25 Everyday Things Made Obsolete This Century

The last 100 years have brought about a slew of new devices and gadgets. 

That means we’ve also said goodbye to some items that were once staples in many people’s lives. 

Let’s take a look at some of the items that have gone obsolete in the last century.  

Backing up your data on floppies or CDs.

This decade, we said hello to sleek external hard drives and tiny thumb drives.

But even hard drives are becoming obsolete for the average person.

We're officially in the era of the 'cloud,' where we save all of our data to online storage services like Box, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Carbonite, and Microsoft's SkyDrive.

Getting film developed.

Does anyone actually do this anymore?

E-mail accounts you have to pay for.

In a word: Gmail.

Calling '411'

Want to find out the locations of the closest 50 Starbucks in a 4-block radius?

Forget wasting time talking to an all-knowing automated voice, and thank your lucky stars for Google Maps, Bing, Foursquare, and Yelp.

Movie rental stores

The massive popularity of Netflix and Video-On-Demand has made it virtually unnecessary to go to an actual store to rent movies. Blockbuster is feeling the shift.

Earlier this year, Blockbuster shut down 300 stores, leaving only 500 locations open.

It first started shutting down stores in 2009, and we bet it won't be long until they're all gone.

Standalone GPS devices

Traditional GPS devices had a pretty good run, but they're pretty useless now that almost everyone has a smartphone with Google Maps.

The iPhone has turn-by-turn directions and so does Android, so there's really no reason to buy a standalone GPS system.

Newspaper classifieds

Mainly thanks to Craig Newmark, the internet became the place to go to find a job or sell your old couch.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The landline phone

With wireless penetration in the U.S. currently at 102.2%, it's no surprise that many people are using their mobiles or internet voice services as their primary way to connect.

And when we consider the fact that about one-fifth of American households were wireless-only as of June 2009, it's not hard to conclude that the landline is on its way out.


Bye, bye buttons -- the iPhone seems to have sent us hurtling toward a touch-screen world straight out of Minority Report.

Some phone manufacturers have recently added gesture controls and even touchless controls.

Long-distance charges

In the same vein of VoIP and cell phones, it no longer costs extra to make those cross-country calls. And Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and various other free Internet chat services make international calls totally free (at least for now) over Wi-Fi.


Remember that trusty stylus? The once-awesome Palm Pilot had no chance with the advent of the Blackberry, and then, of course, the touch-screen smartphone.


DVD players first outsold VCR's in 2002; by 2004, they were outselling them at 40 to 1. Combine that total shift to digital movie-watching with the development of DVR, and you had the inevitable death of the poor VCR.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Fax machines

With the advent of the e-fax, PDFs, DocuSign, and email, and considering how annoying regular faxing can be, we think it won't be long before everyone's taking a bat to their fax machines.

Phone books, dictionaries, encyclopedias

Our old bastions of data have been fading fast over the last few years, replaced by -- what else?-- the Internet.

Note: there are still at least 101 other useful purposes for those gigantic tomes.


Poor CD's. But could anything really have withstood the amazing convenience of digital music and the worldwide adoption of the iPod? As CD sales dropped by 15% this year, it's only a matter of time until the CD becomes just a relic of times bygone.

Ditto to the gold ol' Sony walkman.

Getting bills in the mail

Envelopes! How quaint. The ease and speed of online bill-pay and banking, plus the environmental incentives, will probably make mailings obsolete soon.

Losing touch

Social networks have practically erased the possibility of ever losing touch with anyone. With the rise of wearable technology like Google Glass, it's becoming nearly impossible to lose touch with someone.

The downside: you can no longer use that as an excuse for never speaking to your creepy first-year roommate again.


Boundaries also went out the window with the huge popularity of Facebook and Twitter.

Not surprisingly, this is not always a good thing ... especially when it comes to your mum.

Alarm clock

Alarms are a standard feature on most mobile phones, even non-smartphones. Though, I suppose we do seem them from time to time in hotel rooms.

Record Stores

Records have long been obsolete, except as nostalgia. But the record store, as in a store that sells music, has now been replaced by the internet and iTunes.

Did we forget anything?

What else is toast? Let us know in the comments and we'll update the post!

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.