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My Yellow Bricked Road, or the Day I Gave Up on the iPhone


Confession: I'm a slave to my iPhone. Apple is too good, and Screen Time has confirmed my worst fear... I'm addicted to my phone. I'm not going to drop numbers on you, but I'm close to spending multiple days a week looking at my iPhone device. Yes, I'm a technical, innovative guy. I mean, DIGITAL is literally in the company name... But when I look at my usage stats, unfortunately, I see someone sloppily, unintentionally, obsessively using mobile technology to the detriment of the physical environment. And that's not good.

I've really felt this way for a while.

  • I've made my iPhone display grayscale in order to combat my addiction. (It kinda worked).
  • I've considered going back to a flip phone like the MOTO RAZR. (Remember trying to text using the numeric keyboards? My brain hurts at the thought).
  • My kids even make fun of me because I put a parental restriction on my phone for how long I can play games on my phone daily.

Last week my iPhone XR yellow bricked. Like DOA. No power, nothing. It tanked on me at about 9:30 am, and I was away from the office pretty much all day. Honestly, it was the best, most-focused day I've had in a while. And it's not because I was disconnected from technology.

If you know me, you know I'm an Apple Fanboy, so even though my iPhone was bricked, I've got at least two other Apple Devices on me at all times... my Apple Watch 4 Cellular, and my Apple AirPods. While my phone bricked, the Watch and AirPods quickly became my communication hub for the day since I was out of the office.

Several interesting things happened that day: I was much more aware of the physical environment. In addition, I still had access to the communication I needed. The watch pinged me on text, social media, or important email notifications. But it really stopped there. The distracting, time-sucking notifications that pop up on the iPhone? Well, there's no way to execute them on the Watch.

When programmers develop for most devices, they aren't worried about how long people work on those devices. Someone working on a laptop for hours? That's normal. Working on an iPhone minutes at a time? That's typical... but the Apple Watch? These engagements are meant to last for seconds. As in <5sec. Because who's going to stare at their watch for hours trying to do something on a tiny display! Even +10sec staring at a watch is awkward. Smartwatches are based on glances. And that's awesome.

So when EA's App Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes sends me a notification on my watch that I have restored my energy blah blah blah and I should play the game? I would normally reach for my phone. But on that day I couldn't, cause my iPhone was bricked. As a result, truthfully, the world seemed brighter.

The iPhone still has its purposes. For me:

  • My Jeep has CarPlay, and my other addiction of Podcasts (as well GPS Navigation) requires the phone tethered to the Jeep.
  • Because I'm very mobile for my work, I use the Personal Hotspot feature a lot to get my laptop online.
  • Apple requires an iPhone for Apple Watch updates, etc.
So, the iPhone Device definitely has a place. I've just given this particular device too much power in my life, and I need to take some of it's power back... because I don't want to go all the way back to a flip phone. 

Does this mean I'm disavowing my love of technology? Hardly.
All mobile technology is distracting? Never said that.
This blog post is an indictment against Church Online? Don't read between the lines

For me, it's time to be more intentional with my... time. Position myself with the right technological tools in the right environments to do the jobs necessary. I don't work for my iPhone. The phone, like all my other devices, work for me.

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About Author

Jeff Reed
Jeff Reed

With about 20 years experience serving the church in the digital/technological realm, Jeff loves working with churches. As passionate about Discipleship as he is Technology, Jeff uses his passion to help Churches develop technology systems to bring people far from God closer to him. Oh, and he loves Digital Church & Church Online.

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