The Top 5 New Rules of Public Smartphone Etiquette.

Cell phone etiquette has changed substantially due to their proliferation across ages, classes and geographies; as well as the ubiquity of multifunctional smartphones replacing traditional flip-phones. 

Often called our “third hand,” smartphones seemingly never leave our side. We use them in meetings, at restaurants, and even while we sit on the toilet.

It is hard to believe, but time-was when cell phones were banned from restaurants and many public spaces, and it was considered rude to use the device in the presence of others. Our “third hand” has changed the rules of etiquette.

To keep you de rigueur and in Emily Post’s good graces, I’ve put together a list of THE FIVE rules of the smartphone that are now fully prescribed, and FIVE missteps when using the device. We all know that texting while driving is wrong, but what other rules must we follow? What actions once thought of as “rude” are now perfectly, socially acceptable? How proper are you?


  1. When you are on the toilet.
  2. With friends, as long as you can text while keeping eye contact with others
  3. Giggling and talking back to texts and emails
  4. Taking photos of others in public places, and posting to Facebook
  5. When you’re on an Official iPhone Break


  1. Texting at a urinal* (men only)
  2. Crossing a street without looking up from your phone to check for oncoming traffic
  3. Bicycling while checking your Facebook notifications (really, I see this all the time)
  4. Using a speakerphone in public (we don’t all need to hear both sides of the conversation)
  5. Butt-dialing. We should all have learned not to do this by now.

*see above for use on the toilet.

Do you have any other Do’s and Don’t? We’d love to hear from you.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock













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