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In a New Ecosystem

October 4, 2021

One sunny day in mid-July, I took a photo of my phone as Mr. Karen was driving us down the mountain into town, because I thought it might be the last day I had my beloved Android device. This phone had been with me since summer of 2015, a refurbished replacement for the one that died after taking a swim in a toilet.

 

As it turned out, I’d have my phone the rest of that week as our Verizon store had to order what we wanted. On Friday afternoon, we picked up our new iPhones. Yes, I made a leap into the deeper water in the Apple pond after wading near the shore with my iPod for years and years. The reason for the move was the only phone Mr. Karen could find that came close to meeting his size requirements was the iPhone mini. I could have stayed on the Android side, yes, but decided I’d rather be in the same ecosystem as he was so we could be each other’s tech support. Also, and this is admittedly a very minor point, it sure is easier to buy cases for iPhones than it ever was for any droid I’ve owned.

 

The first days with the new phone were rough. I deeply regretted switching. I missed the dedicated buttons on the Android, back and tabs especially. Most of all, I was extremely frustrated that there was no way for me to use my existing AppleID, the one I set up in 2006 when I got my first iPod. I’ve been logging in to iTunes on my various computers with that ID all this time, but I can’t update the profile associated with it on Apple’s website because I don’t remember the answers to the security questions (because there could be more than one answer depending on how one interprets the question). Nor could I reset the answers to the security questions because the first step in doing that is to answer one of the security questions. Nor could I just keep guessing, putting in all possible variations of answers I might have used, because that got me the “You have entered incorrect security information too many times. Try again later.” error. I did try again later, multiple times. Sometimes, I’d get the “We don’t have sufficient information to reset your security questions.” error message. I Googled and searched the Apple website for ideas. I eventually chatted with Apple support who told me basically “too bad, so sad”. Didn’t matter that I could tell them the credit card and address associated with the account. Didn’t matter that I could provide government-issued ID that proved I was who I said I was. Just no.

The AppleID thing was a major stumbling block to setting up the phone. I took it back to factory settings at least three times in the first day, trying different options each time. One of those times, I thought maybe I could setup 2 factor authentication with the old ID on the new phone, but no, I still got stopped by the security questions. I eventually had to get a new AppleID to use with the phone because it’s clear Apple doesn’t care about helping me recover full access to the old one, and I don’t want to use something central to my phone experience that I may be completely locked out of at any time . I did find that if during the setup process, I used the new AppleID for iCloud and the old one for Media & Purchases, I could see my iTunes purchases on the phone. Which great, but I can’t use that ID to purchase anything new because the payment information is out of date and I can’t update it because I have to go through the Apple website to do that, and, as previously discussed, I can’t.

So the two or three hundred songs I purchased via iTunes between 2006 and 2014 are basically gone. (I switched my online music buying to other places after 2014.) They are on my laptop and on my iPod for now, and I do listen to many of them still, but both of those devices will die at some point. Seems I’m going to have to abandon them, so it’s a good thing the many (most?) were grabbed for free when they had the song(s) of the week back in the day.

Once I resigned myself to saying goodbye to those songs and pushed forward with setting up the new phone with my new AppleID, it went okay, I guess. During setup, I was able to transfer contacts from my old phone to the new one. When trying to download apps on the new phone, even free ones, I kept getting an error message about “this AppleID has not been used in the iTunes store”. Well no duh, it hasn’t, because I can’t use the ID that was used in the iTunes store. After some more Googling, I figured out that what the message should have said is “this Apple ID does not have a payment method attached”, because that’s what the problem was. Once I went to the Apple website and added a credit card, I was able to download apps. I was very glad I had very few paid apps on my old phone, because I had to pay again for the one I use most (and since the benefits of paying were less now than when I paid before, I have a somewhat degraded user experience on that app).

It was two weeks before I had a day when I didn’t boot up the old phone for some reason or another. I gave it another couple weeks to see if my hand would get comfortable holding it, but no, I was still getting tingling after just a few minutes, so I got a knockoff PopSocket for the back, which is better but still not as nice as holding my Android was, with its narrower profile and rounded edges.

 
Now, two and a half months in, I’ve mostly adapted. Writing this has made me annoyed all over again about having to get a new AppleID but nothing to be done about that now. I’m also annoyed that the phone didn’t come with a charger unlike every Android one I’ve ever had. The lack of a headphone jack is another thing on the con list; yeah, the dongle adapter wasn’t too pricey but it’s an added expense I didn’t have with my Android devices. I’ve only gotten on to my Android phone one more time in the past two months (to grab a couple of photos I took after I did my big clear out in preparation for getting the new phone), so that’s good. I’m still getting used to all the gestures needed to do things like see all the open apps at once (that was a simple tap on the Android), and sometimes accidentally do some movement that the phone interprets in a way that surprises me. I still also occasionally pick it up the wrong way round, with the top of the phone at the base of my palm, because the visual and tactile cues I had on my old phone aren’t there when the screen is dark. One thing I do like is now if someone else with an iPhone in a text thread likes a photo, I can see which one they liked rather than just getting a “Person A liked a photo” message. Not that this comes up often in my life but still. I’m glad I stuck it out rather than giving up when I was having a hard time that first week. I’m not sure if I’ll be an iPhone person from now on; Android really fits my image of myself better.

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