Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Few More Tech Troubles

I think and hope that this will be my last post about my passel of technology woes. And I think I will also spare you the Nightmare That Is Our Taxes.

As if the credit card fraud and new email address hassles weren't enough, last night I decided to update my iPhone to the latest operating system, which came out last fall. For months, the phone has been giving me little messages several times a day, demanding that I agree to this update —  interrupting me as I was trying to take photos or check email. Every single time, I sternly refused and told it to bug me again "later."

I liked the phone as it was. I don't like adjusting to unnecessary, arbitrary new ways to get to the camera, turn the darn thing on, etc. I have learned from experience that whatever they do to switch things up is rarely an improvement.*

I'm not sure what possessed me to agree to the update last night, although one of the several Apple Support people who've been spending lots of time with me lately urged me to get it done. (Yet I'd successfully ignored all of my husband's frequent admonitions to do it.)

Since I've been going through so much tech torture anyway, I must have figured, what the heck, why not add one more thing to the mess?

Big mistake. For one thing, I didn't check that I'd backed up the phone before starting the update. I just caved — I was busy, in the middle of making dinner — and I just blithely set the update in motion when the nagging message showed up for the 1000th time.

After all these months of nagging me to update, you'd think the phone might have nagged me even a little bit about making sure it was backed up first. And set up with a strong wifi signal to speed things along. But no.

It began around 7 pm and was still chugging away at 9, claiming it was updating iCloud settings. My husband had decided it was taking too long and helpfully powered-down the phone and restarted it, thinking this would get it to behave. I turns out that is one of the worst things you can do during an update. But I didn't have a fit; I would have done it myself if he hadn't beaten me to it.

Every time I'd check the phone, it did the same maddening thing: It would show me a series of white screens that said "hello" in about 36 different languages, one at a time. Then it would ask for my passcode and my password, and then it would go right back to telling me it was updating iCloud settings. Those hellos began to seem passive-aggressive as hell.

I called Apple around 11 and learned that we could either let the phone keep updating overnight or erase it completely and reinstall everything as if it were a new phone. I'm not sure of the whereabouts of around 9,000 photos since the other night, when I dealt with changing my Apple ID on iCloud, my phone, and my laptop. So starting fresh wasn't an option. We went to bed.

When a cat knocked over a pile of recycling in the kitchen at 5 am, we both got up and checked the phone. It was still "updating iCloud settings" while saying hello in too many languages.

I slept in, and the phone was still misbehaving when I got up. I noticed the wifi signal was weak. I walked it around the house to find the best spot. The living room mantel has one spot that's not bad but I can't get a full signal anywhere in the house. I stuck the phone in the spot and checked it every hour or so.

Hello. Hola. Bonjour. Dobry Den. 

I had to pay a few bills on my bank's website. First, I had to change the my credit card number to the newest one — my (second) replacement card had arrived yesterday. But to do that I had to enter a security code that the bank texted to my iPhone. Except my iPhone was still too busy saying hello to accept texts.

I called Apple Support for — what? — the sixth time since Friday? I have to say they are always really good. It's not their fault that Apple keeps messing up its products; they can still help us cope.

I was instructed to find a cable to connect my phone to my laptop while iTunes was open. (I found one behind our breadbox.) Connecting it seemed pointless, but as soon as I did the phone snapped to attention, stopped greeting me, and began to work for the first time in 16 hours.

Sixteen hours without a mobile phone (and camera) turns out to be a lot. Isn't that sad? I need to reflect on this, and my life.

I was so grateful to have a working phone again that I'm still not complaining about how horrible it is now.**

It could be that going for "a long time" without a phone taught to appreciate having one, no matter how frustrating it is now.

Or it could be that my husband had had enough of all the tech sturm und drang around here (we both know I married him for 24/7 tech support) and sensibly scheduled himself to be on campus from early morning until late tonight. Moaning to cats is not nearly so satisfying as moaning to him.

You pick.

* I hate the new iPhone 7, with its simulated Home button, to the point where I emit an involuntary "Ew!" and shudder every time I try to use my husband's. When I touch that button, it doesn't feel like a boring little click, it feels like the phone is collapsing internally because I just broke it. Ew! It creeps me out. I will never move on to an iPhone 7 unless someone develops a hack to improve that.

** I can't easily turn on the phone, or find the camera in a hurry (essential for taking cat pictures), or figure out how to get written directions in maps, or any of a dozen other things that were intuitive yesterday but are now just different enough to be annoying and hard. I could read up on it and I probably will (unless my husband gives me lessons) But I'm a little too fed up to do that right now.


  1. I have a new iPhone 7, but the office got it for me...it's like it or lump it! There were problems in the beginning, but that was caused by office stuff, nothing to do with Apple. I agree that Apple techs are so darn helpful and patient, that's it makes me feel bad even bothering them...but bother them I do. Glad you have your phone back, and the new credit card. I have to start on our taxes, and I dread it with a passion.

  2. My phone died in the middle of a reboot.. and bricked itself. I went days without a phone/camera.. so I can feel your pain.


Spam goes right into the trash but I appreciate relevant comments from non-spammers (and I can always tell the difference). I do my best to follow up if you have a question. ALL spam, attempts to market other websites, and anything nasty or unintelligible gets deleted instantly. The cats and I thank you for reading — and please feel free to comment on what you read.