Flipping Phones

I have a new phone. For Christmas, my husband and son and I ordered ourselves three new Samsung Galaxy Android phones. They’re not the most expensive, high-powered, feature-laden phones available, but they are a big upgrade from our sad, old, overburdened Galaxy phones.

But before we could use our new phones, we had to set them up and transfer our accounts and other information from the old phones. Why is this always so much harder than it needs to be?

Bob is our IT guy. He set up his own new phone a couple weeks after Christmas. It was complicated — because the people who create electronic devices couldn’t possibly include a function that allows you to quickly and seamlessly transfer your account and data from the old phone to the new phone of the same brand. That would make sense, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?

Setting up his phone required hours of work and multiple calls to customer support. Finally he was finished getting the new one up and running — not deciding on all his settings, loading all the apps he wanted, and figuring out how to use it all, but at least having the basics in place.

Next, he said he would set up mine. As much as I wanted to be using the new phone, I suggested he set up our son’s first. He’d be going back to campus in a few days, so it seemed more urgent for his to be working quickly. So Bob set to work on Phone Number 2, which still took a lot of time and a call to customer support, but which wasn’t quite as onerous as the first setup, since he’d already done it once. When we brought Jon Morgan back to college over the weekend, it was with his newly working phone.

Last night, Bob said he would start on my phone. All he had time to do last night was to backup the apps and data from my old phone. But this evening he set to work getting the new one running. And it seemed to go even more quickly this time.

When he brought it back to me, saying it was finished, he sent a test text (try to repeat that several times, fast!) and I was pleased to see that it came through. Then I noticed something much less pleasing: none of my contacts had transferred to the new phone. Presumably, he had done the same thing to set it up that he’d done for his own phone and Jon Morgan’s, and their contacts had transferred with no problem. So why not mine?

I guess he had thought he’d get out of a call to customer support this time. But when he tried, the recording told him he was number 79 in the queue to speak to someone. And this was from the phone provider he’d chosen because of its excellent marks for customer service. He was not about to wait for hours to talk to an operator. So we tried to fix the problem ourselves. He couldn’t figure out what he’d done differently this time, so we started from scratch and investigated all options we came across.

We tried doing it through Google, with instructions we’d found online. Google has hated me for years, so I was not optimistic. And as expected, we couldn’t get it to work. We tried several other methods, and I was beginning to be afraid I’d have to spend the next few days individually typing in all of my contacts by hand.

Then Bob mentioned an app from Samsung that claimed to transfer the data easily. He said he had tried it, but could not use it, because my old phone didn’t have enough space on it to load the app (a lack of storage space being one of the main reasons we had wanted new phones). I grabbed the old phone and erased a few apps that could easily be reloaded onto the new one later. Then Bob loaded the magic Samsung app on both phones, and we figured out how to make it work.

Lo and behold, the sun broke through the clouds, the angels sang, puppies and kittens gamboled in the fields, chocolate rained from the sky, and my contacts (and various other data from the old phone) miraculously appeared on the new phone.

This phone is more complicated than the new one, and is enough generations past it that even the simple things work differently. So I expect a long and steep learning curve.

But at least my new phone is in business.

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