5 Images Showing Life Before & After Cell Phones

Comic illustrator¬†Angela Liao¬†has created a few images to jog your memory about what life was like about 15 years ago, before everybody has a cell phone. Teenagers don’t know what life was like without them, people in their 20’s or 30’s can just about remember their childhood years without them but most people have spent half their lives without one, and they lived just fine!

Back in the day life was a lot simpler, if you arranged to meet a friend you would decide on a time and a place and you would both be there. There was no other option. If they we’re there, you’d wait for as long as you wanted to and if they still didn’t show, you’d just go home. These days if you’re running late, you just text your pal and let them know what’s going on and when you’ll be there.


These days if someone doesn’t answer the phone it can stress you out, are they ignoring me? Have the been in an accident? Could they have lost their phone. But back in the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s and beyond, you just assumed they weren’t available and called them back later on.

In those days you couldn’t leave a message, they didn’t have answer machines.


Worst case scenario back then: you can’t get home and there is no pay phone about. OR if there is a pay phone, you didn’t have the right coin for it. A last resort, that could land you in big trouble at home because it was expensive, would be to make a collect call to your parents. As it was so expensive you had to be quick, no time for an explanation or an apology, just give them the details of where you are and say you need a life NOW.


It used to be completely normal to know your own phone number off by heart, and your best friends, and your boyfriends, and the neighbour and your grandma and the babysitter. These day’s your lucky if you remember your own. Not only are mobile numbers nearly twice as long as your house phone, we just don’t need to memorise them, because we record them in our phone and we back them up in case we lost the phone. We don’t dial numbers every time we want to speak to someone, we don’t even see their number, we just click on their name.


WHAT did everybody used to do when they were just waiting around? Waiting for the bus, waiting for their doctors appointment, waiting for school to finish! Well it was exactly that, you just had to wait, do nothing, think to yourself, pick up a leaflet, kick a stone, observe other people. Now other people are barely noticed because we can text, watch tv, play games, even bank online.


By Hannah Jones

Hannah is a Manchester based writer who has spent many years studying and working in the field of journalism and psychology. Hannah enjoys swimming, meditation and dog walking. Her favourite quote is, 'If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.'