How have smartphone apps changed your habits?

I just had a personal first. After traveling for business for over 8 years, I just scheduled my first trip in the US where I didn’t book a rental car.

The ubiquity of Uber and Lyft, as well as the availability of the hotel shuttle, has made getting a rental car more of a hassle and expense than it’s worth. I’m sure others have come to this realization before me, but it felt very strange to skip the rental car booking when arranging my trip.

My (physical) library is expanding a lot more slowly than it used to, but my virtual library is enormous, due to reduced costs for e-media.

I do a lot less ‘exploratory’ driving. I long have had the habit of driving at random around a new town, just to see what was where, and so on. Increasingly, I know precisely where I’m headed, and the shortest route to get there.
That likely means I’m missing out on some interesting discoveries, though.

Also: I’m a LOT less likely to go see a movie ‘on spec’ - Which means I’m more than likely missing out on some good movies, but I’m also seeing a lot fewer epic duds.

I haven’t listened to live radio in my car or watched TV news since I got a smart phone. I listen to streaming music and podcasts in the car, and I read news from several sources on my phone or tablet.

As others have mentioned, I haven’t gotten lost since I got a smart phone, either.

I haven’t used alarms in a really long time (I’m able to just wake up when I am done sleeping, which is when the dog decides it’s time to eat) but every so often I have a morning appointment and I set an alarm on my phone. The nice thing is that I can set it for the future and not have to remember to set it before bed which is how alarms always worked before.

Also, not a smartphone but I have an Amazon Echo. I listen to music a LOT more now. Especially when getting ready for bed. I also get a ton of free music and play it through Echo. And now I’ve started listening to podcasts through the device and I haven’t listened to podcasts in years. Also just found out it can dial up NPR for me. Every day I’m more impressed with the thing!

I keep a grocery list on my phone and refer to it when I shop. I have an app from the store that lets me scan code the POS display to pay for my groceries. I don’t have to pull out my debit card and scan it.

I don’t read books in physical form. I read books on my Kindle app. I can borrow e-books from my library and read them on my phone, too, so no driving out to pick them up.

I’m no longer ever bored, cooling my heels, with nothing to do. I still like a bit of quiet contemplation now and then, but otherwise the world is in my pocket.

I haven’t guessed at the weather in ages.

I have not worn a watch since I got the smartphone. Unlike my watches, it’s ALWAYS right, even the day after Daylight Savings ends.
ETA: But now I have even more need of a pocket.

Well, there’s maps, of course. And looking for an interesting spot to eat when out in an unfamiliar location has been immensely aided by the phone. Also, a mileage tracking app for business that automatically logs miles for me to be classified later. And then we have all the stuff already listed: shopping lists, reading materials, video entertainment/learning, weather, time, radio, alarms, white noise generator, public transportation tracker, depositing checks via phone without leaving the house, etc.

I no longer wait in line at a popular local brunch spot. I use an app to see their wait time and to get “in line” when I am an appropriate distance away - even before I leave the house in some cases. So much better than wasting away 30-45 minutes in the crowded waiting area.

The fact that everybody else has a smart phone means they can call me at any time, like from my parking lot. Otherwise, not at all, I’ve never touched a smart phone, and not sure if I’ve ever seen one up close, but then, I have no idea exactly what devices re included in the definition of smartphones.

I don’t even have the internet! Top THAT!

Uber and Lyft on my smarphone has changed me trying to walk, find a bus, or call a taxi on those times I am without a car in a city without good public transportation.

Long road trips to unfamiliar areas, I can have my wife look for places of interest, good restaurants, etc…

Instagram. Uploading a pic while on a job has netted me immediate job referrals more than once.

Yes, but have you eaten one?

Probably not. How often do people throw smart phones in dumpsters?

I am somewhat of a dichotomy, as my professional life (re computers) doesn’t reflect in my personal life. At work, I program guidance and flight controls software, mainly on DARPA projects. At home, I have no interest in computers beyond whatever desktop is on sale at BestBuy for web and email.

So… this month I downloaded my very first app to my smartphone. I now have Podcast One to listen to a variety of podcasts both in my car and at my desk. I started to put Tap a Talk on it, but after working my through the EULAs I decided I wouldn’t accept them. I ran into the same problem when I tried to read thru the endless EULAs for Uber. (If it takes that much lawyer-speak to get an app, I probably don’t want it).

I’m not a complete luddite, and welcome much of the new, but still cling to some of the old. AFAIK, the GPS is not enabled on my phone and I use the old Garmin stuck on the windshield along with paper maps. But I love my Kindle, and use it for music and audiobooks while driving (it has a much bigger screen and I consider it safer to manipulate on the road).

TLDR version: I now listen to podcasts and get weather on it. But not much else.

Don’t have a smartphone.

Nonetheless, they have had an effect on me, usually involving people not being able to pull themselves away from their damn phones. Including the biddy who rear-ended me last year, her smartphone apparently being more compelling than the bright red ass-end of a pickup filling up her windshield.

On the other hand, I’ve been using apps on my tablet for various purposes - I have solitaire, crosswords, and an e-book app to keep me entertained while waiting. I recently had to start using a calendar app to keep the various appointments for my spouse’s medical treatment straight. I’m sure as time goes by I’ll use it all more and more.

Now I can go to bed every night knowing if I’ve made my goal of ten thousand steps or not.

I can read The Straight Dope all day at work and not have to worry if corporate has blocked access or is monitoring my browsing habits.

My smartphone makes me feel safe and connected and empowered no matter where I am in the world. Yes that may be a false sense of such, but I can compare situations very easily. I remember getting lost in Lisbon in 1997, and not able to find anyone who I could communicate with easily enough for quite some time to get back to my hotel. I had no phone and no idea of how to even call for help. Eventually I was able to make my way down to the bay, and then worked my way back to my hotel.

Compare this to 2015, when I was wandering through a poor area in southern Bangkok, and realized I was badly lost…for about 5 seconds. Then I opened up Google Maps, clearly saw where I had left my driver and the car, and walked straight back. If I’d wanted to I could have asked Siri “call Centara Grand” and could have been connected to the bell captain in seconds.

In the old days I might walk up to an ancient cathedral and say “huh, that’s neat,” and written it in my journal later that night Now I can find the site on Wikipedia and read about its history, take a selfie in front of it and share it on Facebook with 500 friends, open Facetime and take Fierra on a live virtual tour, and catch a sandshrew lurking by the front door. When I’m done looking at it I can summon an Uber to take me anywhere I want without ever having to unzip my purse.

I live in an age of miracles. Really, I feel that way sometimes.

A few weeks ago my wife was watching The Voice and talking to the Torqueling and something came up about how tall Blake Shelton was. Mrs. Torque grabbed her phone to look it up. I just called out, “Alexa, how tall is Blake Shelton?”, and I got the answer faster than she did. I’m trying to use Alexa for more of that occasional “I wonder” stuff than just music, although she’s mighty good for that.