OPINION: Losing your phone or having it stolen is a stressful and upsetting endeavour, though I can attest that it’s a lot easier to deal with if your device has already been backed up.
As someone that lives in London, I think it was only a matter of time before I was the victim of some form of theft. Unfortunately, after just under a year of living in the capital, my precious iPhone 13 Pro was snatched straight out of my hands, and it’s safe to say that I won’t be seeing it again.
Putting the actual event aside, since I think getting your device stolen usually comes down to really bad luck, I did learn a very important lesson from the whole event: you should really make sure that your iPhone is backed up.
And this of course applies to more than just iPhone users; while I don’t know the ins and outs of the backup services available for brands like Samsung or Google, it’s very important to make sure that you’re taking advantage of some form of backup service, whether that be from the manufacturer themselves or a third-party service.
As you may have guessed, I was not smart enough to back up my device, with my last manual backup being years ago on a laptop that I no longer even own. This made everything incredibly difficult, as not only did I not have access to the phone number connected to every account I own, but things like passwords, backup codes and emails were gone, with my unreliable memory being what I had to rely on.
This meant that I was locked out of almost every social media account, with my banking apps also being inaccessible. And don’t get me wrong, more organised people that actually can remember their passwords would probably fare better than I did, but you would be surprised at the amount of information you have to remember to gain access to everything you need to use.
And if you’re anything like me, all of my passwords and security numbers were safely stored in my notes, alongside other information like backup codes. But without the magic of a backup, all my notes were gone, which also meant that I lost every random thought and dream I’ve noted down since being an iPhone owner.
And that’s without mentioning all the photos and contacts I lost. The loss of all of my photos is probably what’s hit me the hardest, but there is something specifically annoying about having to go around your friends and family and admit that you never learnt their number off by heart.
After speaking to friends and family it turned out that a lot of them are like me, with many not thinking to do a manual backup and many more not having any form of online backup available. And before this event, I never really brought in to iCloud backup, believing it to be less secure and feeling jilted that I would have to pay a fee each month to have access to information that I can already find on my phone.
But now I can definitely see the error of my ways, with all of my data now being safely stored in the iCloud, and my new iPhone having actual insurance, as having to pay to replace a new device was the cherry on top of my terrible experience.
My iPhone has now been missing for several weeks, and after checking in on Find My iPhone, I can actually see that it’s made its way over to China. I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be getting it back, but that won’t be the case for everyone, especially if your phone was lost and not taken.
You should make sure that you have the Find My feature on, and ideally have it so you can see where your iPhone is even when it’s turned off. Noting down the serial number of your device is also essential, as that’s the best chance the police have of tracking down your device if it’s listed on the web.
The serial number can be accessed through your Settings, but it also can be found on the iPhone box it came with. I was lucky enough to still have the box the phone came with, but I do recommend noting down your serial number and storing it in a safe place, like Google Drive, or go old school and keep it in a notebook.
Ultimately, the concept of having my iPhone stolen was just unfathomable, and I was very much in the belief that it just wouldn’t happen to me. But now that it has, I can attest that it’s very worthwhile having some form of backup of your device; whether that be a manual backup you do every few weeks or an online backup service like iCloud or Google Drive, I can guarantee you will be thankful if you’re ever unlucky enough to be parted with your better half.