edit: I know the title doesn't make much sense, but I had the lyrics to "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole in my head and seriously, "Unable to Contact Anyone, That's How You Are" doesn't quite have the same buzz, if you know the original lyrics to the song. Next time, I'll just stick with simple titles such as "I Knew I Should Have Backed Up" (that's what he said).
It's not a fun thing to have no contacts on your phone when you have no way of retrieving said contacts. Unlike Android phones, where you can do a simple Over The Air (OTA) firmware upgrade that keeps your settings and contacts, iPhone users aren't quite as lucky. To even update the iPhone to the latest firmware requires a full download, that the phone remains plugged in and all data wiped. I suppose there's an advantage to doing that, as you'll start with a blank slate, but most users would forced to wait an eternity (my last backup restore took 2 hours) just to get everything back.
And when you do, you're still restoring settings from the previous phone that may or may not cause the current phone to slow down or act wonky in general. So ideally speaking, you want to work fresh and not do a restore apart from getting your contacts synced. But what if, like me, you went to get your phone fixed and then they replace it with a refurbished set that has no contacts? Won't you be lost with no contacts?
This sounds really far fetched, like a chain of events that well, don't happen everyday, but when they do, boy, do you start regretting not taking the time to set up a cloud service to resync your contacts. In fact, I've just upgraded an iPhone for a colleague to iOS4 and well, due to a miscommunication about what exactly happens to the phone after the upgrade, suffice to say, there's one upset colleague with a now empty phone.
This problem could have been easily avoided if iOS allowed for updates that didn't require a complete format and reinstall, but that's just the way Apple rolls. Take most programs that you have to patch or upgrade on OS X, you have to download the entire thing all over and reinstall, instead of just applying a patch to change files like how its down in Windows. Now I'm no programmer, so I'd be happy to find out the reasons (so if you do know, please leave a comment) why is there a need to waste bandwidth.
But back to the topic at hand, if I had only done my Google Sync earlier, then all I needed to do was set up a Microsoft Exchange account and I could have pulled all my contacts from Gmail down to my phone. That would have helped me avoid all the "who is this, my contact list is gone for the moment replies" to SMSes asking me if I was tall dark, handsome and available to chat because I would know better than to reply to spam, right?
So important lesson learned - sync your contacts to a cloud service even if you don't switch your phone, because there will be that one day when the manure hits the fan and you will end up regretting not having done so in the first place. Also, yes I'm available to chat with you, mystery person on my SMS list even though I've already gotten my contacts back...
Aloysius Low / Former Tech Writer
Tech writer, gadget nerd, cat owner and social media junkie, Aloysius loves exploring the wacky side of tech, while tackling his notebook reviews.
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