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Why You Should Always Backup Your Phone

My phone gave me no problems. In fact, on the day that this story happens, I had listened to podcasts in the car and sent a few emails and played WordBubbles.  Nothing was amiss.

Until it was amiss.

We were driving home from camp when the Wolvog informed me that he couldn’t wait the additional hour for dad to pick up his library book.  Could we please go to the library despite the fact that I have driven 3 hours today running errands and return to the library for a third time*?

Sure.  Let’s go.  There is nothing I want to do more than go to the library again and spend more time in this car.

I told the Wolvog to take my phone and text daddy so he didn’t go to pick up the book.  He sent the message and then began chatting with Josh about his day.  And then I hear a little voice from the back seat say, “Um, Mum?  Your phone keeps resetting.”

That’s odd.  It had never happened to me before, but I was sure that it was just a problem with the battery.  It had been at 69% when I got in the car, but no worries, I’m sure that I’ll plug it in and give it a charge and all will be fine.

Except that when we got to the library and I looked at my phone, I noticed it wasn’t really resetting.  The Apple logo was flashing on the screen.  On for a few seconds, off for a few seconds, on for a few seconds…  I tried rebooting the phone, but it wouldn’t turn off.  Or, if I held it down long enough, it went off, but when I turned it back on, it resumed the flashing logo.

We went into the library to run the errand, and I said that I would deal with the phone when I got home.

At home, I booted up iTunes and plugged it in.  It wouldn’t recognize the phone.  I Googled around and found a few things to try.  I tried updating the software.  I tried restoring to factory settings.  I tried shaking the phone gently.  Nothing worked.

Josh came home and then took the phone and drove out to the Apple store because I was too spent to get behind the wheel again.  He called me from the store telling me they would have to wipe the phone.  I would lose all the photos and contacts and calendar appointments and notes I had made since my last backup.  I just wanted a functioning phone, so I told him to go ahead.

It still didn’t work.

The phone was toast.  They couldn’t get anything off the phone.  Anything that hadn’t been backed up was gone.  Forever.

The last back up I did had been before the BlogHer conference, so if it would load onto the phone, all would be fine-ish.  I would lose a few things, but a few things was better than all things.

Josh brought home a new phone, and we plugged it in and hoped for the best.  I’ll admit that I didn’t have a lot of hope.  I backup to the computer — not the Cloud.  If this didn’t work, I would have to try to re-enter all my contacts and my calendar appointments.  I’d have to find and reload all the photos.  I had most of them, but they were in dozens of different folders.  I would lose all my notes, my voice memos, pieces of the book, frequently used directions.

My life is on that freakin’ phone.  It is the only thing between organization and chaos.

It took over an hour to reload the last backup onto the phone, and while I lost a few things, the vast majority showed up on my new screen.  My contacts were there.  My notes.  My calendar.  My apps.  My books.

But most importantly, my photos.  Not just the photos I had placed on the phone.  The thing I thought was gone forever — my camera roll — was back on my new phone.

The moral of this story: don’t wait until your phone shows you trouble to back it up.  My phone was completely fine until the logic board went out, and once it did, there was no way to get anything off the phone.  So back up.  Often.  But especially after you take a lot of pictures, add contacts, or add appointments to the calendar.

This has been your public service announcement.

* It was the first time for the twins, but it was the third time for me.  To be fair, the first time I went the library was closed because I got the opening time wrong.  The second time I went, I dropped off books.


1 Working mom of 2 { 07.28.15 at 9:40 am }

Yeah. My phone once had an issue where an update caused a prob with photos (I have iTunes on my computer so when I plug it in it immediately wants to sync/update/backup). So I would stop the sync/backup, first transfer photos, then go back and sync/update/backup. Once I transfer photos I delete most on my phone bc of space.) Somehow last fall I managed to delete some B4 transfer. Due to my usual procedure caused by one bad update in the past, I had no backup of those photos. I lost photos from my dd’s 2nd bday and our last thanksgiving with my late dad. ?

2 Jenn { 07.28.15 at 9:43 am }

I haven’t a clue how to backup my current android phone. It also has this thing where it shows me pictures I took on a previous android phone 4 years ago. Pictures of an ex pop up and it won’t let me delete them. I did have me laptop get knocked onto the floor by my cat many years ago. I had a friend and her former Mac genius friends try to get the data off the busted hard drive. I lost music, photos, and about 40 unfinished poems (once upon a time I was a performance poet). It was horrible.

3 ANDMom { 07.28.15 at 12:47 pm }

My phone automatically uploads photos to dropbox, so I never have to think about it, and my calendar and contacts are linked through google. I would probably never remember to back up my phone, so it’s nice to have everything automatically done.

4 Sharon { 07.28.15 at 1:28 pm }

Ugh, that’s one of my worst nightmares. (And despite your awesome weekly reminders, I am not as good about backing up my iPhone as I should be.) Sorry you had to go through that!

5 Lori Lavender Luz { 07.28.15 at 2:29 pm }

But did you wear pants?

I totally get this because it’s me, too: “It is the only thing between organization and chaos.” I am so so so so glad that most of your recent stuff showed up.What a relief.

Good warning.

6 Valery Valentina { 07.28.15 at 4:40 pm }

Mhmmm, I just got my first very smart phone this week. After reading this I’m very hesitant to put my life in there… I’m still doubting about putting email on it, or blogs, because it seems so hard to comment from a phone from what I hear… Contacts are on the sim card so that should be OK if the phone dies.

7 Mali { 07.28.15 at 10:53 pm }

Argh! I’m going to have to double check where my contacts are backed up now.

I don’t use my phone for photos other than the occasional one to post to Fb or blogs, and I take them off / back them up regularly (Android). Everything else I have there – my email/calendar/library e-books and Kindle sync across my iPad/phone and laptop, so I don’t have to worry.

My iPad on the other hand, worries me more. I hate Apple’s backup system (I don’t use the Cloud either – maybe I should). Thank goodness for syncing all my Google/Kindle etc apps. Once again though, it’s probably contacts. Must go sort that out too.

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