5 Nostalgic Throwback Apps To Dumb Down Your Smartphone

Designed by Chloe Effron
Designed by Chloe Effron / Designed by Chloe Effron

While changes in technology are almost always for the better (faster uploads! More camera megapixels! Siri!), too often our favorite pastimes—like games—are left in the dust. A lot of the classic programs that we loved have fallen by the wayside in favor of fancier, shinier versions. But for those days when nostalgia is at peak levels (but you still want to be able to stream music and swipe right on Tinder), consider downloading these fun throwback apps.


courtesy Furlan Paolo

It seemed like everyone on the planet had a Nokia handset at one point, especially the iconic 3310, but only the cool kids really knew how to use the Composer program. There were websites devoted to Composer ringtones, and you could “compose” anything from the Super Mario Bros. theme to Blink-182’s “All The Small Things.” With the free Nokia Composer Monophonic App, you can relive your keypress ringtone days and impress everyone when your mom calls during your trip to the Early Aughts Convention.


courtesy dsd 164

This was a great game that you didn’t need a network connection for, just decent thumb-eye coordination and timing. There have been updated versions of Snake, but it’s only worth it if you can see every pixelated segment of the snake’s body as it gets dangerously close to running into itself, which these throwback options on both Apple and Android offer. 


courtesy Bandai Namco

It was the digital pet that taught millions of children how to cope with death. Tamagotchis were handheld devices separate from cell phones, but the fact that they are now available as smartphone pets and not breakable keychain attachments is a good thing. The downside? Now you can get in trouble during client meetings for checking on your pet, just like you did as a kid when you just had to give them a snack during math class. And the cycle of life continues...


Designed by Chloe Effron

This is a bit of a cheat because it’s a browser-based app that can also be accessed with a phone, but it's too fun to pass up. MacPaint and MacDraw blew minds in 1984, when people were paying almost an additional $200 to be able to create art on their Macintosh. Hey, if adult coloring books can be a thing, bringing back MacPaint should be too!


courtesy Rotary Phone

The standard dialer on most smartphones, though touchscreen, still looks like a 12-key phone with the International Standard pad. But before keypads, back when you had to "dial" and "hang up" phones, rotary phones were all we knew. This app replicates that slow ritual for all you retro-enthusiasts out there. Good luck remembering anyone's phone number besides your parents' though.