Maintaining a Smartphone on a Budget — and Frightening Guesswork

More than two years ago, I invested in my first smartphone.  It was an unused, clearance-priced iPhone 5s, listed on the site of the service provider who was overseeing the account for a cheap flip phone I’d been using.

Even the best smartphones don’t last forever, regardless of whether you treat them gently.  I treated that phone gently often, too.  I let go of it to shower, sleep, read books and go into public places, and that was about it.  The rest of the time, I was the constantly needy infant, and that phone was my caregiver.

Recently, I noticed signs of wear.  The Home button didn’t always work.  It had to be pressed two or three times before I got a response.

I thought about the possibility of having the phone repaired, but the cost of labor and the possibility that something else could go wrong later ruled that out.

I was scared.

My service provider’s website came to the rescue, offering a bargain price on an unused iPhone 6.  I was having some unsettling expenses last month, but decided I could afford the phone.

The money thing worked out alright at the end of the month, and I had plenty of food in the apartment.  It was a victory of sorts.

However, due to a lack of self-confidence, the phone wasn’t activated right away.  I wanted to wait, and see if the inevitable tech struggling could be delayed.  Maybe the Home button problem was a false alarm.

No such luck.  The Home button just about gave up two days ago, and since I had nothing important to do that day I got to work on transferring my data and service to the iPhone 6.

I followed Apple’s instructions for storing the phone’s contents in the iCloud, and got the number transferred to the new device on the service provider’s site.

Then the sky fell — or so I thought.

A notice arrived, saying the data in the cloud couldn’t be sent to the new phone.


My angel (really an imaginary friend) was unfazed.  She held my hand, and explained what I had to do.  Or, you might say I figured it out myself, after frantically looking at websites offering advice.  I stuck with the legit sites, so some detestable person in a remote location couldn’t peek at my phone data.

My angel is a lovely woman.  She’s always here in a crisis.

Soon after, the photos and music appeared on the new phone.  The music wasn’t organized, so I recreated the playlists.  That was time-consuming, but not a huge problem.

Then the apps had to be reinstalled, one at a time.  My angel reminded me to add the phone to the antivirus plan.  Bless her.

At the end of the day, I had invested nine hours in this work, with a little more to be completed later.  I fell into a deep sleep.

Yesterday, I erased the data from the old phone and stopped by the doctor’s office for a flu jab.  Then I visited a salad bar and wandered near San Francisco’s new Salesforce Transit Center, which is presently closed because of cracked beams that raise questions about structural safety.  AC Transit and some other bus services have resumed operating at the temporary depot at Howard & Beale Streets.

Apple has an annoying habit of programming smartphones so when you open the clock app you find the time for Cupertino, California.  That’s in my Time Zone, but I want it to say San Francisco because I’m a city snob.  I also live here.  I made the necessary adjustments.

This morning, my angel suggested one more chore with the old phone.  She said the virus protection company should be notified that the phone is no longer in use.  Done.

I believe everything with the phone has been completed, with the exception of installing the opening of George Michael’s Jesus to a Child for the sleep alarm.  That song is sad, but it’s beautiful to wake up to.  The lyrics are a wake-up call in every sense.

Friends have suggested that next time I activate a new phone I should call the carrier directly.  They said everything was done automatically for them that way.  I’ll have to wait and see if I’m ready to trust a stranger with something so delicate.

Oh, and by the way, the song The Wicked Sister by Méav was missing from the iTunes collection after I changed phones.  iTunes no longer lists that track for sale, and maybe that was why it was lost when everything else apparently transferred.  The Wicked Sister is on Spotify and YouTube, though, so it isn’t gone forever.

If life could only be so simple for the engineers who are trying to decide whether the new Salesforce Transit Center can ever reopen.  This is one of the pictures taken with my new iPhone 6: Screenshot (325)


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