Personal Automation Hack #18 may seem a little contrary to our usual ‘minimise and declutter’ approach to technology and life but hear us out. We’ve found that a 2nd smartphone just makes life a lot easier as adopt more personal automations and gives you a lot of different options.

As you get more dependent on automations and smart devices it quickly becomes apparent how critical your smartphone is in the whole setup. Having a 2nd smartphone allows for a little redundancy and a little more comfort. If, god forbid, your primary phone runs out of charge, crashes, or misplaced it can mean your whole life can stop itself dead in its tracks. A 2nd phone, that’s updated and has all the same data and access as your primary phone means you can still open your door, start the car, pay for a coffee, swipe left and numerous matters that are essential to your life. A 2nd phone will keep you up and running without skipping a beat.

We’re loathe to call it a back-up phone as that suggests it’s sitting in your drawer, not updated, disconnected and will take a long while to charge up and take the temporary place of your primary phone. This 2nd smartphone should be as charged up, connected and updated as your primary phone. Consider it as your alternative or complementary phone.

A 2nd smartphone also allows you to experiment with new devices and platforms while your ‘main’ automated life continues to tick away on your primary phone. My main phone is an iPhone while my 2nd is an Android so being able to fully experience the two different mobile OSes allows me to experiment more and see how the other half lives, as it were.

We’re not suggesting you should carry the 2nd phone with you at all times either (although it does come in handy for spouses who forget theirs or bored children who seem to think phones can magically recharge). Keep your ‘alternative’ phone connected in your car (more on that in later hack), or around the house/office as you go about daily life. Having your 2nd phone accessible and available is what you’re aiming for.

And when we mean “get” we don’t necessarily mean buy and we especially don’t mean buy a brand new smartphone. Consider resurrecting an old phone you’ve upgraded from, inheriting a hand-me-down from a family member or friend or buying a pre-owned or refurbished older-gen model from eBay. It doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest, it just needs to be sufficiently functional that it can be used in your personal automation setup.

My 2nd smartphone is a hand-me-down Galaxy S10 from a work colleague who had no need for it. It’s not the latest Android, not on 5G, but it’s still a very decent phone and has made utilising automations a lot easier by having it in my life.