Extraordinary things happen to me when I travel. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night in the deserted, uncoupled last car of a train in Germany. I have lost my obsessively-checked passport between airport gates. My luggage has been abducted by aliens. I’m bad at this.
Same thing with technology. If I try to set up or fix a device, something bizarre will happen. To the degree that when I surrender it to a young person, they start tapping away with confidence and then get this funny look on their face and squint and tap some more and then say “Huh,” and hand it back, all sheepish. When it comes to travel or technology, apparently I’m the gremlin.
So I wasn’t eager to set up my new iPhone when it arrived. Transferring my stuff from my old phone to the new is supposed to be a snap once I download the “Move to IOS” app, which I did. But things involving an iPhone are a snap only if they do not also involve a developmentally-disabled old Android and, of course, me. I set it aside for a full three weeks before tackling it.
But everything did go smoothly. I don’t use a lot of apps and I’d already unloaded all my photos on the old phone to relieve its chronic indigestion, so basically I just wanted my phone contacts to sail over. Per instructions, I plugged the phones in, clicked on all the right things, put in a code, politely averted my eyes while they rendezvoused, and after a while both phones said the transfer was complete.
Somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, my passport caught a passing zephyr and appeared briefly in the real world.
It was a while before I checked my contacts on the new phone. There were a whole bunch of them in there. More than I thought I had. And almost no phone numbers. And I didn’t know who a lot of them were. A little more sleuthing and I discovered these were my sister’s contacts.
My sister’s been dead for thirteen years. She’s the type that could come back and send a message from beyond the grave if anyone could, but this was just mean. Upon further review, I recognized a lot of my own contacts too, again mostly with email addresses and no phone numbers, and eventually realized that although I put my “Move to IOS” app in the old phone, it ignored all my phone contacts and instead vaulted over to my abandoned desktop computer, Old Sludgy, in which my sister’s contacts were stored, and took THOSE contacts. How could that happen?
“It probably got them from your bluetooth,” my friend Leslie said.
“I don’t think I have a bluetooth,” I said.
“Yes, you do,” she said, and I never argue about things like that, because I’d be wrong.
I’m a big girl. I took the phones to the fix-it shop around the corner and asked the nice man to make them talk to each other. He said he could, but he just knew I could Google the answer myself, and save some money, and I felt ashamed and went home and Googled.
There are lots of ways of transferring contacts. But since the “Move to IOS” app is the slickest, I decided to do it again, after first (deep breath) wiping the new phone clean. After all, whatever was in there had only been in there a few days. This time I turned my desktop computer off and sent it to its room, and went in a whole ‘nother room. “Your contacts have been transferred,” my phones both agreed, and I felt a little lift.
Somewhere near Roswell, New Mexico, my luggage dropped to the desert.
I checked the new phone. Same damn contact list as before. No phone numbers. Okay, maybe the sucker scavenges contact lists from everywhere, but shouldn’t it include the ones from the phone it was shlorping data out of? Huh?
Second method: Export contacts from old phone into a VCF list. I followed instructions and did that. VCF list created. I don’t know where to find it though.
Third method: SIM cards. I looked it up and I still don’t know what or where the hell my SIM card is.
By the time I researched the fourth method, and considered the shame of going back to the fix-it shop, I was worn ragged with the sort of despair only tech challenges can put me in. It wasn’t healthy. I went for a fast walk. And when I came back, I decided to put the phones side by side and type in all my phone contacts by hand.
I thought about the time I wanted to paint salamanders and frogs on the floor of my studio using a stencil only to trace, and then fill in the paint with a tiny brush by hand. It’s the kind of project that never gets off the ground if you think about how long it’s going to take. But I came home from work and put in one salamander a day, and before too long, I had the whole thing done.
And you know what? While I was typing in all the phone numbers, I felt calm. I knew what I was doing. Yes, it was taking a long time. Two hours in, I was only up to the H’s. But I feel better than I have in days. I can do this. It will get done. One salamander at a time.
Yup. I don't have a SmartPhone, just a flip phone, but had to get a new one to comply with the new 5G technology. The instructions said it was easy to transfer contacts via one's computer. Ha! I couldn't even figure out the online instructions. They told me to scan something on my computer. Well, my phone is a flip phone, so I can't do that. So I started to try to type my contacts in by hand, as you ended up doing. But it automatically had the "predictive text" turned on, and it kept trying to finish the names I was trying to type with words that didn't even make sense. Tried to call the help line, and they couldn't help me because I didn't have an online account with them. (We're old school and send them a check.) Studying the instruction manual with an eagle eye, I finally came across the words "predictive text", but it only told how to turn it on. But I tried it anyway, only found the "off switch", so to speak.
This "easy" endeavor took me the whole fucking day. Thank goodness it wasn't a SmartPhone, or I'd still be trying to figure it all out.
It's at least possible that if you had a smart phone it would be easier. It's a little annoying to have a phone smarter than you are, but on the other hand it explains things very nicely.
I can't see spending that kind of money on a phone, when the first words out of my mouth when it actually rings are "What the HELL is it NOW?!"… even if it's been DAYS since someone last called. I have a computer, I don't need to carry one around with me, especially as I go out so seldom… and when I do, I have better things to do than scroll through my phone messages. I have a neighbor who has neither a computer nor a cell phone (just a land line). So at least there is ONE person more old school than I am.
Mimi, we are flip-phone birds of a feather.
I want a good flip phone. Just calls and texts for me. Any suggestions for brands and models?
You are very lucky. You have a lot of friends…two hours worth!
Only up to the H's.
Oh the same blasted thing happened to me just a couple of weeks ago! I got my first smartphone (a Motorola) recently, it asked "Add all your contacts?" and I said sure, why not. I suddenly had 152 contacts from my Google address book, which I wasn't aware I even had! And half of these are contacts from a previous life! Well, before 2005 at least. Wound up deleting everything and putting in 11 contacts by hand. Anyway Murr, I AM looking for a travel partner to do a cross-country Amtrak trip with… :^)
Eleven contacts? That sounds like a dream.
One of the perks of being a social misfit :^(
There are many perks to being a social misfit. The best one is that you no longer care what people think: "Ah, that's just Mimi. She's a little bit strange…."
I am just coming to the end of a job which would make your salamanders look like an easy afternoon's work. I pay someone to transfer my contacts for me though.
THE FIX-IT GUY WOULDN'T LET ME PAY HIM. HE SAID I COULD DO IT MYSELF. I am so ashamed.
You need to learn to glare at people, Murr. And frown. "Yes. I KNOW I can do it myself! I have better things to do! Just do it and I will pay you, m'kay?"
We don't need to glare at anyone here. They just smile (or not) and take our money.
The fix-it guy probably knew his chances of success were pretty low.
A friend decided I needed to join the 21st century and bought me an i11 and added me to his phone plan. I haven’t had to swap phone lists because I didn’t have a cell phone already. But when I’m on my job and the phone is in my pocket, it opens pages at random, changes settings and decides to play music that I absolutely loathe at high volume. I use the GPS function a lot for my job and I’m continuously annoyed with the phone’s confident announcement that I’ve ARRIVED when I’m a half mile and several turns away. Yesterday she had me circling around and around a neighborhood, apparently blissfully unaware that the street she wanted me to go down was an unmanned security gate!
You've got something in your pants that's running the show, my friend.
I'm not much of a glarer. It just comes off looking like indigestion.
Oh golly. The few times I have had to get a new phone, I just stand there in the phone store and ask them to transfer *everything*. I get a vague, stunned look on my face as if someone is asking me to eat something that is against my religion. And so they do the Big Transfer, right then and there, while I wait. A few times it has taken forever, and I've gone out for a quick sandwich and then come back. Maybe the phone-store people look at me and think of their helpless father. Or grandfather. Even with having a Young Person do it for me, there have been glitches. The phone before my present one ended up with a duplicate set of contacts uploaded, and I had to eventually figure out how to activate the 'search and destroy duplicates' function…..
…and all your friends long lost twins suddenly died of heart attacks.
This has the makings of a good short story.
Back in the dear departed days of the desktop I used to ask my teenage sons to show me how to do things (instead of elbowing me out of the way and presenting me with a fait accompli). I wasn't proficient but I knew how to do what I needed to do. The reliance on phones baffles me and my kids are always replying to questions "There's an app for that." Being told repeatedly "Oh, it's intuitive" doesn't help either. I'd like a manual, but they exist in some area of sub-space that I can't access.
It's as if the little cup shaped container in my brain labelled 'Technology' is saying "Enough already! I'm full" and I just can't fit any more understanding in.
"Intuitive" doesn't work if you've already learned things the hard way around.
I need a manual for everything, Every time I've updated my computer, I've bought one of the "Dummies" manuals, since it doesn't come with one. I study it before I do ANYTHING. Unfortunately, my phone just had a one-page "manual". It just assumed that everyone knows WTF they are doing. Yeah… not so much.
There are no manuals. The manuals are all inshlorperated.
Today’s online support is tantamount to gathering a bunch of neighbors (user) around your car to try to figure out why it’s not running.
This is why I buy new phones at an actual shop and have the assistant transfer the contacts list for me. And I have my people written in a notebook with their addresses and phone numbers too, just in case a few get lost in the transfer. If they are 'saved to SIM' they transfer easily, I'm told, but I understand about as much of the process as you do. great work with the salamanders.
Just got a new iPhone yesterday to replace my years old model. Well, I was already too stupid for the old one so,like the commenter above I got it at the store where a kindly young tecchie set it up for me. But then I was left to my own devices (see what I did there?) when I tried to sync up things like my phone and my music playlist with my car, which has layers of electronics stuff I'm also too stupid for. Hours of frustration and random yay, it worked!, then no, sorry, we were just kidding. When I left it yesterday, it was at the yay,it's working stage. Meanwhile, the music playlist on my phone disappeared and I had to re-create last night. Will it play in the car? I have my doubts.
Do you remember back when these moments of despair were not imaginable? And we thought our jetpacks might short out.
Recent similar experience. Contacts transferred, some photos transferred, but all previous messages vanished. Which means I no longer have documented evidence of my sister's anti-vax assholism nor those guys urging me to sell my house in Rochester NY where I've never been.
You might be better off without the assholism evidence.
I just a one of those moments where I laughed and cried- I still have cramped fingers from transferring contacts night after night from the little bitty phone to the big new smarty….. watched a lotta tv tho while I was doing it
I swear when I wrote this I thought I'd be the only one. Ever.
I wanna know about the uncoupled train car in Germany.
That was a shortened version. In the real version I did not end up in an uncoupled car with all my friends' passports and luggage while they continued on oblivious in the dining car sipping champagne. But I was THIS CLOSE.
Glad to say I'm still among the "no smart phone" crowd. I'm gambling — will I get through life with no emergency wherein I'm out and about and need to phone someone?" Well, I'm 83 now so my chances are increasing (or maybe it's decreasing; I never can remember). I do have a 25-yr-old Noika that I carry around — mostly with "no bars" on it cause I can't remember to keep it charged. Life is so exciting that way . . . .
Marcia, you're probably fine. But it's true that the old ways of saving yourself might no longer be available. Phone booths, paper warranties…
My hair is so white non of those techie people try to get me to do anything with my phone. ha…
They just give up before giving it a whirl? Rude.
So I have an old “not-smart” phone that I have used for probably 10 or so years. I can only call and text which is all I want. About a year ago it reverted to the Chinese as the default language for texting. I CAN manually change it back to English but have to do that every. single. time! So annoying. Took it to a tech guy employed by my service provider. He had never seen this before. Figures. He did try for about 30 minutes to find a way to reset English as the default language, and then handed it back to me and suggested I buy an IPhone. Every once in a while I just randomly push buttons and send someone on my contact list Chinese jibberish. Probably will have to give in and get a new phone one of these days.
That Chinese business is highly fishy. I can't believe it hasn't happened to me.