Losing everything on your iPhone

Losing everything on your iPhone

I should have protected my friend, Lee better.  He was eager to update his iPhone with the just released 3.0 software.  I don’t own an iPhone but am becoming somewhat familiar with the device and software due to Cassidy and David each buying for themselves an iPod touch (it’s not the device that breaks the bank, it’s the service plan -$70 minimum).

We downloaded the latest iTunes to Lee’s laptop since he has never used iTunes or hooked up his iPod to a computer!  We then started the update.  Once downloaded it began to install. We left it working to have dinner and when we returned we found that his laptop had turned itself off.  First lessson:  Never do a significant software install/update on a laptop that is not plugged in!   I recently upgraded Windows Vista on my laptop and it didn’t let me continue until I had plugged in the laptop.  Now that’s a nice touch!  Too bad Apple didn’t think to protect the user in the same way.

When we powered  the laptop back on we found the iPhone in a recovery state.  We had no choice but to select restore (to factory settings).  That looked really bad.  Lee had no known backups and he had over 300 names that he has collected over the past 10 years. His iPhone is only a few months old and he had originally synced his blackberry to it with a SIM card.  After the restore had completed and we confirmed that he did in fact have his contacts completely wiped, Lee was as low as I’ve ever seen  him.  We called Apple but the technician had no good news for him.  Although the iPhone appeared  to do a sync when we first plugged it in to his laptop after installing iTunes, there was no backup (right click the iPhone device in iTunes).  The technician said that iTunes performs a backup before each sync.  That seemed to be strike two against Apple in looking out for the customer.   We did realize that Lee should be able to download his contacts from an old SIM card as he had done originally.  The  Apple technician said we would have to go to AT&T to do this.

Well,  not wanting to give up yet, I did a google search and found others in the same predicament.  I found out that in the iPhone Settings….Mail page at the very bottom there is a button to Sync from SIM card.  That did it!  There were some numbers missing that Lee had added which apparently saved to the iPhone memory rather than the SIM but most of his lost numbers had been recovered.  Fortunately, Lee didn’t have any music or other data that was lost.  He actually uses the iPhone as a phone!  Go figure!

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