How You are Wasting your Phone’s Potential

Phones are simultaneously the most ubiquitous and the most underutilized advancement of the last hundred years. Almost every age-appropriate member of a first-world country owns one, but many people use their phones as mobile web/Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Reddit browsers with messaging and an alarm clock.

Phones can do so much more than those three things that it’s almost criminal that so many people throw down $500, $1,000, or more on a brand new device, and do nothing with the power that couldn’t be achieved on a device a fraction of the cost of the cost, with no loss in user experience. It’s like buying a fully-loaded Tesla Model S and using it exclusively to heat bagels on the seat warmers. Yes, it’s fully capable of heating bagels, but there’s obviously a lot more that a car can do than just warming bread.

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There’s also a lot more that a phone can do than messaging your friends, looking at worthless photos on Instagram, and waking you up for work. The iPhone 4, from way back in 2010, is as powerful as the Cray-2 supercomputer from the mid-1980s. However, while the Cray-2 was used for nuclear weapons, oceanographic, and energy research, 2019-era smartphones are being used as momentary distractions and alarm clocks. Hardly the best use of all of that computing power. 

 As an aside, can we start calling phones what they actually are? While they share some of the features of old school landline telephones (instant communication over long distances), there are a lot more differences than similarities between the two. “Smartphone” is a far more fitting name for the thing in your pocket right now; a communicator device with a thousand other uses, and enough computing power to complete any conceivable consumer-focused task quickly and efficiently. Calling this thing a “phone” throws away all of the amazing and fantastical things that we can do, right from our pockets, that were almost unimaginable less than twenty years ago.

Smartphones have big screens, which is great for looking at stuff with, but they also have powerful processors, fast internet connections, Bluetooth, GPS, and, most importantly, are designed to always be on and ready for action. 

With all this gear on board, a smartphone can enrich your life if you know how to use it. Here’s what I use my iPhone for almost every day:

  1. Time-, location-, and car-based reminders (both recurring and once-off)

  2. Time management 

  3. Item tracking via bluetooth tags (wallet, keys, etc)

  4. Maintaining Stoski social media 

  5. Producing Stoski content (audio, video, text, and image)

  6. Monitoring Stoski analytics 

  7. Searching for real life items in my house on an excel database

  8. Financial activities (stock market, etc)

  9. Location-based notifications pushed to family members’ iPhones

  10. E-books, podcasts, and general reading

This article was also written on my iPhone, laying in bed, basking in the light of a lava lamp. I barely looked at Reddit at all! 

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I’ll never understand the thought process of people who only use their smartphones for messaging and browsing internet stuff. Even by using simple reminders and calendar entries, life would be made so much easier! Throw some extra effort and know-how in, and you can fan-dangle yourself an excellent device that will add to your life in a multitude of ways.

Your device should work for you to make your life better and easier, not merely waste time looking at pictures online. Take some time to bum around settings and apps, and see what in your life can be made more efficient with a digital assistant. It’s like an internet screen that does other things! Wow!