In today’s world, smartphones are a valuable asset in daily life. They are incredible tools that help us communicate with others around the world and allow us to shop, find directions, and search the web from almost anywhere. Even with all of these tools, a new study lead by Dr. Thomas Robinson, shows that this piece of technology may have changed our lives more dramatically than we thought. A newly completed study by Cass Business School in London, claims the battery icons on our phone change how we see time and space. In other words, smartphone battery percentages can change our mood and even label our personal identities.

The Study

Have you ever woken up one morning, only to find your phone wasn’t charging? Has this ever left you with more anxiety, ultimately changing the schedule of your day? Several subjects in the study stated that a full battery icon made them feel comfortable to travel anywhere and do anything. Likewise, a low battery gauge meant increased anxiety and an altered schedule until they could charge up.

Full would be “Yeah, ok great, good to go for the day”; 50 per cent I’d be a bit “Oh God, I had better stop it from updating itself all the time in the background”… then it would be at 30 per cent and I would be like: “Now I’m not having fun anymore”.

Interestingly, Apple removed the battery percentage from just about all of their smartphones starting in 2017. Part of the reason was that they also believed the percentage icon did more harm to users throughout their day. Constantly checking what percentage one’s phone is at left many shaping their day around when the next charge had to be. Similarly, the study also connected human characteristics and battery percentages.

For example, someone that constantly let their phone die or remain low, were seen as “inconsiderate” or “disorganized”. Contrary, those that constantly checked their device’s battery, are categorized as “a bit OCD and “control freaks”. This added pressure only worsens the way many revolve their time around their phone’s battery levels.

Solutions?

What could solve this looming pressure that follows us each and every day? Will newly released smartphones, designed with more efficient and larger batteries cure our worries? Maybe temporarily, but this could be a sign that we rely on or use our phones too much. Smartphones have quickly turned into our wallets, work devices, and entertainment. As a result it’s impossible to leave the house without one. Unfortunately, smartphone battery percentages may remain as just one factor that we may never have full control over.


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