How to de-clutter your devices with an iPhone


I know what you’re thinking, because I have thought all the same things. Is it worth buying out of your current mobile contract? I have no experience with the new network provider- switching back if I’m unhappy due to all the outlay costs are impossible for at least a year. There are too many ‘what ifs’ to count.

Original Publication Date: 5/10/2009 (2020 Updates included - because this article I wrote made me laugh looking back. This article talks about the original iPhone and the updates are about iPhone 11).

Let’s deal with the most basic – will it help you de-clutter and to what extent?

Will the iPhone help me get rid of the need to carry around an mp3 player, camera, Dictaphone or personal voice recorder, laptop, flash drive, pocket flashlight ( yes I have one on my key ring), GPS, PSP gaming and readers for e-books?  What would be the benefits of getting rid of these gadgets? You no longer have to remember to carry them or lug them around. You don’t have to charge them, upload their content or

I have had my iPhone for a month now. Here is what I found.

Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

Mp3 player – Gone
In one swoop my phone and iPod were combined.

I decided on a 16 gig – 1. I already had an 8 gig iPod that was on the verge of full capacity. 2. I also had a case of CD’s I’ve been procrastinating about uploading. 3. I did not want to have the hassle of manually deselecting music or audio books to make my data fit onto an 8 gig.

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Camera – Inadequate (2020 Update - adequate)
The iPhone has a camera that takes great pictures if you are in a well lit environment however since the iPhone does not have a flash forget using it at night or in a dimly lit room. Let’s face it if you have an evening out with friends planned and you’d like to take pictures carry a good digital camera.

Dictaphone or personal voice recorder – Gone (2020 Update - gone - I record into google docs and I let microsoft docs read other people's documents to me.)

The iPhone has 2 great applications that I found work wonderfully. You can email recordings – very long recordings may need to be broken up into zip files and emailed separately. If you are just uploading to your desk top it’s a jiffy.

Laptop – adequate for basic use
If you want to check your email, bank accounts or surf the internet this device is great. What about reading PDF's, word or excel documents on the go? Well that is possible too if you’ve downloaded the right application. Editing documents though seem to be a bit trickier and there for me the iPhone cannot replace a laptop. Then again – until my thumbs can type 60 words a minute or an economical virtual keyboard is invented my laptop is not indispensable.

Flash drive – gone (2020 Update - I recommend an mx master mouse between devices. Also the cloud happened)
The right application and wifi – you can transfer files quickly from your phone to computer and vice-versa. Connect your phone via its USB cord you can then utilize the unused storage space to store data files the same way you can on an iPod.

Photo by Kipras Štreimikis on Unsplash

Pocket flashlight – adequate (2020 Update - gone ditched the keyring torch many years ago)
If you need a faint glow to help you make your way across a room that’s been plummeted into darkness by an electricity outage – the iPhone does the job. However it’s not so good when it comes to lighting your path is that you can gingerly make your way from your car down a winding muddy path to the holiday cottage you’re staying at for the weekend like my trusty key ring torch.

GPS – Adequate (2020 Update - gone excellent, with one exception my garmin sits unused in the trunk of my car waiting for a power outage or cell phone tower outage like the one that happened during the last hurricane where my phone then proved to be totally useless. So download emergency evacuation maps in advance.)
The GPS works great if I’m walking or trying to map out my route from home. However it has no voice prompts and can never replace my car GPS device. If I were traveling and knew I was going to rent a car at my destination I would carry my car GPS. I will be hanging onto my Garmin a while yet.

PSP – keep your PSP charged. (2020 Update - gone - mobile games got me. They got me good.)
Games like chess and checkers work well on the iPhone but I can’t see giving up my PSP yet.

Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Unsplash

eReaders – adequate. (2020 Update - This is very interesting I have bought and keep buying next gen eInk Readers. No glare in sunlight; lightweight; waterproof; 1 month battery life; bluetooth audio [reads book to you too] - during hurricanes, power outages etc or waiting in line at Theme parks this makes them invaluable. More so than any iPad or iphone. Dark mode on iphone is a nice alternative. iBooks is the best app to read ebooks - yet worst platform to purchase or review.)
It works well if I need to read a document for work purposes. I have not however been able to finish a complete book on the iPhone platform. I would far rather have the book open on my laptop. Having used a kindle I can tell you that is a wonderful device for reading but I have no inclination just yet to purchase one until I can keep the contents page open while flipping through the rest of the pages.

2020 Update -

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Fitness Tracker - Keep.
You still need your fitness tracker whether that is an apple watch or heart rate band. It's interesting. I used to be happy with my phone tracking my gps jogging routes and my heart rate monitor doing the math together in my Nike App. Now I want a sleep monitor, something that tells me my heart rate is up, do a little breathing exercise to calm down, perhaps watch your posture. The phone alone does not do this. I want it to track my search habits and shopping habits. How often do I search for junk food, how many starbucks coffees do I get, do I need to change my route to work to avoid the starbucks logo? Track my time reading ebooks, how often I use my remote (hence how much I use/watch apple tv). All this tracking.... does it make me happier. I found that when I track, I do things that are good for me more often, like make the bed and eat vegetables. I did a presentation for a class on this not long ago, and I am very much aware that afterwards I came out of it looking like I perhaps go overboard on this stuff. The truth is, most of this tracking happens in the background. I am too lazy to log - just ask my empty meal tracker.

Heath gadgets - Keep. Some time ago, a number of apps came out that claimed to be able to measure your heart rate with the flashlight on your phone. Perhaps they could. Perhaps. I still like my Withings Heart Rate monitors and Thermometer.

Speakers - Adequate.
Yes, the sound on the new iPhone is powerful. Really powerful enough to listen to. I used to need to listen via a headset or speakers when in a group, now the sound is loud enough to fill a small space. The sound quality is tinny and I think it's only good for short bursts like YouTube videos during your lunch break sort of thing... erm or you know... TikTok. Longer periods - like a dinner party, where sound quality matters etc, pair up some speakers.

Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash
Filming Accessories - 
Gimbal - Keep.
Anamorphic lens - Keep
Lavalier Mic - Keep

Phone Case - KEEP.
Flexibility - because every iphone needs a case. These cases often come with multi-purpose functionality. You can choose one that is a wallet, a headphone storage case, ereader, backup battery etc. Mine used to have a built-in USB charging cable that I could snap out and use.

Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash
Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

Rant  - It's been 10 years. Come on Apple. Remember the days of nokia? Or even the current anything gen from Nintendo. Those are built for use, drops from a typical pant pocket. I think 10 years is enough R and D time to come up with some structural integrity.

That's something I didn't realize when I first bought my iPhone - all the peripherals that I would purchase along with it. The car charging port, the bluetooth headphone, the pop-socket, the apple watch and the list goes on. The charging cables are notoriously flimsy. However now we have wireless charging. So there's that device. I'm not saying having these added things is bad. I'm saying... I didn't start counting these additions at the point before purchase, at the consideration stage. I wish I had.

Here is my conclusion from 2009:

After all of that my conclusion is – it’s a great phone and iPod combination. It fetches my email, stores information and is fabulous for social networking, Wordpress blogging and handling my finances.  It’s an adequate flashlight, camera and GPS. So although it hasn’t replaced my laptop it has reduced the need for me to carry it around as often as I would have previously.

1 comment

Jhenny054 said...

That is exactly what I have been struggling with a few months ago, but with this list help me see that route will lead the the ideal minimal life if I just allow myself to make those switches. I have those thoughts of "What if" often, and it goes towards "What if I don't have this and lose that" but with the cloud and a capable phone as you point out the phone can handle so many of what I thought I could not live without.