I often ask myself “Am I serving the phone, or is the phone serving me?” This question frames the issue of agency that you speak of.
When we mindlessly scroll through social feeds with no real intent, or check for new notifications every 5 minutes, we are serving our phones and they become our masters.
The phone becomes our servant when we use it deliberately for a purpose that enhances “real life.” Things like navigation, emergency phone calls, quickly taking photos of our children, etc.
It’s also why I keep my phone on silent nearly 24/7. We serve our phones every time a ding interrupts real life and we respond to it. Our phones serve us when choose when we will respond to it.