Ed Sheeran reveals he hasn’t owned a cell phone since 2015

‘I feel like with phones, everyone expects you to reply, and if you don’t reply, it’s rude,’ Sheeran says

Brittany Miller
New York
Monday 10 June 2024 15:45
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Ed Sheeran reveals he hasn’t owned a cell phone since 2015
Ed Sheeran reveals he hasn’t owned a cell phone since 2015 (Getty Images)

Ed Sheeran has opened up about why he’s mostly off the grid.

The “Shape of You” singer recently appeared on a podcast episode of Therapuss with Jake Shane, where he had to tell the host that they couldn’t exchange phone numbers because he doesn’t have a cell phone to call or text him from.

“I don’t have a number, but you can have my email,” the Grammy winner said. “That isn’t me playing you off either.”

However, the “Bad Habits” singer did admit that his team gives him a phone to use when he attends events just for the purpose of being active on social media. “I have something to like video stuff that would then go up on social media,” he said. “But it’s not like an active working phone.”

The decision to get rid of his phone in the first place occurred in December 2015, when the singer recalled having too many contacts to keep up with. “I had the same number from like age 15, I think,” he said. “I got famous, and I had 10,000 contacts in my phone that would just - people would just text the whole time. And I was just constantly in touch with a lot of people.”

“I feel like with phones, everyone expects you to reply, and if you don’t reply, it’s rude. Sometimes you’re just not in a headspace to reply, you’re busy or doing whatever, but then you reply, then they reply back… and suddenly you’re in like 40 conversations at once.”

To change the stigma around needing to be constantly available and avoid phone addiction as a whole, Sheeran made the decision to get rid of his phone and only use an iPad. His primary method of communication is now email, with the singer explaining that he only checks it around once per week

“On a Thursday or Friday, I sit down, usually in the car. I blast all the emails. Catch up. Do all the talking to whoever... and that’s it,” the singer said. “You can really limit your time.”

“I went to dinner after the Celtics yesterday, and you just leave your iPad in your hotel room. I had dinner with my best friend. We caught up, had a long chat and that was it.”

He also noted another email benefit, which is that no one expects a reply instantly, so there is no fear of a person’s negative reaction to being left on read.

Sheeran explained that not having a phone allows him to be bored, which he says is often when his song ideas come to him. “When you’re just sitting doing nothing... that’s when I think of a lyric or a melody, or you’ll have an idea about where to go next in your career,” he said.

“Nothing creative has ever come out of being connected the whole time. Boredom is what makes someone think of an iPhone.”

Sheeran isn’t the only singer who’s tech-free, as country singer Dolly Parton only communicates via fax machine. “I’m a low-tech girl in a high-tech world,” she said during a November 2023 episode of The Drew Barrymore Show.

“I don’t want to talk to everybody that wants to talk to me. I don’t text ‘cause I don’t want to have to answer,” the 78-year-old actress told Barrymore. “If somebody calls me, I’ll answer it if I want to talk to ‘em or I’ll call ‘em back when I can. Otherwise, I’ve got too much to think about than to clutter my mind up with everything else.”

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