30 Things We All Remember Before Mobile Phones

By Aaron Love 9 months ago

Using The Landline

Image Source: Reddit
I suppose the most obvious thing you might remember about the time before mobile phones were the norm is that we had to use our landlines in order to communicate long-distance with the people we knew and loved. They were useful, but also quite annoying, especially the ones that would blurt out your answering machine messages after they'd come through too!

Public Phone Booths

Image Source: Reddit
Another thing that was much more common before we were able to have those little mobile devices in our pockets were those public phone booths on the street. Now, I know they're still around today (not as much of course) but be honest, when was the last time you saw someone slide a dime into one of those phone booths and actually used them? Now we can just pull a phone out our pocket at all times!

Sending Letters

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Now, this one is going back a little further than just before mobile devices, but do you remember the last time you actually sent a handwritten letter in the mail? Maybe you still follow that tradition with a grandparent or something, but it's something that people seem to feel is a little outdated now, right? You had to wait days or even weeks to get a reply to any message you sent!

Fax Machines

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Fax machines were once the utmost and most advanced piece of common technology that many people had in their homes or offices for a small period of time. These days of course we'd be able to swiftly attach a document in to an email via our phones but during the time of a fax machine we'd have to manually send written or printed material via one machine to another. Thank god that's over now eh?

Arranging Face To Face Meetings

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Yes, I know, before mobile phones we actually had to go outside and arrange meetings IN PERSON! I guess some of us still do this today but I'm sure there's a load of you that would happily stay at home for the entire day and only talk to people via their phones instead. But imagine having to go out and meet people every day, introverts would be having absolutely none of it!

Getting News Via Radio

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Prior to having our phones in our pockets at all times of the day we didn't always have access to instant breaking news via news applications or social media websites and instead had to rely on waiting for the news to come on the TV or listening to the radio throughout the day. I suppose the radio at least allowed us to listen to music and get some social aspects at the same time too.

Not Scrolling Through Social Media All Day

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Let's be honest, hands up if you've spent at least one full day at home, in bed, doing nothing other than scrolling through all of those various social media applications that you've got on your phone. It's truly a sign of the times and the advancements that we genuinely can keep ourselves entertained via social media for a full 24 hours without having any true social contact.

Getting Direct Mail

Image Source: Reddit
This still happens in some form or another to this day, but since the advancement of tech in to mobile phones has improved it's definitely decreased. Do you remember getting those promotional materials and leaflets sent to you via the post? That's basically been replaced by those terrible and incredibly annoying email newsletters and codes that we're constantly being sent by companies.

Hearing Stuff Round The Town

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Not only did we end up going out to and arranging to meet people before we had mobile phones, but we also had to rely on word of mouth to get all the sneaky information from around town; there was no social media for us to spy on all of our friends and neighbours. We actually had to verbally communicate, in person, to get the news, the updates and any other exciting info.

Knocking On Friend's Door

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I might be going back a little further than just before mobile phones for some of you here, especially those of you who are slightly older than others! Instead of now, where we are able to message our friends and meet them at specific times of the day, we had to go and knock on their door instead. Doesn't that take you back to your childhood, at least just a little bit?

Real Dates

Image Source: Redbook
That's right, before mobile phones we actually had to arrange dates in person and not only that, but you had to go out and naturally meet people of the world without the use of dating applications like Tinder. You had to be somewhat confident enough to make your move in public and it was all dependent on where you were and how you come across during your first interaction.

People Didn't Know Where You Always Were

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I'm obviously exaggerating when I say that people always know where you are these days, but it isn't too far from the truth! Our phones obviously now have GPS within them, meaning that those closest to us can usually follow our every move (if you're okay with that!). You can also work out where people are based on their updates and pictures via social media apps like Instagram and Facebook.

You Actually Watched Gigs

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If you've long been a music fan, you might find concerts today to be a little infuriating as people will always have their phones up in the air and your view can be ruined. What happened to the good old days where it was just you and everyone else in the arena enjoying their music and not worrying about catching their favourite songs or a snap of the artists on stage.

You Didn't Have Instant Access To Google

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How many times a day do you reckon you pull out your phone with the intention of googling something completely random? It's become such a natural reaction for so many of us that you probably don't remember how you managed to get by without it in the past. That was something that made libraries and encyclopaedia so important for such a long period of time!

You Had To Use A Physical Map

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Do any of you remember how difficult it was to travel around areas that you'd never been before, when we didn't have our GPS filled mobile device with us? Obviously in cars we had the option of Sat Nav's but on foot you either had to wing it or you were going to be carrying around a pocket map (or a full map) of an area, which was stupidly difficult to follow, especially if you lost your concentration.

You Had To Use A Real Camera

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One of the most beneficial aspects of mobile phones in the modern era is their ability to double up as a camera as well as the magical little piece of plastic and glass that's your pathway to everything. Before them, we would have to carry around real camera's whether proper brands like a canon or maybe some disposable kodak's that we'd have to go and get printed at the store.

You Couldn't Communicate With Celebs

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These days we pretty much have instant access to our favourite celebrities as they seem to all have open social media accounts like Twitter (or X I guess), Instagram and now even TikTok. But before social media was so common you'd have to send them letters or gifts via a PO Box and, for the most part, you would probably never find out if they read your mail or they'd even reply to you.

Had To Wear A Watch

Image Source: Reddit
We're now living in a period of time where it has never been easier to check what time it is than ever before. It's so simple now, you can literally just pick your phone up, press no buttons and put it down. Simple as that. Now I'm not saying it was particularly hard before that, you just looked at your watch face instead. In fact, you actually had to wear your watch regularly back then!

Had To Sit Down To Send An E-Mail

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How easy is it to send off important information these days? Our mobile phones offer us the ability to send E-mails, texts and tweets in just seconds! But before we had the option of our mobile phone you had no other option when sending an E-Mail than to sit down at your computer and type your message through to them. You can do it whilst you're on the toilet now... don't lie, we've all done it!

There Was No Uber

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Uber has become the most common mode of transport for millions of people all around the world, especially for those living in some of the busier cities in many western countries. That doesn't mean that Taxi's are out of action these days, but they have definitely seen a decrease in usage since Uber came in to fruition. What do you settle for? Or would you rather just stick to the public transport available?

We Didn't Know What A Hashtag Was

Image Source: Laughing Squid
If you went back 20 years and began putting hashtags within your letters or you openly disclaimed something bizarre like #yolo or #slay people might look at you as if you've lost your mind or something. At the start of Twitter and Instagram you wouldn't be able to scroll past a single post without them featuring what now appears to be some of the most cringey hashtags you'd ever see.

People Didn't Take Pictures Of Their Food

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How annoying is it when you finally sit down to eat your food, maybe as a group of friends or family, but there's that one person that holds us all up and stops us tucking in until they've got a photo of the food. I mean, what started that whole process? Why can't we just settle down at a restaurant, pick up our knife and fork and eat our food like civilized people. Sheesh. Rant over.

You Had To Keep Your Cards On You

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Before people have to take their stupid pictures of their stupid food (I'm still annoyed about that one) they have to pay for it somehow right? These days you can just tap your phone at the tills thanks to things like Apple Pay and Google Pay; but back before these inventions we had to carry our wallets and our purses around everywhere, just in case we needed to pay for anything on the way.

Keeping A Contacts Book

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I'm sure there'll be some of you that remember having one of those tiny little address books that you either carried around with you everywhere you went or you had it stashed at home. That's because our landlines didn't store phone numbers for us! Unless you planned on remembering everyone's phone number off by heart this was pretty much the only possibility.

You Never Stalked An Ex

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This is by far one of the most dangerous (not literally) things that mobile phone technology has allowed us to do. Back in the day, if you broke up with a partner that was pretty much that (for most of us!). But these days, a few quick taps of your screen and you'll be able to catch up on everything they've been doing for the last few weeks and who they've been spending their time with!

You Couldn't Check Food Reviews

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Have you ever been stuck for choice when it comes to deciding what it is that you want to eat for your next meal? These days we can check our phones and there'll be a number of food reviews for you to read from. However, before this was an option the only way you would find out would either to be to try it for yourself or get some recommendations (or warnings) from the people we knew.

The Phone Book Was Actually Useful

Image Source: Reddit
When was the last time that you looked at a phone book, you know the ones I mean, the big chunky 1000 page books? These days they're seen as nothing more than a door stop are they? Back in the day though, they were some of the most important ways to gather phone numbers of companies whilst also getting your own company number out in to the public.

You Wrote Physical Notes

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You probably remember being in those situations where you needed to take down some quick notes as someone was relaying information to you. There was that little rush that you'd do in order to find a pen or anything to write on to make sure you didn't miss anything. That isn't a thing anymore thanks to pretty much all phones coming with the ability to record notes or type your own.

You Checked The Paper For Movie Times

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Although trips to the cinema have become less frequent (for some of us) having the ability to find the next times for your favourite film and even book the tickets is as simple as a couple of clicks. However, you might remember reading your local newspaper instead as a way to get the times for each movie and then ringing up using a landline to see if there was any remaining availability.

You Needed A Real Alarm Clock

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Alarms are incredibly frustrating, that hasn't changed between the current period and the prior one where we didn't have mobile phones to set them for us. What has changed however, is that these days we can just set an alarm on our phones, but before we had to use actual clocks or specially designed alarm clocks with those dreadful and ear-terrorising bleeps every single morning.