Yesterday morning I woke up early, and in my typical fashion, I picked up my phone to check emails, to see if Mommy had left me text message directions for the school drop-off, to glance at the headlines. And a couple of minutes into this process, my phone froze. Then it went black. It looked exactly the photo here. (Which happens to be a picture of Mommy's dishwasher front, by the way.)
I plugged it in, knowing that the battery was charged, so that didn't help. And I knew it wasn't going to help but one can always hope. I tried restarting it. Nothing happened. There wasn't much time for total panic right then because I had to drive the older girls to school. Driving in the rain and fog to the second school I realized I needed to tell Daddy-O that I was without a phone. "I'll call him when I get back home." Then I remembered there is no house phone here.
When I got back home, the reality of life without my smartphone began to set in. It contains my calendar. It holds my contact list with phone numbers for everyone from family to doctors to the car service manager. It has all my photos. (I'm not admitting to how many, although I think it's way less than many of you.) And on and on and on.
The last time I was in the phone service provider store, Daddy-O was getting a new phone. The salesman set his phone to back up "in the cloud." I asked him to show me how to set mine that way, too. But I have never been sure that I did it correctly.
So I sat here at the kitchen table. With no phone. Thinking of all the information that I might have lost forever. I do use apps like Evernote and Dropbox to store some things. But I surely have not been faithful about utilizing them. Now I was kicking myself for being lazy.
I did bring my computer this time, so I was able to find an Apple store about 15 miles away. While I was reading about making an appointment, I had to go through several screens to narrow down my problem to schedule an appropriate appointment. With each big problem, there were several sub-topics listed with some help suggestions. Long story short—I found one that described my problem and tried what they said and my phone restarted. I really thought my phone was dead, but it turned out to only be a coma. Oh happy day!
BIG LESSON LEARNED. BACK IT UP.
Here is my take away from yesterday's near disaster:
- Be sure your phone is backed up. And understand your backup method. I need a trip somewhere for a better explanation of iCloud backup. I think my phone is backed up to the cloud. But I'm not 100% sure.
- If you are backing up your phone to your computer, back up your computer.
- Take advantage of programs like Evernote that let you save and store nearly any kind of information in the cloud. After my phone came to life again, I moved about two dozen photos to my Evernote, so they (hopefully) will not be lost forever. I realized many, many of the zillion photos aren't so special and need to be deleted. And there are are some that are priceless. (Evernote and Dropbox both offer free basic versions.)
- My phone calendar would be a critical loss. If my phone truly needed to be replaced, I would be without a phone for a few days. So I need to learn about a calendar system that will sync between devices.
- I use the TurboScan app (you make a photo of a document and it saves it as a PDF, just like you scanned it on the computer) and I've kept some of those documents stored in the app. I need to be diligent with sending them to Evernote. (For the record, mine are not sensitive information., but it's useful information.)
- My phone contacts? Maybe I should pull out the trusty ol' Rolodex and at least have a written record of the important numbers.
So, the big take away here. Know what's on your phone that could be lost forever. Have a plan for replacing that information. Use your plan. I know that most of what is on my phone is not terribly important. So if it were lost, it might be like a forced housecleaning. But there is a certain amount that I do need. Next time, I'll be better prepared. I got a second chance this time. That might not be the case again.