Return of the dumbphone

Luddite teens hold their vintage flip phones in a circle.

The “dumbphone” or feature phone is a simpler form of mobile phone, and it’s becoming popular again. A return to early 2000s technology, unlike smartphones, dumbphones mainly support calls and texts. Some include minimalist services like music and maps. Hashtags like #bringbackfliphones on TikTok have garnered millions of views. People like them because they’re easy to use, batteries lasts longer, and they help avoid distractions from social media and apps. They’re also cheaper and more durable. Especially popular among Gen Z and millennials who grew up with the first generation of flip phones, users are preferring simpler, less sophisticated mobile phones in an effort to disconnect from information overload, infinite scrolling, and notifications. Counter-current to the prevailing trend of increasing tech sophistication, feature phones enable basic connectivity while supporting digital detox behaviors.

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