After a full week of the Light Phone, I was thirsting to return to my iPhone. I actually did love utilizing the Light Phone the first two days, however a week of contemporary expectations from buddies, household, and work jogged my memory that disconnecting from the world is de facto a privilege, one which I actually simply do not have.

I acknowledge that a few of my complaints had been very Gen Z – like my inexperienced bubble disgrace, and having no sense of route. However the actuality is, everybody in my life expects me to be plugged in. I can’t unplug if I wish to proceed to be an environment friendly worker, a daughter and sister who retains in contact midway throughout the nation, and a pal who is often simply a textual content away.

The proper use case for the Light Phone is intentional, short-lived unplugging. Maybe I would change over to it after a notably demanding week to loosen up on the weekend. Or on a dream trip, the place I wish to absolutely absorb my environment and be unreachable.

However let’s be sincere: Given the alternative, I’d nonetheless decide my iPhone, 10 instances out of 10. Would it not be higher for me to choose the Light Phone each now and then? In all probability, however some habits die laborious.

Discover associated content material: