The Light Phone 3 is coming to replace your iPhone

Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 42, your guide to the best and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new here, welcome, so psyched you found us, and also you can read all the old editions at the Installer homepage.) 

I also have for you a new minimalist phone, a book to read, a documentary to watch, a fun hack for your Rabbit R1, and much more. Let’s get into it.

(As always, the best part of Installer is your ideas and tips. What are you playing, reading, downloading, buying, or bedazzling this week? What are you into that everyone else should be into? Tell me everything: [email protected]. And if you know someone else who might enjoy Installer, tell them to subscribe here.)

The Drop

  • The Light Phone 3. The new version of one of the best minimalist phones comes with a better screen, a camera, an NFC chip, and some big ambitions about replacing your phone. I don’t think I’m physically capable of ditching my smartphone, but I want this thing so badly.
  • Apple Passwords. We’ll talk a lot more about all of Apple’s WWDC announcements as they start to roll out, but this one’s worth thinking about now: Apple’s cross-platform, presumably well-integrated passwords app looks really good. Might be time to start compiling all your passwords and passkeys.
  • Moonbound. Robin Sloan is one of my favorite writers on the internet, and both of his previous books were excellent. This one, a deeply meta science fiction epic, seems to be the weirdest one yet — and I mean that in a good way. 
  • How Music Got Free. For people of a certain age, this Paramount Plus doc is going to feel like reliving some formative years — remember Napster and Kazaa and LimeWire and the way the internet completely broke the music industry? So many fun stories in this one.
  • House of the Dragon season 2. I confess I didn’t really get into House of the Dragon last season, but so many people have told me they’re excited about the new one starting this weekend that I feel like I have to catch up to be ready. Feels like everyone’s going to be talking about this on Monday. 
  • I installed Android on Rabbit R1 & Made it Useful.” The top comment on this video just says, “They accidentally made a great dumbphone.” It’s kind of true! The R1 is a fun gizmo running crappy software; as a tiny Android tablet, I confess I kind of love it again. I even got mine out of the drawer to try this for myself.
  • Yahoo News. Yahoo bought and shut down Artifact earlier this year. That was sad. This is better: some of that recommendation tech is back in the new Yahoo News, which has lots of personalization and streaks and badging and all kinds of good stuff. I’m using Yahoo again! Who woulda thunk!
  • Inside Disney’s ‘Area 51,’ Where Lightsabers and Other Tech Are Invented.Lanny Smoot seems like an extremely cool person with an extremely cool job, and this video does a great job of showing all the wild, futuristic stuff he and Disney are working on for the company’s theme parks and other products. Give me that omnidirectional treadmill now. 
  • Fantasmas. This is a week old, but like 100 of you recommended it this week, so I’m making an exception. (Thanks to everyone who told me about it!) It’s a really unusually structured show, and you definitely can’t half-watch this one, but I’m digging it so far.

Screen share

Andrew Liszewski has long been one of my favorite bloggers on the internet. He spent years at Gizmodo writing about the weirdest, funniest, silliest, coolest stuff on the web, and I’ve definitely spent thousands of dollars on stuff just because he wrote about it.

Now, Andrew works for The Verge! This was his first week, and he’s already in Slack causing chaos. It’s the best. I asked him to share his homescreen with us to see if I could get any tips on how he scours the web. He didn’t reveal all his secrets, but I do know more about the weather in Canada now, so that’s something.

Here’s Andrew’s homescreen, plus some info on the apps he uses and why:

The phone: iPhone 12 Pro (with a battery that’s feeling its age).

The wallpaper: I like a very minimalist wallpaper under my apps, but because I find solid black makes the screen too reflective, I created a custom subtle blue gradient I’ve been using for the past five years. (For my lock screen, I’m using one of Mikael Gustafsson’s dreamy nature scenes.)

The apps: Google Calendar, Clock, Photos, Camera, Google Home, Google Photos, Find My, Instagram, Google Maps, WeatherCAN, Nest, Google Chat, Settings, Watch, Chrome, Apple Books, 1Password, App Store, Apple Notes, Phone, Gmail, Messages, Apple Photos.

My iPhone’s main homescreen is where all my daily driver apps live. This includes Instagram, Google Home, the aging Nest app (which includes functionality for my Nest thermostat I can’t find elsewhere), Chrome, 1Password (which all but solved my password anxiety once I finally switched over), IMDb, Paprika 3, countless smart home remotes, and most importantly, the Environment Canada weather app so I know when to get the grass cut before it rains. I’m obsessive about clearing notifications on my primary homescreen but am happy for them to pile up on the second screen, where I like to keep all other installed apps accessible.

I also asked Andrew to share a few things he’s into right now. Here’s what he sent back:

  • I’m a big fan of retro gaming and recently added the tiny Anbernic RG28XX to my ever-growing collection of handheld emulators. The Game Boy Micro remains one of my favorite handhelds of all time, but with the RG28XX, I can leave all the cartridges at home.
  • Our house is mildly obsessed with the reality series Alone, and we’re quite excited to dive into the season 11 premiere this week.
  • I just finished reading Bill Hammack’s (also known as the “Engineer Guy on YouTube) book, The Things We Make, which includes fascinating deep dives into the engineering of everything from medieval cathedrals to how the microwave was invented.
  • When I’m struggling to fall asleep, nothing calms my brain faster than the Joe DIY Instagram account, which features videos of detailed restorations of classic die-cast toys. Give it a shot. Watching a rusted dump truck turn back into a bright yellow Tonka toy is immensely satisfying.


Here’s what the Installer community is into this week. I want to know what you’re into right now as well! Email [email protected] or message me on Signal — @davidpierce.11 — with your recommendations for anything and everything, and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every week. For more recommendations than I could fit here, check out the replies to this post on Threads.

“I just recently came across this Australian company called Juicy Crumb that specializes in creating custom motherboard replacements for old iMacs, which lets people easily repurpose them as monitors. And they made one for the iMac G4! Believe me when I tell you I’ve never hit a ‘buy’ button so quickly (lol). Anyway, I ordered one a few months back and recently swapped it into my 20-inch G4, and it worked like a charm! I plugged it into a M1 Mac Mini I had, and now I’m using an iMac G4 like it’s 2004 again.” – Ryan

“I LOVE the Surface kickstand, enjoy typing onscreen (have done it for 14 years, tbf), and hate cases on my Apple devices. I’m obsessed with this magnet-back cover with a kickstand for my iPad. Could only source it from Amazon Germany, but they shipped to New Zealand for free. Wicked result.” – Brendon

“Your mention of Inbox Ten makes me think you’d appreciate Tony Hsieh’s Yesterbox method, which I’ve used successfully for years!” – Deb

“I’ve been loving journaling in Diarium, especially since it’s completely private and local. If you want to sync between devices, you can use a cloud sync of your choosing — it can even read-only sync with apps like Fitbit, Instagram, Strava, etc. to add everything you’ve done in the day into your journal entry.” – Michael

“I recently subscribed to Scott Belsky’s Implications newsletter, and I’m convinced everyone who is interested in the future of tech and culture should, too.” – Ricky

“I just discovered the app Crouton for recipe collection, and it’s by far the best at scrubbing a URL for the actual recipe. You can even take a photo of a cookbook page, and it’ll generate the recipe. Probably the best example of a real-world use for AI I’ve encountered yet.” – JT

“I’m enjoying the new MLB Morning Lineup podcast. Each episode is 10 minutes or less, and it recaps the previous day’s box scores and news. It’s been a very nice way to catch up on the best sport.” – Mario

“Been trying out Star Wars: Hunters on iOS after it finally launched. It’s a PVP arena combat game, and I’m loving it so far. The hunters are all unique and fun, it’s not too heavy on the pay-to-play stuff, and it’s remarkably good for a quick game. It’s not perfect (the UI is atrocious), but it’s a good start.” – Matt

“Puzzmo just added a new game to their catalog, Pile-Up Poker, and it is stellar.” – Luke

“My friends introduced me to this Call of Duty-like shooter that’s apparently very popular in India. It’s called Free Fire Max. The reason for its popularity is its ability to run on any device.

You should give it a try. The graphics are mediocre, but the experience is great.” – Rudrajit

Signing off

I posted on Threads a few days ago that my number one productivity hack is to take a 25-minute nap in the middle of the day. This made a lot of people have feelings and ask questions, even though I’m totally right. (It’s just science. I don’t make the rules.) But for all the people who asked for tips, here are mine. 

The perfect 25-minute nap involves three things. First, realizing that even if you don’t sleep, lying there with your eyes closed for 25 minutes is still very restful; not stressing about sleeping makes it easier to sleep. Second, an episode of a TV show I’ve seen before (I do a lot of Parks and Recreation) can make it easier to quiet my brain and fall asleep. Third, I put on my smartwatch and set an alarm there; waking up from a wrist buzz is infinitely better than a blaring sound. Naps are great, naps forever, happy napping, everybody.