There's an issue in our current age that previous generations never had to consider or deal with: smartphone etiquette. Yes, there are definitely good manners that go along with owning and using an iPhone or other device (particularly in public).
Your smartphone is your constant companion. It's likely your watch, alarm clock, camera, phone, and a host of other things. But, if you aren't careful, it can also be the scourge of the people around you. Here are seven things you can do to practice good etiquette with your own iPhone usage.
7 Be Courteous with Outlets
Public electrical outlets are an amazing thing. What may have gone unnoticed in past decades has become a valuable resource in the smartphone era. But consider that those outlets are valuable to other people, too.
If you’re using an outlet to charge your devices, try to keep an eye out for anyone else wanting to charge theirs. Better yet, try not to sit too close to the outlet itself. That way, people won’t feel uncomfortable invading your personal space trying to get to it (or, if they are an introvert, asking you to move). Consider investing in an extra-long iPhone charging cable that will give you extra space between you and the outlet.
6 Avoid Swiping Through Other People’s Photos
If a friend or family member hands you their smartphone to look at a picture or a video, try as hard as you can to resist the urge to continue swiping through their photos (unless they actually tell you that it’s okay).
For one, this is kind of a privacy issue. There are likely all kinds of things that the other person would like to keep away from prying eyes. You should respect that, obviously. But on the flip side, there’s probably stuff that you would rather not see. So just don’t risk it (or, at least, ask beforehand).
5 Consider Not Taking Photos of Everything
Wanting to document your experiences is natural. It’s a great way to perfectly capture a moment in time when memories might fail. But there’s definitely a line between taking an appropriate amount of photos or videos, and taking way too many.
You don’t get to fully experience a moment when you’re busy trying to take a picture of it. So prioritize quality time with people over selfies, take in an experience fully before snapping a bunch of photos, and put away the iPhone (and especially the iPad) during concerts and just enjoy the music.
4 Don’t Airdrop Random People
This is purely an Apple ecosystem phenomenon, and it should probably go without saying, but there are some people out there who will randomly AirDrop a funny photo or another type of media to people around them. Don’t be that person.
There’s nothing wrong with using AirDrop to send your friend that funny photo — but other people in public spaces probably don’t want to feel like their privacy is being invaded. That’s especially true since many iPhone users never bother to tweak their AirDrop settings to avoid this problem.
3 Be Mindful About Your Notifications
Your notifications are a way for you — and only you — to know when someone is attempting to get in contact with you. With that in mind, you should be considerate of the people around you and opt for less obnoxious notifications.
- If you’re in a quiet environment, turn your smartphone to silent or vibrate.
- Try not to use the whole “flashing LED” notification for calls or texts (it can be pretty annoying or even startling, especially at night).
- If you must use a ringer or alarm, try to pick one that’s not super distracting or over-the-top.
2 Know When to Put It Down
Sure, your iPhone may be important to you — but your friends, family and loved ones are much more important. When you’re with actual physical people on an outing, date or family gathering, put the phone away and connect with them in the real world. You won't regret it, we promise.
In context, it might be okay to sneak a quick glance at your phone or take it out to show or send someone something. In some cases, you can even Google the answer to a question that's stumping everyone at the table. But don’t mindlessly tap away on it when you’re with people (how productive is all that aimless social media browsing, anyway?) And, of course, don’t ever text and drive.
1 Be Sure to Unplug Occasionally
There are plenty of things you can (and should) do to be more mindful about your iPhone use around other people. But you should consider being kind to yourself, too. We’re not saying to throw out your iPhone, just know when to unplug.
A good “daily digital detox” can do wonders for your sanity and general wellbeing — and a healthy amount of boredom every day might actually be good for you. Similarly, there’s a growing body of research suggesting that smartphone use at night can seriously affect your health. Moderation and timing are key.