Life Before Smartphones

We used to have to do so many things separately, using different modes of communication, and now we can take care of everything all from the little, powerful device we carry with us in our pockets and handbags.

Here are 13 things you relied upon before the digital age, including smartphones and the Internet, which you can now use your smartphone for:

1. Landline and Basic Cell Phones

Before smartphones, you relied on your landline phone more than anything. It was a simpler time. You remembered all of your friends’ phone numbers and got caught up with having to talk to their parents when they answered the phone. It was like playing phone call roulette, which was super awkward when you were trying to get a hold of your middle school girlfriend.

Now you’re able to call, text, video chat, Facebook, Tweet, Snapchat (etc.) all of the important people in your life right from your smartphone. There are so many easy ways to stay in touch.

2. Address Books

Speaking of landline phones, does anybody remember having an address and phone number book that became the most important document you had in your home. It was jam-packed full of friend and family contact information, and if you misplaced it you would be completely lost.




Enter: smartphones with automatic backup. Now, even if you do accidentally lose, break, or drown your phone, all of your contact information is safe for eternity. Hallelujah.

3. Fax Machines

Do you all remember those years where fax machines were relevant and necessary? They instantly became public enemy number one in all workplaces because of how unreliable and frustrating sending and receiving fax was.




Did you know, now you can download an app on your smartphone that allows you to scan your important documents and securely send them via email? Seriously, is there anything your smartphone can’t do?!

4. Meeting Places

This is probably one of the cooler things to happen before technology took over the world. Once upon a time, a group of people had to plan meeting places to hang out. They would call each other on their landline to make plans or agree to something earlier that day, or even days in advance, and then by the power of the universe, they would just show up to these meeting places at the appropriate time. Or, you know, they didn’t show up, and you had no way of contacting them.

Now, with smartphones, everybody can get into contact with you no matter where you are at. Two minutes late to that lunch date? Expect a phone call, text, and Tweet about you.

5. Newspapers, Magazines and Paperback Books

Print media used to be ALL the rage. Everybody subscribed to their local newspaper, a handful of magazines that were relevant to their interests, and had bookshelves full of books. Stacks of newspapers and magazines could be found in any home.




Now everything is online, and conveniently on all of your smart devices. You can subscribe to your favorite newspapers, magazines, and books and read them wherever you are. Not to mention, Twitter, Google, and Facebook have nationwide media covered!

6. Mailed Letters

Once upon a time checking the mailbox used to be awesome. Not only did your daily mail include your newspaper and magazine subscriptions, but you also used to get real letters and not just bills, advertisements, and, um, more bills?!

There are just so many easier and faster ways to get into contact than the day or two it takes to deliver a letter. Even when it comes to setting up events, such as birthday parties and baby showers, it’s so much easier to just create a Facebook group, invite all of your friends, and within a day you can know who is and isn’t coming, all while letting them know where and when the party will be.

7. Paper Maps and Directions

A long, long time ago, you used to have to travel the open road without a British accent coming from your phone telling you what to do, where to turn, and yelling at you when you needed to re-route! You needed paper maps and had to draw out your route before even setting out on your trip. I don’t miss those days at all.

GPS is the best thing to ever happen. You can never get lost. You just get in your car and drive to the destination you need to get to, no questions asked. Sick of the traffic? You can find an alternate route, and your GPS will let you know what the traffic is like on those roads. There is nothing more amazing than this, and it doesn’t even cost extra. A – MAZ – ING.

8. Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

On everybody’s shelf growing up were two of the most important resources you could own; an encyclopedia set and a dictionary. These were your lifeline to knowledge. Just think about how you had to solve arguments back in the day:

Person 1: “Didn’t the British and Americans have a tea party back in the 1700s to resolve all of their disputes?”
Person 2: “Uhhhhh, no, I’m like 100% sure that is definitely not what happened.”
Person 1: “Let me consult my T encyclopedia!”

Now people can solve arguments in seconds with the power of Google. Seconds! Smartphones make you smarter. It’s science.

9. Radios/Walkmans/CD Players

The evolution of listening to music has been a great one. The radio had been around forever, and then all of a sudden you were popping your favorite tapes into your Walkman and rocking out in your neon-colored sweater and acid-washed jeans. Then came the CD player. The only thing you had to worry about with that was it skipping (hello shockproof CD players) and scratching your CD.




Now all music is digital, and it is amazing. You can choose to download all of your favorite songs and they will copy to all of your other smart devices, or you can even just choose to stream your favorite genre of music using Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, and more. I’ll admit, Walkmans were cool in the 80s, but it doesn’t even compare to having music on the one device you carry with you everywhere… your phone.

10. Brick and Mortar Stores

Ah yes, the brick and mortar. Growing up, in order to buy what you wanted, you only had two choices: Stay in town and shop at the local brick and mortar, or drive to a city and go to the shopping mall. It was great to support your local stores, but they didn’t carry everything you wanted. Also, having to pay your bills in the store every month was pretty inconvenient, too.

Now when you really want something, you have every option, from every store, right from your smart device. I still believe you should shop local and support your local economy, but when you’re really dying for that new pair of Nikes, you gotta do what you gotta do, and that would be to go to their online store and purchase them that minute! Also, online bill pay rules. Your bills being automatically paid for each month without having to waste a letter, stamp, or time. Yes, please.

11. High School Reunions

Remember when people used to go to High School reunions to catch up with their classmates, see what’s new, where they’re working, who they’re married to, how many kids they have, who makes the most money, yadda, yadda, yadda?




Now… Facebook.

12. Printed Photos

Do you all remember the times when you had to take a photo into your local photo development center, wait a couple of days, and then finally see how they turned out?! You would then stuff all of these photos into separate photobooks (one for vacations, one for birthdays, and one for celebrations) to share with friends and family in person.

Now you’re able to take a selfie with every meal you’re eating, every day, if you’d like, and share them with all of your friends across all of your favorite social networks. #chickenmcnuggets
In all seriousness, it is pretty awesome how easy it is to be able to share all of your memories. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Now your friends and family can share in your precious moments every step of the way.

13. Cookbooks

A book full of people’s favorite recipes? Is there anything better than that? You used them to spice up your supper life, and even to learn how to cook in general, after you thumbed through all of the appropriate pages.

Except there is something better than cookbooks. Finding any recipe possible online, submitted by people all across the world, just by searching for a keyword. Discover new recipes, save your favorites, and even create a shopping list of all the ingredients you need.

Smartphones are such fantastic devices. They have helped to keep your loved ones easier to stay in contact with, make your job easier, make life more fun, and even make you smarter (kind of), with all the answers right at your fingertips. Would you go back to the old days before the Internet and smartphones, or are you excited to see what is yet to come?

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