How To Unplug From The Internet (But Still Stay Connected)
We are all addicts. Everywhere I look, I can’t help but see people with their necks craned to the default phone-viewing angle that looks something like a submissive bow. But, there’s hope.
Even when I’m on my phone, I think I’m better than most, when in reality I’m checking the Twitter, Gab, Instagram, Drudge and others more often than I’d care to tell you. I wish the LAPD would pull MORE people over too. I see too many people still fiddling with their phones while driving. Stop. #ItCanWait.
Now, my mechanism for zen away from the Internet still involves staying connected, albeit in a concentrated, filtered, trimmed-down form.
Well, the downside is it’ll cost you a smartwatch. In my case, an Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE. And now that I’ve just told you what it costs, you can probably guess what my trick is.
The upsides are many.
Today, it almost gives people more anxiety/withdrawal being away from the Internet than had we just stayed connected in the first place. I realize how counterintuitive this is on its face. Unplug by being connected? Sounds dumb. Some of you will probably roll your eyes at the idea.
I hate giving Big Tech like Apple some shine, when they and their colleagues are clearly an existential threat to our culture and inalienable rights. Yet, I have to tip my hat to them in this instance.
I often leave my iPhone at home and can now do the following thanks to an LTE Apple Watch:
- Place/receive calls, manage voicemails (who still leaves voicemails anyway?).
- Send/receive texts, emails (emails are limited...in a good way).
- Use Apple Pay to buy stuff from point-of-sale merchants.
- Use Apple Pay for peer-to-peer payments among friends + family, acquaintances.
- Schedule or live tweet using Buffer (those brilliant tweets you think up in the shower can now be unleashed on the world).
- Record voice memos using the Just Press Record app.
- Use Lyft/Uber.
- Read news (though it’s limited to the first couple of paragraphs, and I don’t use this feature that often).
- Get my most important notifications from apps running on my iPhone. Fine tuning what alerts belong on my wrist is key to making the Apple Watch work and will vary for everyone.
- Listen to podcasts via the excellent Outcast app.
- Stream 40 million songs, not including the 8GBs or so of music I keep loaded on my Watch. Radio of all kinds too.
- Get walking/driving/public transport directions.
- Use an ATM via Apple Pay.
- Schedule calendar events and reminders.
- Swim/workout/hit the gym.
- Call 911 with GPS to help locate me, especially helpful if you’re around TDS-infected people like Antifa, have chronic injuries like a bad back that could render you immobile, etc.
- Ask Siri for whatever you need.
Here are the things I can’t do:
- Waste endless amounts of time scrolling social feeds.
- Open apps that don’t need opening.
- Read too much fluff news.
- Radically reduce screen time because of the arm position required, small interface.
- Take pictures/selfies.
- Can’t be the jerk who’s always half-paying attention gripping a phone. You have my attention.
- No iPhone to fiddle with when driving.
Though this list isn’t exhaustive, you can see the Apple Watch that had many trashing it when it first came out (some of that criticism was richly deserved) is actually quite useful. Truthfully, it’s my favorite device, followed by my iPad Pro. Muh trusty iPhone is more of an afterthought these days; this is a radical role reversal.
One perfect example of the LTE Apple Watch keeping you connected without being too connected is reading. Taking a book and the LTE Apple Watch somewhere away from your iPhone, like a park, cafe or different part of your property eliminates all those distractions or the urge to check the Internet.
Plus, there are those times where you forget to charge your phone and need to go. Now, in many instances, you can leave without your iPhone.
My wireless carrier does charge $10/month for the right to piggyback on my iPhone’s data bucket. I think $5/month would be a fairer price. Still, I get enough utility to justify the expense.
I haven’t even touched on my favorite feature, which is the fitness tracking stuff. It’s not the focus of this post. There’s plenty written about staying fit and learning about your heart on countless other sites that do a better job of kissing Apple’s backside than I do.
All that said, I don’t recommend heavy amounts of calls on the LTE Apple Watch or leaving your phone at home all day. Though the battery is impressive, this isn’t for rolling heavy amounts of calls away from your iPhone.
What I am saying is the LTE Apple Watch offers slices of time (e.g. night out on the town, hiking, running errands, shopping, reading, etc.) where you can ditch your iPhone + be chill, present and focused, while remaining able to use the Internet for core things. For men, your pockets will feel a lot lighter too. One less thing radiating signals near the Crown Jewels.
Of course, this lifehack requires extra cash to buy an LTE Apple Watch (or corresponding Android Wear LTE watch, but I dislike Google far more than Apple). Is it expensive? Yes. Roughly $400 on a mechanical watch will get you a nice piece of hardware that is, in a sense, future proof, yet lacks all this functionality.
What price would you pay to be more present, less distracted?
It’s worth mulling over. It’s improved my life considerably.