How many features do you honestly use on your phone? Let’s chat…
I like to be as frank with you as possible – so right from the top, I’m going to say I’m a very happy iPhone user who is happily sitting behind Apple’s walled garden – you that ecosystem.
I’ve written recently about how the phone and the OS we use tend to reflect our personalities – which is something I stand by. We choose the phone that best suits our day-to-day needs which makes sense.
But at every conference, whether it’s WWDC, the iPhone event in September or even the recent Samsung Unpacked event what all the companies are keen to tell us about is the new features and functions of their apps and devices.
I get it – they are marketing events after all and it’s their job to convince us of valid reasons to part with our cash. But over the past few days, I’ve begun to think about how bloated and overloaded our devices with AI-led features and fancy functions – I’ve started to question where it all ends.
For some odd reason, the iPhone is often referred to as boring or somehow lacks character or soul.
If the definition of boring is that it doesn’t come packed with as many AI gimmicks as say the Pixel 8 Pro or Galaxy S24 Ultra, then I suppose that it’s guilty as charged. But if we start to look at what we use on our phones every day that is where I think we start to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Looking at my use case my iPhone 15 Prom Max tends to play a fairly secondary part to my day. Even though I spend my days writing and making content about this gear, my needs are fairly basic.
A lot of the time it’s used as an authentication device as a gateway to apps and websites that I use. You’ll quite likely know that last year I tightened up my online security which means many apps – for instance, WordPress that I use to publish these stories each day are layered behind the Google Authenticator app on my iPhone. Adobe uses my phone to verify it’s me as does Xero, the account package I use to run my business. So in the first instance, my phone tends to be a fancy password keeper.
I use it for checking the bank and since last summer primarily use it to make payments online where possible. I use my phone to check socials throughout the day – which for me means Instagram, Twitter, Telegram and occasionally WhatsApp.
I use it to check my YouTube Studio stats but rarely watch content on it – I’m one of those weird ones who watch most of my YouTube content on the TV…yeah I know…oh and I check Apple News on it.
But that is about it – it’s used as a phone now and again and of course, in the car, I use the iPhone for Apple CarPlay and Apple Maps.
One of the things I use my iPhone most is Apple Pay – I can’t recall the last time I took my debit cards out with me. I love Apple Pay – one of the best things ever…
The camera will get used most days but more often than not just for family snaps and quick grab shots…but that is about it – it’s all just simple routine day-to-day stuff.
I don’t know how that resonates with you and your uses, but that brings me to the main point of this story – have we reached overload?
Too much already…
I watched the Samsung Event – partly because it’s what I kind of cover but also because I’m a massive nerd and find it interesting – but that is when I started to sit back and think about just what route we are heading down with phones now – either iPhones or Androids.
Looking back at last summer’s WWDC and the most recent Samsung event we were swamped by innovations – a dazzling array – but how many do you or I really use or need?
At WWDC Apple mentioned Live Voicemails, Stickers & Reactions – remember them? Nope, me neither…
Then of course there was SharePlay for Apple CarPlay…have you ever used it or even remembered it was there to use on your iPhone? As for Check-in, I used it once and it nearly scared to death the person I sent it to! I think initially they thought I’d been in an RTA!
And there are extra functions hidden away within apps we use all the time that I bet you’ve possibly never used. When was the last time you shot a long exposure photo on your iPhone and altered the depth of field after you shot an image?
Visual Look Up is yet another exciting new feature that I’d forgotten about…the list goes on…but Apple and iPhone are not the only ones guilty of feature overload.
You can do what?
Samsung as you may know have leant heavily into AI with their flagship phone.
At Unpacked Samsung spoke about Note Assist (which may be useful), Chat Assist, Live Translate and Transcript Assist.
Now, it may just be me that is the odd one out here but life is not a staged event. I don’t routinely take handwritten notes that need tidying up or phone calls translated in real-time…clever as it is.
As for Message Assist – give me strength. If you’ve not heard about this feature, it adds a tone to your texts and messages. AI will lend your text a tone – so you can type as you normally would and then give it a polite, catchy or you can even choose a Shakespearean tone…lord help me…
Enough is enough
I’ve had the S24 Ultra in the checkout basket for a week now and have still not bought it. I am intrigued to get my hands on it, but in honesty, I guess I know I’m happy with my iPhone so what would buying it prove? Yes, I need content to write and make videos about, but I also want to stay in my lane and be straight with you.
Slab phones all look pretty much the same and perform tasks in a very similar way. They are all fast and now have decent enough batteries so I guess the only way that Apple, Samsung or Google feel they can force us to part with our cash is by bloating them with endless and sometimes needless features and functions.
But the other point is, that there are so many of these tricks that we forget they are even there or how to use them if we do remember them. Emergency SOS – would you know how to use it on your iPhone if the worst happened?
These phones are great – iPhone, Galaxy or Pixel but it will always come down to your preferences and taste as to which one you use.
I use the iPhone for several reasons but familiarity is right up there as one of the main ones. But, even with over a decade of use behind me, there are still loads of features I probably don’t know about and there are certainly tons that I do know about but don’t need.
Whichever way you lean, whichever phone you use – just get the most out of it and enjoy it. We are all to some degree creatures of habit and do the same things most days with our phones.
Find the one that suits your lifestyle the best and get on with your day. Life is too short to be worrying about the finer details of apps you’ll never need.
These phones are meant to be there to make our lives richer – not more complicated.