My Less-Than-Stellar iPhone Replacement Story…

January 31, 2012 12:19am
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Good god, I never imagined that getting this fixed would end up being so difficult… 👿

Tonight I had a really bad experience getting my iPhone replaced. It wasn’t one person that did something really poorly, but instead several entities who all made tiny mistakes individually that compounded into a giant ball of frustration that for a brief moment left me wondering if I really did need this beloved iPhone of mine after all!

Let’s start at the beginning…

The Appointment, Part 1 (Apple’s fault)
I actually had originally scheduled my appointment for 7:20pm Saturday night, but rescheduled to 7:20pm on Monday so that we could go to Disney. Or at least I thought I had rescheduled, but come Monday morning, I double-checked and apparently it didn’t take, so I ended up with a slot 30 minutes earlier because my preferred spot was now mysteriously gone…

The Appointment, Part 2 (Apple’s fault)
Though I’m honestly not even sure why I had an appointment because I literally sat there for 40 minutes before somebody was actually able to help me. It kind of reminded me of that old Curb Your Enthusiasm episode – what’s the point of having appointments if you’re still taking walk-ups ahead of me?!

The Replacement (nobody’s fault?)
Ok, so this part actually went fine – they gave me a new iPhone with almost no questions asked, and after nearly an hour, it looked like I was finally on my way!

The Activation (Verizon’s fault)
…except that I couldn’t actually activate the thing in the store because Verizon wanted some stupid “Billing Password” that I had no idea what it was. When I got home, neither did Sara, so she ended up having to call and have them activate it over the phone.

The Restore Process (iTunes != iCloud, Apple’s fault)
But we weren’t done yet! After all of that, I couldn’t help but notice that a good number of my apps, along with all of my music, were just plain missing. It took more digging, but I finally figured out that I had backed my phone up to iCloud instead of iTunes, and so I had inadvertently restored from the wrong backup. Worse yet, the only place you can choose between the two is when you’re setting up the device for the first time, meaning the guy at the store had just buzzed right past the option that I needed and I had to wipe the whole thing and start all over again to choose the option correctly that time…

Thankfully, when I got to the activation process again, I just guessed at Verizon’s mystery password by using the last 4 of my wife’s social and it miraculously worked, so at that point I just had to give it time to re-download all of my apps from iTunes again, this time based on the list that iCloud had, not iTunes.

A couple of hours later, and one incredibly long walk afterwards to calm my nerves, it looks like everything has been restored and I’m back to business as usual again. Just goes to show you not to let yourself get too excited about a company’s “amazing customer service” because it really can change just that quickly.

In retrospect, it’s also interesting to note all of the precautions they took in the store to emphasize that they had no responsibility for my actual data – I had to sign something stating that I was authorizing them to wipe my old phone, and the guy even had me push the confirm button! So it’s a little discomforting to find, even only temporarily, that my backup didn’t actually contain what I thought that it did – I certainly don’t have lists of my apps or contacts anywhere, so if those actually had been lost, it would’ve been a major inconvenience to say the least.

If anything, it seems like a fairly quick fix would be a setting on your Apple ID to indicate whether your backups were local or in their cloud, just so there’s no confusion. I actually thought that when I migrated to iCloud, I wasn’t allowed to do local backups anymore, so if during the restore it had just asked me to sign in and then explained whether it could get my data from the cloud or if I needed to connect to iTunes to continue, that would’ve made a lot more sense.

Apple’s usually pretty good about the overall user experience, but they really dropped the ball on this one, especially considering that I’m a geek and I still got confused. Most probably would’ve went back to the store the next day and yelled for them to “fix it,” whereas I pretty much just yelled at the dog and was a grump the rest of the night while I tried to work through it myself… 😳

Just glad that it’s over now, and I’ve got a working home button on my phone to show for it.

One Response to My Less-Than-Stellar iPhone Replacement Story…

  1. scott says:

    Update: Apparently none of my music library got backed up either – only the songs that I bought from iTunes got replaced with the restore, so now I have to go through 100 GB of music to find just the albums I wanted on it again… 🙁

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