Skip to main content

How to be an idiot with your smartphone

People constantly espouse nonsensical guidelines for social interaction called "etiquette." I'm here to tell you that if you've got a smartphone, you can safely chuck any and all such rules out the window.

After all, you paid a lot for that fancy handset, the one with a display that boasts an immense pixel density, and 4G LTE. You slave over what data to store on it and what ringtone to use. The device has doubtless become your official gateway to the world (the "world" being your social networks and all your methods of communication, including email, IMs, texts, and video chats).

Many other people own smartphones these days, sure – but their smartphones are likely inferior to yours. Be proud of your handset, and follow the advice below to enable you to earn the right to be called a “mobile phone owning jerk.” Embrace it, my smartphone-enabled jerk-pal. Embrace it.

1. The call is all important

Some might tell you that you shouldn't check to see who's calling, let alone answer calls or texts, while you're interacting with someone face-to-face. They say it's "rude," but they couldn't be more wrong. You can see friends and family any time, but that call might only come once! Multi-tasking and using your phone no matter where you are or who you're with is the only way to go.

2.Check in everywhere

People like to know you're on the go, so be sure to check-in to places constantly on your social network(s). From the moment you leave home in the morning until you return, check in everywhere you go. It's of the utmost importance to your lucky followers to know every single place you’ve been on any given day.

3.Auto-correct is correct

The smartphone's greatest contribution to society is arguably that you never, ever have to worry about spelling. The autocorrect feature of mobile operating systems is near infallible, despite what those sites like imply. Mondays versus manboobs, excitement versus excrement... these are mistakes your phone won't make, so don't re-read what you typed. Just click send.

4.Trust in Gorilla Glass

What's tougher than the glass on the front of your slab smartphone? Answer: Next to nothing. You could eat off it, and in fact, in a pinch, the phone does make an excellent coaster. You can rest easy knowing that you never need to use a case again. Throwing your phone in your pocket with your keys and spare change has never been safer.

5.Text while driving

Guess what you can do legally while driving? Eat a big old sandwich! Put on makeup! And of course, you need to text! There are so many important things one needs to type while driving.

6.Skip the security

You're not one of the thousands of people per day who accidentally leave a phone behind in a taxi, or at dinner, or even at the office. So you really don't need to activate that code-lock feature that would keep snoops off your phone. That goes double for turning on services like Find My iPhone. Who needs then? You can also set up your phone to delete your data after several failed attempts to get in, but that would just make you paranoid, right?

7.Skip backup

In-keeping with the fact that you'll probably never lose your phone, why bother backing up the data on it? Just because people call smartphones "tiny handheld computers that store all your important data" doesn't mean that you should treat the handset like a real computer. Who cares what's stored on there.

8.Access company secrets

Sure, you can access your company's servers at work, but what's really fun is being able to access all those company secrets while you're on the road. Worry about a data breach? Nah. Again, you'd have to be paranoid to think that someone might bother reading over your shoulder, or go to the trouble of setting up a fake Wi-Fi hotspot, so when you connect, they can steal data. Seriously, would that happen outside of a movie with Jason Bourne fighting James Bond? C'mon.

9.View naughty bits on company equipment

Okay, why dance around the issue: Porn sites are for everyone, and if you're travelling on the company dime, it's only right that you use your work equipment to access those sites. Who's going to mind, really? And so what if the head of IT notices your more tantalising traffic patterns.

10.Speak up! LOUDER!

The rule of thumb is that if you can't hear them, they can't hear you. So you need to yell into your phone. This is especially important if you're pissed off at the person on the other end. There's really no reason to physically move away from people around you when you do this; your nearby audience needs to see you're frustrated vocal antics to appreciate you.

11.Tag everyone

Facebook tagging is how you prove you've got friends. You've got your phone with you all the time, so snap as many pictures of your drunk friends as you can, then upload them and tag each person. They (and their families and future employers) will appreciate you providing these online memories.

12.Use unsecured Wi-Fi

You've read a lot about signing into VPNs and using SSL encrypted websites when you're browsing via a Wi-Fi hotspot, whether on a phone or a laptop. Those are precautions that will slow down your surfing and waste precious time, as you enter things like "passwords" and put that extra S on the end of HTTP. It's so tedious. What's life without risk, anyway?

13.Ignore the... delay

Cell phone conversations don't always happen in real-time. At times, there's a delay between your finishing a sentence and the person on the other end hearing it. Sometimes it's slight and sometimes it can last for a bit longer. Whatever you do, don't acknowledge it. Don't try to compensate for it by ending sentences definitively. It's better to trail off... and then talk over the person on the other side. You can always defend this by mentioning to the other person: "Your connection sucks."

14.Wear that headset everywhere

There's never been any question of the awesomeness of Bluetooth wireless headsets since the dawn of the technology. They're cool. They're status symbols. And folks won't think you're a crazy person mumbling to yourself.

15.Never turn off the ringer

It doesn't matter what the public service announcement at the cinema says. Don't turn off your ringer. You don't want to miss a call even if it's during the biggest scene. This doesn't just go for movies, but also work meetings, restaurants, weddings, and funerals.

16.Take advantage of your seat

The average person spends a good deal of time on the toilet (we're guessing). This is important time. Don't waste it. Smartphones make the bathroom the perfect place to catch up on correspondence, play games of Scrabble or Angry Birds, and return some calls.

17.Create informative greetings

When someone calls you and you can't answer, don't chance missing that important call. Make sure your voicemail greeting includes all the information you can blather, from other numbers to call through email addresses and even your home address. The caller is paying for the minutes used, not you, so who cares how long your greeting is? Make sure your callers know to leave a message at the sound of the beep. Answering machines have existed for decades, but you never know when you might get a call from the one guy who's never, ever left a message before.

18.Turn up the ringer

Ringtones have two jobs: To let you know who is calling and, more importantly, to inform you that you are indeed receiving a call. So make sure all tones on your phone are turned all the way up. Make them loud and play them proud. In fact, let your coolest ringtones play for a good long while. The people around you will find your choice of questionable song lyrics or stolen Family Guy dialogue completely hilarious out of context.


Do we have to say more? Sending naughty messages, pictures, or videos of yourself never got anyone in trouble! It's just good clean fun, right?

20. Fake the dropped call

Got the most annoying person in the world on the phone? Faking a dropped call might be why the cell phone was created in the first place. Whenever you want, you can easily just hang up, even mid-sentence, and simply not answer when he or she calls back. Simply blame your carrier. I suggest carrying a little bit of plastic wrap with you to crinkle near the microphone to mimic static. And add this phrase to your arsenal: "Oh, sorry, tunnel coming up!"