Unlocking the Secrets: How A-List Celebrities Taught Us How to Use Phone Usage Properly

Celebrities Taught Us How to Use Phone Usage Properly

Of all people, Justin Bieber first opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about my phone. See, Bieber isn’t into phones. He ditched his a while back and became an iPad guy.

According to a 2021 article in Billboard, he wakes up in the morning and checks in with his management via tablet to see what’s going on for the day as a way of limiting who can reach him.

This is something you hear a lot from phone-free celebs: they’re not trying to disconnect from everyone, but they are trying to get away from that feeling of being tapped constantly on the shoulder by all the calls, texts, and emails. I’ve been obsessed with celebrity technology usage, or lack thereof, for years.

 In so many cases, it seems that once you become sufficiently famous — with millions of people hanging on your every word, millions of others talking about you all the time, and countless people in your life scrambling for your time, energy, and money — the only sane way to manage it all is to sever as much as possible. 

So many celebrities ditch their phone, disconnect from their social media, and log off entirely. Everyone from Tom Cruise to Elton John to Sarah Jessica Parker to Michael Cera to Dolly Parton to George Clooney has extolled the virtues of a phone-free life. 

The internet practically revolves around A-list celebrities, and they often don’t even know. For most of us, ditching our phones and moving into the woods or whatever is a fantasy. We don’t have managers personal assistants, and accountants to handle all of our calls; we have family members and bosses who need to reach us.

 Plus, phones are helpful, cool, and fun! Even some of these celebrities return.

READ MORE: Bruce Sherman’s Wife Cynthia Sherman Specialized In Intellectual And Technology Property Law

But I’ve still found myself looking for lessons from the celebrities, wondering what they’ve discovered about the internet and themselves by disconnecting a bit. I’ve also been looking for tips on how to do the same. And I might have figured it out. 

A few years ago, Ed Sheeran shared a strategy that sounded a lot like Bieber’s. He hasn’t had a phone since 2015, he told Hodinkee, because “I got really overwhelmed and sad with a phone.” Sheeran said that being phoneless hadn’t cut his contact with the world, just reduced it — and that was the point. “I have friends email and people email, and every few days I’ll sit down and open up my laptop, and I’ll answer 10 emails at a time,” he said. 

“I’ll send them off, and I close my laptop, and then that’ll be it. And then I’ll go back to living my life, and I don’t feel overwhelmed by it.”Simon Cowell told Entertainment Tonight in 2020 that he’d also ditched his phone for an iPad. 

“It means you don’t wake up to, like, 50 text messages you can’t reply to,” he said at the timeShailene Woodley shared a different version of the same strategy with Jimmy Kimmel: she still had an iPhone but didn’t have a data plan. 

She had to go somewhere with Wi-Fi if she wanted to do stuff. (She reverse-engineered an iPod touch, which Apple should bring back, please, and thank you.)

Read and watch enough celebrity interviews, and the lesson becomes apparent: the most powerful and connected device in your life shouldn’t always be within arm’s reach. 

All that does is invite distraction and makes it too easy to disengage from your life every time you get bored or sad or curious even for a second. Anything you can do to move that stuff a little farther away and make it a little harder to get to is a small victory over the always-on allure of your devices.

It sounds a little like I’m advocating for the return of the ’90s when the computer was a giant box that lived in a central room of your home, and the only way to use it was to go to it. And to some extent, I am! I’m increasingly convinced that my primary computer should be a device I use on purpose — that I sit down at, operate, and then extract myself from until the next time.

Whether it’s a laptop on a desk or an iPad on your nightstand, your computer should be a place as much as it is a device. And if you are not in this place, you are somewhere else. Most celebrities recommend reading real gadget reviews to ensure gadgets are safe for your eyes, physical and mental health.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with moving as many apps as possible—the prominent social media stuff, but also anything else I can live without on a minute-to-minute basis—from my phone to my tablet and laptop.

All my social media now works on my iPad. Banking apps, streaming services, and most of my games have been removed from my phone. When I want to watch TikTok so severely, I have to get off the couch and find my tablet. So far, so good. I realize how much of a crutch my phone really has become: I’ve opened TikTok to keep myself company while walking to the kitchen or browsed topics while waiting for the microwave to empty. 

I’m not sure if I do them less overall, but at least I do them on purpose. I turned a waste of time into an intentional activity – I sit in my wheelchair and roll away, then stand up and the roller stays put. 

And best of all, when I leave the house, I have nothing to browse. I think I finally understand what Christopher Nolan meant in an interview with People magazine a few years ago: “I’m easily distracted, so I don’t don’t really want the Internet to use every time I’m demented.” 


Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter last year, she said that she still doesn’t have a phone — although sometimes she buys a burner, which is a really crappy phone strategy — but she doesn’t think she’s a Luda. “I think the technology and what it can provide is amazing,” he said. 

“My personal choice depends on how I participate. It’s about the level of entertainment.” (Nolan also famously refuses to use email, but that’s too far for me.)Technology has always been about removing friction: the company’s obsessive desire to make everything easier and faster, with fewer clicks and fewer choices that you don’t click on an ad like a post or upload a picture. All the non-tech celebrities are looking for a little more confusion, my child, I should think, “I want to watch TikTok now.” then across my living room me can browse TikTok.It’s not about rejecting technology, it’s about using technology on purpose..

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