You’ve probably been there. That feeling when you have to relinquish your smart phone for repair; you suddenly feel cut off from everyone and everything. You’re not on vacation, intentionally going off the grid. It’s a work day. You need to stay connected. You have work to get done.
Last Tuesday was that day for me. The battery on my iPhone 6 Plus had been draining way too quickly. The battery setting said it needed service and I should bring it in. I made my appointment with the Genius Bar at the Apple Store about 15 minutes from my house. I blocked a two-hour window door to door. Seemed reasonable. I took some work with me to do while they were replacing the battery, but I didn’t think to bring my laptop.
I had a 12:30 p.m. appointment. It was around 1:15 when they took the phone; they said it would be an hour before I would get it back. So much for my two-hour window. I headed to the food court for a quick lunch and did my other work – paper I’d brought with that I needed to review. I suddenly felt incredibly out of touch without my iPhone.
It took only about 15 minutes to review the papers with me. Now what? There was one purchase I needed, so I headed to a store. I got back to the Apple Store at 2:15 and they weren’t done. The greeter told me it would be another 20 minutes. I thought of one other item I needed and headed to another nearby store.
I returned after 20 minutes. iPhone still not ready. I somewhat jokingly (though I was getting increasingly frustrated) told them this was costing me money since I hadn’t planned to shop that day. More importantly, I had a conference call at 3 p.m. that I needed to do from home on my laptop. So much for thinking a few hours was enough.
I got my iPhone back at 2:50 p.m. As it turns out, when they replaced the battery, the display wouldn’t work, and they couldn’t resolve it. So, I ended up with a brand-new iPhone 6 Plus for the price they were going to charge me for the battery. A good but unexpected ending in many respects.
As I ran out of time, they got me set up for phone and text. I quickly called one of the two people for the 3 p.m. scheduled call and said I hadn’t been able to review the prep document that had been sent during this offline window and wouldn’t be able to do the call until 3:30.
I headed home with a phone with bare-bones functionality. Not until I could take time later that day to do the iCloud restore would I return to normal functioning.
I got home, did the scheduled call and then was up against the end of daylight so had to do the daily dog walk. What apps do I depend on for that daily ritual? My FitBit tracking app, plus either podcasts to get smart or Pandora for music. A quick Pandora download was easier than subscribing to one of my favorite Podcasts. I knew that would come back once I did the restore. And a quick FitBit download was easy. So, two app store downloads and I was on my way.
That evening, after I got through my priority work and took care of what I had missed during those few hours offline, I started the iCloud restore. For the most part it went smoothly, which still amazes me. As an IT person who has worked with on-prem systems at scale for more years than I care to admit, I expect a restore to be much harder and more involved, and potentially problematic.
I ended up having just a few glitches. I couldn’t get Twitter to open until I gave it my password which, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember after being automatically signed in for so long. After many attempts, I figured it out and was back tweeting and getting my news feed. When I loaded the only game I play, Words with Friends, it ended up creating a new user name. As a result, all games that were in process are history, as is my win/loss record. Given I have an arch nemesis who I can never beat, I guess that’s a good thing. With my new username, I’ve started games again with my four frequent competitors. A few other apps requiring a login tested my memory of passwords, but I got past it.
While there are probably a few more settings to tweak, the last thing I bothered to do that night with my brand-new replacement phone was set up fingerprint ID for multiple fingers. That took less than a minute.
I stepped back and thought about the dependency I have on my iPhone for calls, texts, email, calendar, social media, and multiple useful apps throughout the day. And I remembered that just 15 years ago we had a very long cable snaked from the modem in a closet over to my desk at home in order to get online.
How far we’ve come. And how dependent we’ve become.