10 things we miss about landlines

Your social life was much simpler before you had a smartphone.

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I may be a millennial, but I’m one of the millennials who still remembers a time before cell phones.

Today, having a single landline for an entire household just seems insane, but back then it was actually kind of nice. I was able to spend my childhood riding my bike and playing outside instead of hunched over Candy Crush. (Of course, this didn’t last too long, because I grew up in Tokyo and we totally had cell phones like six years before everyone in the U.S.)

Reason #1 landlines are not obsolete: So we can call dogs.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my smartphone, and I probably couldn’t last a week without it, but there are times when I miss the good ol’ days of not being expected to carry a mobile tracking device around with me at all times. Here are 10 things I miss (and I’m sure you do, too) about having a landline, and only a landline.

The mystery

Who’s calling? Who is it? Is it your crush? Your boss? Your mother? A serial killer? You won’t know until you pick up (or let it go to voicemail). How exciting and/or terrifying!

Knowing someone’s phone number

Remember when you used to learn people’s phone numbers by heart, instead of just programming them into your phone as ‘BAE<3’? Real talk: If I got arrested right now, I wouldn’t even be able to use my one phone call…because I don’t know anyone’s number (not even my own).

Being unavailable

“Sorry, Mom, I missed your call because I wasn’t at home.”

“That’s ridiculous, Sarah, you have a cell phone. And I know you have it Bluetooth’d into your car, so don’t pretend like driving is an excuse.”

Leaving no record

When you call a landline 36 times and nobody’s home, your secret obsession is safe. When you call a cell phone 36 times and nobody picks up…well, yeah.

Unlimited battery life

Well, unless you had a cordless phone.


Back when we only had landlines, the blinking light on your answering machine was exciting. Today, voicemail on your smartphone is just annoying -- why would someone leave a message when they could text, Facebook message, or DM you?

Prank calls

The combination of Caller ID and phones not being tied to a single place has made traditional prank calling all but obsolete. “Hi, is your refrigerator running? Oh, you’re on a bus…in Tokyo…and I forgot to use *67…yeah, bye.”

Pay phones

Pay phones are sort of like landlines, right? I don’t know about you, but I definitely miss having this convenient, cheap phone option when my mobile phone dies because I’ve been playing too much Angry Birds and watching too much Netflix.

The cost (or lack thereof)

How many times did you ‘upgrade’ your landline phone over the course of 10 years? Once? To go from corded to cordless? Maybe?

Now, how many times have you upgraded your cell phone in the last 10 years?

Hanging up angrily

Remember the good ol’ days, when you could slam the phone down with gusto, to let off steam and make your point? I guess you can still do that with a smartphone, but it’s going to cost $150 to repair that broken screen.

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