iPhones have been in our family since they first came on the market, so I had always been sold on the benefit of the phone and the technology. But it was only after my phone was stolen that I realized how truly dependent on my smartphone I had become.
The first week of the New Year started off a little shaky in my household. The kids had been on break for a week and a half, and we decided to take them to an early movie and spend the evening getting them prepared for school. Unfortunately, as we wandered back to our car, I discovered I had left my iPhone sitting in the cup holder of the theater, and even though I raced back to claim it, I discovered someone had already laid claim to it in the short time it took to get back in the building. We filed a police report, reported it stolen with AT&T and even though we had the thief caught on video camera, I had to acknowledge a few hours later that my phone and all the conveniences of my life I had added into it, were gone.
While the iPhone has apps like “Find my iPhone” and the ability through locator services to remotely wipe the phone, I still felt it necessary to change all the passwords to my accounts that I had starting accessing through the phone. I started first with my email accounts, both personal and work so the person with the phone could not set new passwords on any of my other apps. I made my way through the multiple banking apps – Citi, Chase and ING Direct accounts that I frequently accessed. I went to the next tier of convenience apps I had installed, like my car insurance, my pharmacy and the local Five Guys restaurant App for placing hamburger orders online so I could breeze into the restaurant and go straight to the pickup counter.
That didn’t begin to cover the myriad of other apps that I realized I had come to rely on for my phone. I use Common Sense Media to find ratings on the video games my children want to purchase, and Flixster to find ratings and tickets for movies. I have Amazon and eBay apps so I can shop from the road as I sit next to my husband in the car. And of course, I have an app from my cable provider so when I am on the road and can’t get home to watch that NFL playoff came, I can set it to record to my DVR.
For the first few days, post the theft, I used a spare iPhone 3 that we had in a drawer. While the technology had been astounding to me when we first got it, I was amazed to see how much the iPhone 4 had improved upon that technology in a short period of time. I couldn’t download my work email and had to wait patiently when I touched the screen for the action to place, and was completely confused at first when I exited one app to find that it stopped running and wasn’t continuing in the background as the ones on my iPhone 4 did.
Probably the most telling of all things regarding my reliance on the iPhone was my refusal to use the laptops in my home to complete those same tasks. Being in a technology job, I have multiple laptops, MacBooks and desktops all at my disposal in my home, let alone those I have available at work. I found that I kept forgetting that I could (and used to) access all the full websites from my laptop to do those same functions.
So as I sit here happily synced to my iTunes from my new iPhone 4S, and transfer my bank funds, check on my prescription pick-up status, and text my son that the game he wants is inappropriate for his age group, I say a little thank you to Apple for making my life that much more manageable.