How I (Mis)use My iPhone.

Once upon a time, the act of randomly tweeting a screenshot of my iPhone front screen birthed a flurry of 76 aghast tweets and not one, but two blog posts by my very particular friend Katherine.

I had no idea I was so vastly unacceptable in my organizational decisions, but alas. Now I do.

And because I like causing heart attacks in my overly-wound-up friends, I thought I’d list a few more quirks about my iPhone usage. Some you might also have, some might make you cringe.

1. I will never, ever, ever use the horizontal keyboard. It’s the most awkward and unusable size in the history of virtual keyboards.

iPhone Horizontal Keyboard

Okay surely you ALL agree with me on that one. Right?

2. I don’t use an alarm most days, but I have 19 alarms that are off, because I never delete an alarm, even if I’ll never wake up at 6am ever again. Plus, I would rather have an alarm ready to be swiped at every fifteen minute interval than be forced to create a brand new alarm when I do need one. I’m pretty sure the effort of scrolling through that many alarms is the same as creating a new one, but this is inconsequential.

iPhone Alarm Screen

How many alarms do you have?

3. I am a terrible organizer of both my iPhone and iPad. It’s like Noah threw all my apps on the floor, kicked the pile a couple times, lost half of them under the couch, then put the other half back.There are many apps that I have to use the search bar to find every time because I have NO IDEA where they’re hanging out.

iPhone Home Screen

4. I would rather have endless pages than use folders. I only put things in folders that I rarely use or that I am trying to hide from myself. Such as…

5. On the second screen of the seventh folder on the fourth page of my iPhone is where you can find my blog stats app. The folder is called “Kid’s Games” and it’s surrounded by apps my children don’t use. I put it there to make it difficult to find and therefore limit my obsessive stats checking.

iPhone Folder

It doesn’t work, in case you’re wondering.

6. You might have figured this out by now but I am an app hoarder – it takes a life-changing event to convince me to delete an app. Such as…

7. I have always unequivocally refused to get Candy Crush – it’s a cornerstone principle of my life. I know it’s addictive, I know they try to convince you to spend money or ruthlessly harass your friends on Facebook to be able to play the game, and I shall have no part in such deviant behavior.


I TOTALLY allowed myself to download what was basically a Candy Crush clone – Frozen Free Fall – before I’d even seen the movie. Apparently I was craving addiction.


And yes, Ali and I both fell to its crushing grip on our souls. And yes, they did attempt to coerce us into spending money (I might have spent $3.97.) And yes, I even put this app on my Grandmother’s iPad to spread the disease.

And yes. I finally deleted it off of my phone because it was seriously cutting into my life – or at least my Twitter reading time.

(But I left it on my iPad.)

(My precious.)

8. I actually use the native notes app. I’m sure there are at least 1,927 apps that are better for note-taking than that stupid, unpleasingly designed app, but yet I still use it. I’m open to suggestions but I doubt I’ll take them.

iPhone Notes App

9. I use the Spotify app for my radio nearly every time I’m in the car, and I pay $10 a month so that I can listen to anything I want on demand. I adore the immediate gratification yet am intensely aware that I am now, in effect, leasing music. And if I ever quit paying them, I have zero musical principal to show for it.

This makes me feel financially irresponsible.

10. The best thing I ever did on my iPhone was go to Settings –> Notifications –> Messages and change “Repeat Alerts” from “Once” to “Never.” That act alone added five years onto the backside of my life, because the lack of anxiety about that second message ding is indescribable bliss.

iPhone Alert Repeats

And I will NEVER be friends with whatever Donkeyface uses that last option.

(Oh. Did I just call you a Donkeyface? My apologies.)

11. I have never knowingly created a photo album. And I don’t exactly know what I’d do with one if I did.

iPhone Create Album


What quirks do we share? Which of my quirks made you twitch? And what quirks do you have that I didn’t mention?

Slightly Off Target.

Dear Target,

I love you. I really do. I adore your wide aisles, your children’s clothes and shoes, your lack of Walmartian bedlam, your maternity camisoles that actually go over a pregnant belly unlike Motherhood Maternity’s which don’t make it past a gestating ribcage, your pleasingly geometric notebooks and bedspreads and various other pretty things, your Starbucks in every store, and your selection of chocolate.


Even though all those rumors of you being a French company are false, it seems that you don’t understand the English Language. Or at least with the same breadth and detail as us consumers.

Clearance. What does the word mean to you? To us, and by us I mean all humans, we hear “clear” which means that you’re trying to get rid of an item – perhaps seasonal, perhaps not popular, perhaps discontinued.

Clearing out unwanted inventory is something we like being a part of. But only when properly motivated.

And so, “clearance” better mean “50% off or more.”

Target Clearance{Image by Dan Studnicky}

That’s right, Target. 15% off is NEVER clearance. It’s barely enough to make me consider getting something I do need, let alone something I don’t.

You need to take a moment to recognize that Publix routinely marks regular products down to “Buy One Get One Free”, or effectively 50% off, and doesn’t even make a big deal about it.

Every. Single. Day.

I know, right? I bet you need a diaper just thinking about it.

Too bad for you they’re not *really* on sale.

{Image by Queen Bee Coupons}

Publix has opened Oz’s curtain for us – we now know that you big retailers are capable of charging us half as much and still making money.

And you need to quit lying to us.

So. For you and for all of your retail friends, here is a helpful glossary.

Good Deal: You have my permission to use this term when your regular price beats over half of your competitor’s prices. I appreciate you letting me know about your good deals and I will reward you accordingly. However, you need to know that this term alerts me to the fact that you may never have this item on sale, so I might watch for it in your competitor’s sale papers.
Other acceptable terms: Everyday low price, everyday values.

Reduced: You may use this term when you’ve lowered your prices by ten cents or more. Don’t use it on a penny – we’ll see that and Instagram your ridiculousness in a hot second. And just so you know, 15% off definitely falls under the “Reduced” category – so invest in more Reduced signs and less Clearance signs.
Other acceptable terms: markdown, price reduction.

Coupon: DO NOT print me a coupon at the register for 25¢ off six cans of dog food. First of all I don’t have a dog and second of all if I did I wouldn’t, couldn’t, would rather die before keeping up with a piece of paper for two weeks that will save me 4.17 cents off of each item. I could pick up that much money in the parking lot if I needed it.

Here’s the coupon guideline. If it’s under a dollar, I won’t ever use it. And really if I’m being honest, if it’s under five dollars, I’ll probably forget I have it. Okay – if you really want me to use your stupid coupon it better be fifty dollars off a product that costs ten.

Sale: To be officially recognized as a sale, the item in question must be at least 25% off. NO EXCEPTIONS. 24% off is simply a markdown – don’t try to fleece us. Sale also inherently implies that it will be off-sale at some point in the future, so if that is not the case, you may call it a Permanent Markdown – just because the price is permanent does not a clearance make.

Clearance: Using the term “Clearance” for less than 50% off is like calling a bumblebee honey – it’s WRONG, and I get really upset if I accidentally bite. Half off is the absolute MINIMUM, guys. When you find yourselves starting to falter on this issue, just remember Publix. BOGO every day.

Speaking of,

BOGO: BOGO stands for “Buy one, get one free.” It does NOT stand for “Buy one, get one half off” or “Buy one, get one 25% off” or “Buy One Get this other random piece of crap for free.” If you break this sacred rule, then I will never be your friend.

Blowout: A blowout must be 75% off or more (unless we’re talking about the hair process, in which case it’s a stupid name.) Blowout implies “this is the best deal you’ll ever find on this product.” And, as I’m a good deal finder, you better work for it. 90% off is preferred.

Event: Ain’t nobody got time for events, unless you’re giving away free stuff. And it better be an entire cart of free stuff. So if you’re gonna have a Tampon Event and I read your fine print that tampons are 20% off and THAT’S what you’re calling an event, I’m gonna sic all my Event Planner friends on your PR people. And Event Planners are a group of humans that are not fun when they’re indignant – take my word for it.

There. That’s not too hard to follow, is it?


I’ll be practicing my calm breathing until you fix it.

Drain Shame.

There are things that an iPhone alters about your life from which you will never escape.

Traffic light entertainment, for one. I admit it – I struggle with not picking up my iPhone at a red light. Smart phones have effectively made me forget how to simply be still.

Also? Curiosity. Every “I wonder…” I ever mutter is followed by a Google search or thorough internet stalking. Which is further followed by the exultation of curiosity satiated.

And then there’s the measurement of my attentiveness to real life served up by my battery life at the end of the day.

iPhone Low Battery

If my battery life is in the mid-range by day’s end, I feel victorious. Clearly I paid attention to my kids, didn’t grab my phone at every traffic light, and engaged in real life today. Way to go, Rachel! Give yourself an extra ten minutes on Instagram.

But if it’s at 10% before the kid’s bedtime, then for shame. I should have read more books aloud and refilled more sippies. I clearly kept my Twitter feed too up-to-date and really should back off on my HauteLook shopping.

(I know. I have a problem with inner judgment. I also judge myself about my self-judginess, if that helps.)

This week, as Chris and I were preparing to dump the kids on the Grandparent’s for a few days and head off on an anniversary getaway, my self-analysis was even more ruthless than usual.

Remember…you’re not going to see your precious children for four days. You really should cuddle for five minutes longer before bed. Even if your eyeballs are about to fall out from exhaustion.

Yes he just elbowed you in the boob with all of his three-year-old might, but don’t yell in pain and startle the poor child…he’ll remember you that way while you’re gone.

And so it was the worst of weeks to also suffer from Drain Shame.

Yet every day, my phone was at 30% — by lunchtime!

Unheard of. Horrifying. I am a putrid mother.

I berated myself constantly.

What are you DOING?!? Who do you think you ARE?!? People don’t care that much about what you have to say! Pay attention to your dang kids for cryinoutloud!!

It did seem strange that my extra pre-vacation awareness was being so overshadowed by my apparent device addiction, but battery percentages don’t lie. They pierce your soul and gauge your goodness with accuracy previously only known by Mary Poppin’s tape measure.

The day we left for our trip, I carried along with me a bit more Mommy-Guilt than usual – the kids and I had suffered through a rough morning, and THAT BLASTED BATTERY PERCENTAGE was staring me down with the suspicious eyes of Maleficent and Snape’s lovechild.

I talked to the kids on the phone that night and they seemed to still love me, so I relaxed and began enjoying our trip.

The next day, Chris and I toured The Biltmore Estate, which took hours, and phone photography was highly unallowable. So except for two quickly stolen shots, I kept my phone in my purse to avoid looking suspicious (which I was.)


When we left Biltmore, my phone battery was below 40%.


There was no way.

It was impossible.

Unless I had a gremlin in the bottom of my purse that was streaming movies while I wasn’t using my phone, my battery COULD NOT be at 40%.

I sheepishly admitted my deplorable battery life to Chris, feeling especially horrible for my now admitted problem. Surely he would judge me. He would think I was sneaking off to the bathroom to get a fix. I mean I basically believed it myself – how else could I have gotten to 40%??

He, being the not-as-constantly-self-judging-and-unhealthily-self-loathing one of of us, said, “Oh – it’s probably something to do with the iOS 7.1 update – you just did that, remember? Why don’t you Google ‘7.1 battery life issues.’ I bet you’ll find it.”

WHAAAAT? There’s a possibility that I might not be the most reprehensible person on the planet?!


I obeyed and Googled immediately, and there it was.

All. Over. The stinking. Internet. Everyone knew but me.

7.1 Kills Batteries.

7.1 Leaves Location Services On

7.1 Bugs Will Drain Your Phone

9 Ways 7.1 Will Deplete your Phone Battery

Apple really screwed up this time

I wasn’t a terrible mother!

I wasn’t a terrible wife!

It wasn’t me – it was all a lie. All a big fat Apple-Driven lie to heap guilt upon me and make me think I was an addict.

(Okay I probably am but not as bad as I thought.)

So. If you, too, have been suffering from Drain Shame, I am here to relieve your pain and guilt.

It’s not you. It’s Apple.

So go find yourself something else to feel guilty about.

Neither self-judgment based on battery life or Mommy Guilt is recommended by this blogger or her family.

Update: If you’re suffering from this same drain, go to Settings –> General –> Background App Refresh, and turn it off. It’s a new setting with 7.1 that allows all your apps to track you in the background, therefore leaving location services on continuously. It seriously helped my battery to turn this off.