There’s something about me and cell phones that spells disaster. I recently changed my phone over to iOS 7, and it made everything look wonky and weird. Nobody else in the history of the iPhone had this problem but me. While every other person was busy writing lovely reviews about the majesty of the new update, I had to make a special trip to the Apple Store to get everything sorted. Blergh. This wasn’t the first time I’ve had to seek assistance from the fresh faced Apple Store crew, either. Last October, when we initially ran the piece below, I was also at their mercy…
It started like any other busy Saturday. I ran errands here, dropped children there, and generally tried to complete my to-do list before the sun went down or I collapsed—whichever came first. As I was shuttling Lucy from one store to another, I noticed that the little battery indicator in the upper right corner of my iPhone was looking exactly how I felt – very drained. No problem! I whipped out my trusty car charger to take care of the phone and tried to figure out how I could sneak in a trip to Starbucks for re-energizing myself.
Before I could even put my phone down, I could feel it was becoming strangely hot. I unplugged it from the charger and started to remove it from the case to investigate. By the time I got the case off I realized I had a big, big problem. My naked little iPhone was as hot as the surface of the sun.
I couldn’t even touch it with my bare hands. I dropped it in the cup holder of my minivan console and stared at it for a good 30 seconds. When that didn’t accomplish anything, I took action. Wrapping my t-shirt over my finger for protection, I poked the power button at the top of the phone. Nothing but black screen greeted me. So I pushed and HELD the button. Surely that would make all the difference. Nope. I pressed the power button again…and again…and again. Still, as you undoubtedly expect, nothing.
It was then I began to worry. You see, while I’m not a wizard with technology, even I knew that this was bad. It doesn’t take a genius to realize you shouldn’t have to use your shirt as an oven mitt to operate your phone.
I sat in the parking lot and tried to figure out what to do next. I decided to call my husband, Robert, for advice. He’s *really* good with computers and technology…but that’s the thing with a phone that won’t turn on. You can’t actually call anyone. Oops.
That’s when it hit me. I have everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, on this phone—this phone that I can no longer even touch without improvised protective hand gear. I’ve got photographs from our vacation (all the funny ones that are spontaneous)…and schedules…contacts…to-do lists…and voice recordings of ideas for future blog posts. You name it—it’s on that phone.
But it’s more to me than that. I use my phone from the moment I get up in the morning (alarm clock app), when deciding what to wear (weather app), for getting updates on current events (news app), to record my exercise (fitness app), to keep me on time for carpools (calendar app), when cooking dinner (recipe app), and for fun once the kids are in bed (Facebook app, Words With Friends app, Sky Words app). Despite the fact that I hadn’t bothered to sync up or save any of this stuff to my laptop, I still I wasn’t in a full blown panic yet. I mean, people retrieve information from computers and phones all the time. I might not know how to do it, but someone did, I was certain.
I decided the only thing I could do at that point was to leave the phone in the cup holder and continue my errands. (Although I no longer had access to my shopping lists which were—you guessed it—on the phone).
When I finally arrived home, Robert was completely annoyed that I had neglected his two calls, one text message, and subsequent voice mail while I’d been out and about. After I explained, he was shocked that my phone was STILL too hot to handle even 2 hours later. He suggested I march right up to the store of our cellular service provider.
I did exactly that after I’d wrapped up the phone in a dishtowel (so I could stick it in my purse without having it melt my Altoids tin or lip balm). Once there, the “helpful” associate assured me that he had no idea what was wrong. He asked me more than once if I’d dropped it in water before it died. (Ugh, no! But he had the nerve to look skeptical.) He said I was the only one who had ever come in with “a story like that”, although he did admit that it was quite hot and completely dead. He also said he had no way to retrieve my information (WHAT?!), *but* there was a bright side. Oh, thank goodness! I really needed a bright side right about then! He was completely happy to sell me a new phone right there on the spot! Or even better, would I like to upgrade to the iPhone 5?!
Um…no, no I would not. In fact, I wasn’t keen on shelling out money for any new phone just then. What I wanted was an explanation of what happened and to get the information off of my old phone. He suggested I contact Apple. Oh, great! Another stop!
The Apple Store man (if you can call him that, he looked about 12 years old), actually *was* helpful. He immediately said that he was absolutely certain the battery had short circuited. He said it was fairly common, and they see 1 or 2 a week. Well, there you go! He also said that, although it generally occurs during a charging event, it wasn’t the fault of the charger or me. It was just one of those things! Thank you, Apple man/boy!
He then proceeded to ask me a series of standard questions they use when people bring in phones wrapped in dish towels. (See, it’s so common they have an official questionnaire and everything!)
Apple Dude: Did you sustain any bodily injury during the event?
Me: Oh, no. I put it down when it got too hot to handle.
Apple Dude: Good. Some people hold on to it and get burns and blisters. You’d be surprised.
Me: Wow, I guess I am.
Apple Dude: At any time, were open flames visible?
Me: WHAT? No, thank goodness. Does that really happen?
Apple Dude: We’ve seen it before. Did you car sustain any damage or burns?
Me: Hmmm… My minivan is really old and my cup holders aren’t exactly pristine. Let’s just say no.
He then opened my phone to take a look. You know that Salvador Dali painting with clocks melting? Well that’s what the inside of my phone looked —completely melted.
Me: WHOA! Look at that! Oh, one important question. Can we get my data back?
Apple Dude: Of course we can!! Don’t worry at all. We’ll have you set up with a free replacement phone in about 10 minutes and get all your information and apps back on before you leave tonight.
It was then I knew I might honestly love him. Until….
Apple Dude: You’re in The Cloud, right?
Me: What? Huh? The Cloud? No, what is that? I’m an old person. I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Apple Dude: I’m sure you’re in The Cloud. You checked the box to sync your iPhone to your iPad, right?
Me: I don’t have an iPad or anything else to sync. So….no?
Apple Dude: I’m sure you have it. You must have checked the box on your computer from iTunes. It’s the way to safely back up all of your Apple data.
Me: Oh, no. I don’t think I checked any box. I remember when that option popped up. It seemed kind of creepy. I mean clouds are misty and everyone knows you aren’t supposed to get electronics wet. Besides, a cloud doesn’t exactly seem like a secure place to store your information being so flimsy and all. If you’d named it “The Fortress of Back Up Security” I might have considered it. You’ll just have to get my data the old fashioned way.
Apple Dude (very sadly): Oh, there is no other way. If you didn’t check the box, you’re not in The Cloud. It’s all gone. I’m so sorry.
Me: Oh, really? There’s nothing you can do? At all? Please?
Apple Dude: No, I’m sorry, ma’am. (Getting ma’amed by a 12 year old Apple associate who was obviously trying to break bad news gently to an elderly customer was the final stake in my dataless heart)
He did all he could, though. I got my free (but empty) replacement phone and went home to rebuild the information I’d taken for granted before. It’s been two weeks, but I still don’t have everything back the way it was. Every special setting or customization is a thing of the past. I can’t remember many of the apps I used to have, and there are some things I just can’t recreate, but I can assure you one thing…..
Or at least I checked the box and think I am.