Over the last couple of weeks, Apple has sold iPhone SE models at a significantly reduced price point on its clearance webpage.
And when we say significantly reduced, we mean it. A 32-gigabyte iPhone SE only cost $249. Unsurprisingly, the available models sold out pretty quickly in both clearance sales.
While that’s likely an indication of demand for a budget-priced iPhone, it’s also a good opportunity to talk about the iPhone SE and its purpose in 2019.
The iPhone SE is the Perfect ‘Light’ Phone
The iPhone SE isn’t a new device by any means. It packs the same internals as the iPhone 6s — originally released three years ago — into Apple’s undeniably aging 4-inch form factor.
But that, perhaps, is the beauty of it.
Smartphones across the spectrum are getting bigger and more powerful. And we’re spending a lot more time on them.
That seems to have been the catalyst for a new type of device: dumb phones.
Devices aimed at the “digital wellbeing” sphere are hitting the market. All of them, like the recently debuted Palm Phone, are smaller, less capable, and specifically made to get you away from your primary smartphone.
Do they do a good job at that? Sure. But the iPhone SE does one better.
While its processor and internals are three years old, the iPhone SE is still a perfectly capable device. That’s especially true if you’re just using it for calling and basic text messaging.
But it’s still a smartphone, and it comes with all the perks of iOS and a robust App Store. If you happen to need a particular app in a pinch during a “digital detox,” you can hop on the App Store and download it.
The iPhone SE is also arguably the best form factor for a secondary device — it’s lightweight and extremely pocket-able. It’s also worth noting that the $249 price point is a lot cheaper than the $350 that Palm is charging for their dumb phone.
Because of these reasons, we strongly recommend the iPhone SE as a secondary phone if you’re in the market for one.
If you’d like to pick one up, we recommend checking back at Apple’s clearance page. Alternatively, check around for used iPhone SEs or new models at retail and carrier stores in your area. It is not surprising that iPhone SE available for sale last week at Apple’s clearance site sold out in a day!
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Why Should You Do This?
For the most part, we don’t know how damaging all the time spent on our devices really is. But what we do know doesn’t look good.
Excessive smartphone or social media usage can be linked to anything from poorer sleep to neck pain to worsening mental health.
Even if we don’t have any of those symptoms, most of us can stand to spend less time on our devices.
That’s the whole purpose of a dumb phone. It’s a device you pop your SIM card in during the weekends to get you away from social media, work emails, and other facets of living in the digital era.
And while you can spend extra money on a bespoke light phone, it’s currently more economical (and arguably smarter) to just buy an iPhone SE on clearance or used.
How to Set Up a ‘Light’ iPhone
There isn’t one way to set up a secondary smartphone, just tailor it to your own needs and preferences. With that in mind, here are some useful tips.
- Don’t bother getting a device with a large storage capacity. If you’re just using it as a basic phone, 32GB will more than suffice.
- Keep the Home screen as simple and minimal as you can. Organize your apps into folders on a second app grid. Just keep the basics on your main screen.
- Try to avoid downloading Facebook, Twitter and other social media platform. The point is to detox from mindless scrolling.
- Similarly, avoid games and other time-sucking apps like Netflix.
- While this won’t be possible for everyone, you may want to consider leaving Asana, Slack and any work-related emails off of your device. That way, you can relax on your well-deserved weekends.
- Keep the app load minimal. Try making do with a navigation app, a music app, and some assorted reading or podcast apps.
- Turn off all notifications for apps that don’t involve another human trying to contact you.
- Make efficient use of Screen Time, Downtime, Night Shift and Do Not Disturb. Apple made these apps and features for a reason.
We hope that you found this short article useful. Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or comments.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.