Oh the things I can’t do without my iPhone
November 9, 2020 | by bgarmon
On Saturday I took my Apple iPhone 11 Max Pro to an authorized Apple reseller to have the rear glass replaced after a drop to the concrete shattered it. The story should have ended with “an hour or two later I walked out with a repaired iPhone.” The story did not end there. Due to Covid and store shut downs, the inventory at this location is next-to-zero so instead of having the parts on hand the store has to ship the device back to Apple for repair. This is a 3-5 business day process. I thought “I can live without my phone for a few days. I’m a geek; I have multiple smart phones so I’ll be fine!” so I agreed to send my phone off for repair. I made it to the parking lot before I realized how big of a problem this was actually going to be.
Rodimus Prime is linked to my cell phone so I never carry the smart keys for the Tesla. Without the iPhone I can’t unlock or start the car to go home. The store doing the repair happens to be on the outside wall of the mall next to the parking lot so I was able to literally drive to the front door where the tech came to meet me at the street so I would not have to leave the car (which would have turned it off and locked it). I added a mental note to add the Tesla smart key to my wallet once I arrived home. Walking away from the car I realize it won’t automatically lock anymore. I could install the Tesla app on Android but it’s only a few days so I push this to the back of my mind and continue on my day.
Back home I park, grab the Tesla key, and head up to the office to grab a different smartphone. I don’t have another Apple smartphone – they’ve gotten too expensive to hang on to instead of trading them in each time there’s a new version, but I do have two Android smartphones – a Samsung Galaxy S8 with no cellular plan and a Google Pixel 4 with Google FI. The Pixel is the obvious choice to use for the next week. I throw it in my pocket and go about my day.
I get back in the car and head back out for a few errands but not before I realize I have to pair the Pixel with the Tesla so I can do hands free phone and text. I use Gmail as the primary email app on the iPhone. Creating new contact record on the iPhone does not add them to Gmail Contacts, it adds them to icloud.com using the Apple Contacts app. Over the years I’ve tried various sync methods between iCloud and Gmail but never really cared too much to really solve this problem. This means Google and Apple have pieces of contact records but they are not really in sync. Not a problem when I’m on the iPhone as the Gmail app does a great job of remembering email addresses and can access the iCloud contact list, so for all practical purposes they are connected, but they are not synched. A painful lesson to learn driving down the road trying to call someone and finding out the only record Google has of this person is an email address. When was the last time you dialed a phone number for one of your friends? I’m pretty sure it’s been 5 years or more for me, maybe longer. I barely remember my mom’s home phone for the house I grew up in, much less my buddies cell phone number. Nada. No phone calls for me until I can resolve this problem. That’s ok I’ll listen to an audio book.
I pick up the Pixel unconsciously thinking it’s my iPhone in search of the Audio Books app, a split second later realizing all my downloaded Audio Books live in Apple Books on the iphone. No audio books for me. At least until I can get back to a computer and manually sync the files to the Pixel.
I do a lot of texting. 99% of my friends are Apple users so technically we send iCloud messages. Android uses SMS. My 12-year old son doesn’t have a phone number, he has an icloud account and a wifi connected iPad. Facetime and icloud messaging is how we talk when he’s with him mom. I guess I won’t be talking to him from the road either. Another thing I didn’t plan on having to worry about.
Later that first night I was working on my home lab and needed to log into my Unifi Dream Machine pro which uses Google 2-factor authorization. It’s only after I get prompted for the Google code that I realize it’s tied to my iPhone. No home lab network changes for me.
Later on I’m at dinner and realized I need to check my work email mainly to see what appointments are on the calendar for the next day. With a device enrolled in Workspace One, I can login and check my email, but this Pixel is already enrolled in a test Workspace One tenant and you can’t do double enrollment. The failover is an RSA soft-token as part of the login process. Guess where the soft token is installed? Yup. the Smartphone. No work email for me.
I decide to go for a run. I use an Apple Watch to record the workout and to listen to music during the run. While my watch is cellular capable, I don’t pay for the plan. So I have music synched to the Apple Watch. After the run I realize none of the workouts are synchronized because the watch is paired to the Iphone. There’s an Android solution for this one – short of buying a new running watch.
That night I brush my teeth. The Oral-B toothbrush uses bluetooth paired to my iPhone to sync how well I brushed my teeth. It won’t be doing that for a week. Here’s hoping that data gets cached on the device. I think it does.
The next morning I stepped on my Smart Scale. While it showed me my weight, it’s also paired with the iPhone to record progress over time. That won’t be happening either.
I pulled out my electric shaver, also bluetooth enabled and yup – no synch there either.
The next afternoon I tried calling Verizon customer support because we are upgrading to the iPhone 12 and I had a few account questions. I previously had enabled 2 factor authentication for the account and guess what: the second auth factor is an SMS text message that can only be sent to the phone number for the account. Customer service could not unlock my account to help me. AT ALL. The workaround here – login from a computer to Verizon’s website and disable 2FA then call back.
I use parental controls for my son’s Nintendo Switch. One of those controls is how much time he has to play games. He often exceeds that limit and sometimes we let him. Using the Nintendo Smart Phone app I toggle a switch and he gets more time. Not without my phone he doesn’t. I assume I can get around this one by logging into Nintendo.com and somewhere I can find that same toggle switch. But he’s 12 and really does need to be better at time management, so I told him I won’t be able to give him more time until I get the phone back. But even if the toggle does exist on Nintendo’s site, my Nintendo login is also 2FA tied to Google Authenticator on my iPhone, so I couldn’t login even if I wanted to.
Oh the things I can’t do without my iPhone.