Connectivity – Take 1,178

I lost connectivity. It feels like it has been over eleven hundred times. If I’m feeling even more vexed, it will feel like more times. I blame LG for this. This time, number 1178, was definitely all LG’s fault. I have a new phone. A new LG phone. I had an LG phone before last week, but now it is a new, five day old phone.

The new phone required me to take four days off from doing just about anything else other than trying to get data from the old phone to the new phone. A task that proved fruitless to the very end. That is the short version of the story.

The family switched from Ting to T-Mobile sometime in 2019. I liked Ting. I liked it because it was cheap. But then the prices went up, and our usage went up, and the Son started watching movies on his phone at college, and suddenly we were spending enough on cell phone charges that we could probably save money going with a standard carrier instead of a minute and data swapper like Ting. So we bit the bullet and changed to T-Mobile as a family, and I got a new LG phone to replace the Motorola G5 that inexplicably didn’t have NFC capability on it.

That was when the fun started. The first LG-Q7+ was always flaky. It kept giving me operating system errors and crashing at unexpected times. I dutifully tried to troubleshoot the poor thing for several months, tweaking this, changing that, reloading this or that application. No luck. Then one day it decided that it couldn’t take pictures anymore, so the LG-Q7+ that was my first-ever cell phone provided by a carrier’s plan had to be replaced.

Fortunately or unfortunately its replacement was another LG-Q7+. The LG-Q7+ is not a bad phone. Personally, I think it runs circles around the Motorola G5, and that’s just because I can use it to do electronic transactions without having to dig for a card. But because it was another LG-Q7+ I thought that this was a good time to try the LG Mobile Switch software that I hadn’t bothered to use when I changed from the Motorola to the LG the first time.

That first time I set it up? I just fired up the smartphone, selected language and country options, then I told Google it was my new phone, and Google set it all up for me in about a half-hour. It was fast and easy, but I was never certain that letting Google set it up hadn’t been half the problem that the first LG-Q7+ was having with it’s memory.

So, silly me, not allowing something that works stand in the way of trying something new, I loaded up the LG Mobile Switch software and set it to copying and transferring the dozens of gigabytes of data that I have on my phone. I wanted this to be a straight copy from phone to phone, so I didn’t bother to associate the new LG phone with my Google account in advance. I figured it would know it was my phone after it initialized the new installation. This was my first mistake.

After I got the data transferred, the Switch software coughed up an error. It said that it couldn’t transfer Amazon music to the new phone. I figured I’d just install it on my own when I had the new phone up and running, so I pulled the sim card and SD card from the old phone and popped it into the new one.

It started up fine, but then I noticed that some of my data from the old phone didn’t copy. Data that wasn’t in Amazon music. Data that I couldn’t transfer on my own. My Google Fit data, specifically. So I started the transfer process again, thinking it was the error that caused the data glitch. This was my second mistake.

The second data transfer completed without error, but when I looked at the phone records I realized that the data had been duplicated, and the Google Fit data disappeared when I opened the application. This is the point where I should have stopped, reset the new phone, and let Google know that I was trying to set up a new phone, starting the process by accessing my Google account first. Had I done that (this was already two days into the four day torture session) I would probably still have my Google Fit data.

I didn’t do that. Instead I deleted data from the individual applications (!) and started the transfer process a third time. I figured that I was only clearing data from the one phone, it wouldn’t affect the actual data on my old phone. When the process completed the third time, I still didn’t have the data I wanted. What was worse is that when I went to check the old phone, I watched as the data was deleted from it as well.

The weird part was that a phone that wasn’t currently connected to the internet in any way, didn’t even have a sim card in it, could get instructions to delete data and then delete it. My best guess is that the command was transferred during the brief moments that the phone was on the network to do the third transfer, and that the data purge was simply waiting for me to fire up the app the next time, which I did.

I tried resetting the old phone to factory specs and then reinstalling the data from an old backup, but the damage had been done already. The data in the backup had also been deleted; or if it hadn’t been deleted, it was deleted when it was sent to the new installation. What was worse is that the LG Mobile Switch software still hadn’t duplicated some of the other data that it should have copied, if it was actually doing what it promised to do.

So on the fourth day I reset the new phone to factory specs and downloaded the backup from Google to the new phone, just like I had done the first time with the flaky first LG-Q7+. Annoyingly LG Mobile Switch insisted that I allow it to copy data from my old phone, even though the old phone had been reset to factory specs and returned to T-Mobile the day before. I had to figure out how to get the software to stop bugging me to copy data, which meant telling it “yes I want to copy” and then canceling out of the process after it got to the start screen.

It would have been nice if the LG Mobile Switch software had prompted me to log into my Google account as a precursor to starting the copy process, so as to let the dumb new user know that logging into your Google account was going to be required for the process to be successful. That would have been a big help. Not being so willing to try new things just to be able to screw up in new and interesting ways (and then write about the process) would also have kept me from accidentally deleting seven-ish years of fitness tracking from my Google account.

I started writing this on Monday, February 3rd. I got the new phone on Thursday, January 30th and started setting it up that day. As I started writing, I was logging into the last of the hundred or so apps that I have on my phone. What this experience has taught me more than anything, is that I really need to do some weeding of old apps from my phone. Not having to wedge data on to tiny old phones has made me lazy over the last few years. I really don’t know what all those apps do, or why I have them other than I thought “oh, cool” while listening to a TWiT or TWiG or All About Android episode, and then forgetting I installed whatever it was after I finished fiddling around with it. Why is it that everything requires regular cleaning, even the tech?

Looks like I’ll be duplicating the data collection that my doctor requested me to do about two weeks before I changed phones. I had just finished entering the last set of data into Google Fit and just needed to copy it and upload it to his website. If only I had done that first. If only.