Monday, January 27, 2014

The Cell Phone Lesson

Saturday night I charged my iPhone 4S.   It was at 100%.  I went to bed.

Sunday morning I woke up to a dead phone.  All I could get out of it was this faint, weird symbol which somehow conveyed that the battery had no power.

Yes, we all could wish for a problem like this, instead of the serious problems a lot of face. But nevertheless, it's an aggravation.

So here I was, Ms. I-hate-cell-phones, who had a TracFone [non contract, pay as you go] for years and years and barely used it as it was. But, when my mother in law (who is in her mid-80's) and then my sister in law, then my cousin, then my son got iPhones, I had to get one too.  Actually, I had been intrigued by iPhones for a while.  I just didn't want to pay the phone bill or have a contract, but finally I broke down.

What harm would it do?  Well, that's what all drug addicts smart phone users say at first.

Within days I was hooked, and I knew I could never go back to the TracFone.  My spouse, who still barely uses his simple non smart phone, started out sarcastically by calling my phone "the magic phone". Before long, the sarcasm was gone.

The phone saved us from getting lost on vacation more than once. In my recent long distance caregiving days, being able to read emails and find things online was super convenient.   And the camera. Oh, the camera! I don't even use my non phone camera any more.  Most of the photos you've seen on this blog since May of 2012 are from my iPhone.

Until yesterday, when everything came to a screeching halt.

I went to the Verizon store with my spouse. (For my non U.S. friends, they are one of a handful of major United States cell phone carriers.)

Me:  "My phone is dead."

A manager:  "let's take it into the back room and charge it for 45 minutes or so.  Maybe it's a bad cable."

We went exercise walking and returned.  The phone was at 30%. I knew it should have charged up better than that in 45 minutes.   The manager didn't look happy.

Manager:  "It's not the cable. It might be the battery.  We don't replace batteries here. And, your phone is out of warranty. (I knew that - I didn't buy the extended warranty, either.  Guess I'm not making that mistake again.)

He continued "You really should upgrade to IOS 7.  In fact, if you had had the warranty, Apple wouldn't have replaced the phone unless you had upgraded."

Now, I still have the original operating system from when I got the phone in late April of 2012-IOS 5 - because if something computerish isn't broke, I don't fix it.  I figured I was going to get a new phone when my contract was up in April.

Me: "I know people whose phones will hardly keep a charge with IOS 7, and have other problems."  My son is one of these, although, overall, he likes IOS 7.

Manager: "Well, I suggest first that you back up your phone.  Now, you have 3 more months before your contract expires, and you might consider getting a new phone. We can do an early upgrade, where we will take the full price of the new phone (which I think is $649 for an iPhone 5S) and divide it into 24 payments, and then at the midway point,we.." (by then I was no longer paying attention.  My magic phone!  My baby! )

We made a quick trip to the grocery, after which the phone was at 18%, in The Red Zone.

It took a long time to charge the phone, while I backed it up onto my computer and took off some apps, and texted back and forth with my son, who is my tech support. Once I took it off the charger, it rapidly lost power, and it felt kind of warm.

So we went back to the mall, to the kiosk the manager of the Verizon store had pointed us to, a kiosk that fixes iPhones.

Except that the young man at the kiosk was out of batteries for iPhone 4S.  He should have some tomorrow, he said.

The young man took my phone out of the case and looked at it for about three seconds. Then he looked at me.

"Why haven't you upgraded to IOS 7?"

Sigh. I had already wasted part of an afternoon on this as it was but maybe IOS 7 was my fate.

When I got home, I looked up "how to upgrade an iPhone 4S to IOS 7" and saw that the newest IOS7 version that came out several days ago has glitched up a lot of iPhones.  Phones no longer usable as phones.  Phones that didn't recognize the charging cable.  Phones where the cameras didn't work.  Phones whose batteries could barely keep a charge.  I read that last one a couple of times, and decided to see what changing the battery ($40) would do.

So I tried one last thing, which my son suggested - go back to the factory settings.  It didn't work.  And, I can't reconnect to my home network.

One of my Facebook friends suggested, instead, that I get a TracFone until my contract runs out.

Don't tempt me.

Life is too short to allow this to bother me.  Why did I let it rule my life for a day?

Lesson learned, I hope.


  1. I am sorry for all the hassle. But I had to laugh when I read about your phone saving you. My other half has a wind up phone, I have an iPhone4. I took no end of flack for my phone until I was able to book dinner at a restaurant in Inverness whilst we were in Sutherland in the middle of nowhere. Then I was able to negotiate the nightmare motorways of Teeside using the phone satnav. The best was being able to retrieve work emails in the far north of Scotland when his dongle refused to dingle. Hope you and your phone recover.

    1. Isn't it interesting how many couples seem to be 1/2 tech resistant and 1/2 into tech. I'm glad to say the phone did recover. Me, I think I'm almost there :)

  2. We are a house divided. I have a smart phone. He does not. I couldn't live without mine. He couldn't care less. But... it's funny how when he needs the weather or some other such info I end up handing him MY phone ;)

    1. Yes, isn't it....sounds too familiar! So, do you know what I ended up doing? I bought my other half a Google Nexus for Christmas! He still won't use email but he is actually on Facebook (once a week or so) and loves to watch the weather radar.And, he doesn't have to worry about making phone calls on it. (He does know about Skype).


Your comments sustain me, as long as they are civil, are on topic, and do not contain profanity, advertising of any kind, links or spam. Any messages not meeting these criteria will immediately be composted, and my flowers will enjoy their contents.