If you keep a phone around long enough, it becomes a vestige of an old version of yourself, or even many former versions of yourself.
Regrettable texts, untouched apps, and pointless screenshots are scattered on its internal storage. The cloud makes it worse by making these files available even when we get a new phone. It’s a gigantic mess that’s never worth sorting through, especially when it’s so easy to bring back the old files.
But my iPhone X has given me a new lease on life. Rather than backing up my musty old data from Apple, I’m just letting it go. No old apps. No old contacts. Nothing’s old. It’s a completely fresh start.
For the last decade, whenever I’ve purchased or received a new iPhone, I would essentially make it the same old phone. Apple’s iTunes lets you “Restore Backup,” so the new phone is filled with all the same apps, in the same exact order, all the saved music, all the text messages. It’s a new device, but for me, it was essentially the same experience because all my information remained in tact.
I’m staring over with the iPhone X. No backup. Everything (except the Notes stored in my iCloud) is being downloaded individually from the App Store. One day into this experiment, I’m not regretting it. It feels refreshing to think about every app I download and to see which text threads are actually active.
Why now? Well, to be honest, I didn’t initially plan on it. When I tried to set my iPhone X via iTunes, it kept saying the password was wrong. It wasn’t.
I complained about it in work Slack only to then consider, with the encouragement of my coworkers, to start new. When I brought it up to friends in a texting group, another friend said she’d done it with her last phone.
But it’s time to move on and let those texts disappear.
One of the biggest pros (and my friend agrees) is there are no old text messages to search and scroll through. Yeah, I’m talking about a decade of texts. In my old life, with my old phones, I would spend free time (many subway rides) re-reading fights with exes and thinking about where we both went wrong.
Sure, not everything is bad about revisiting the past. It was nice seeing the early texts between me and my boyfriend. It was also fun having the occasional trip down memory lane in my college group chat.
But it’s time to move on and let those texts disappear. One day in, and I have five text threads: two groups threads and three from close friends.
As for my contacts, I’m adding them back one-by-one. I did want to text a friend last night and couldn’t remember his number so I admittedly did open up my old phone and add him back. But for now, it’s nice to see who I prioritize and vice versa.
Another freedom is I don’t have so many useless apps clogging up storage space. On my iPhone 7, I had hundreds of apps sorted into my 24 favorite apps on my first screen and then 20 folders on my second screen.
Part of that burden comes with my job. I’ll download most apps people pitch me and give it a try. I also kept a folder of dead apps: Meerkat, Yik Yak, Facebook Notify, Facebook Rooms, etc.).
Sure, my old phone seemed somewhat organized. I created that folder strategy back in October when I was so frustrated by having five different screens. Most times I just used the search bar to find the app rather than dare swipe around. But why were they all there? Why do I still need Meerkat when it seriously doesn’t work anymore?
With my new phone, I have one screen of my favorite apps. The second screen features only the Settings app, the App Store, and one folder of Apple’s apps (as in all the nonsense that comes preloaded on your phone and most I’ll never click on).
My new phone also has motivated me to delete the Facebook app. No, I’m not going full delete. Per recommendations from friends, I’ve decided just to use Facebook via the mobile web when I need it so I’m no longer browsing mindlessly through News Feed.
With time, my phone will surely be filled with more useless stuff. This morning, I had to download Lyft, Google Maps, and the Delta app when I remembered I would be traveling later today. For now, it’s a cleanse that I’m really appreciating when I think about the new year to come.
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