If I May: I Almost Lost All the Data on My Phone
Issue   |   Tue, 03/20/2018 - 22:51

Spring break is supposed to be a fun and relaxing week, where students can unwind and rest before the final weeks of the academic year. For the first few days of my spring break, this was the case. However, on Wednesday, my phone decided that it did not want to work anymore. This fact on its own would not normally cause stress; like most people, my phone has broken in the past. But this time was different. My phone wasn’t just cracked, it wasn’t just unable to connect to a cellular network, it wasn’t just randomly quitting out of apps — all things I have encountered in the past. No, this time, my phone was simply catatonic. When I would try to turn it on, the screen would light up for a second and then go black. Even at this point, I was still optimistic. I would take it to the store and they would be able to fix it. Actually, maybe this was a blessing in disguise; for the last few days of spring break, I wouldn’t have my phone to distract me and I could really relax.

As I came to terms with my phone’s state, I plugged it into my computer just to see if anything would happen. A box popped up saying that the phone was in “Recovery Mode,” and it needed a software update. I pressed “Okay.” The software began to download. The blue progress bar climbed across my screen. 50 percent. 75 percent. 90 percent! 99 percent! Another box popped up on my screen.

“This phone is unable to be updated. It must be reset to factory settings,” the message read. My heart dropped. Resetting to factory settings means completely wiping your phone’s data and restoring it to the state it was before you took it out of the box. This would mean I would lose all of my saved photos, videos, notes, contacts, everything on my phone. I immediately became distraught. Contact information for high school friends that I’ve lost touch with, gone! All my saved snaps, gone! My stupid ideas for stand-up jokes saved in my notes, gone! I am not kidding; I was seriously upset that I might lose these things. I then became embarrassed that I had become so distraught. Why should I care so much about notes on my phone or photos from two years ago? (Because I am a foolish man.) Have I become too attached to my phone? (Yes.)

“But Jake,” you might be saying. “Can’t you just restore a backup?” That’s true. If one has backed up their phone to their computer or to a cloud, they can restore that information to their phone if it needs to be wiped. The problem here is that I had not backed up my phone in as long as I can remember. “Wait a second, Jake,” you might be imploring. “You care so much about this silly stuff but you haven’t backed up your phone? How is that possible?” A good question. As I mentioned above, I am a foolish, foolish fool of a man.

Fortunately for me, I seem to be a fortunate fool. Just before going to the store to try and repair the phone, I discovered that the device became responsive. I quickly plugged it into my computer and backed it up. Huzzah! I would not lose my data! Upon bringing it to the store, I was told that the device was compromised and had to be replaced. So had it not come alive for a few brief minutes before I’d left, I would have indeed lost all of my data. However, after my data was restored, I scrolled through my photos and notes. While I was certainly pleased that I hadn’t lost them, I realized that little to nothing on my phone was really of any importance.

I’ve come away from this ordeal with a few lessons. One: back up your phone, you monumental moron. Two: seriously, BACKUP YOUR PHONE, YOU FOOL. And finally, I understood that while it seems silly to care about this stuff, the information on my phone is quite important to me. While I should not have been so concerned with losing my photos, contacts and notes, I realized that my cell phone serves as a constantly updated record of my life. However, unlike social media, this record is just for me, so it can include embarrassing yet sentimental photos, incredibly dumb ideas for jokes, and also my seventh grade history teacher’s email address for some reason. In short, what I’ve come to realize is that I need to backup my phone.

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