Remember the days when Apple was used to be a good company? You know, when these things were in all the schools. Yeah I’m talking about the 1998 iMac. Arguably the coolest looking and best performing computer of its time.
Those were the days. For real.
Present day mentionings of “Apple” now make me grimace. The feeling I get is somewhere between sticking your tongue on a 9V battery and stepping on a slightly-above-average-sharpened rock whilst barefoot.
I recently came to find myself in the business of repairing a pair of iPhones belonging to a friend that had both run out of warranty. An iPhone 5C and 5S. The 5C hadn’t worked in about a year, so it also hadn’t been charged in about that time. The 5S had recently started having issues with the display which only worked occasionally.
I wanted to fix the iPhone 5S first because it was the one my friend was still trying to use. It seemed there was some kind of a problem with the logic board, as I tried everything I could to get the fucking screen to turn on. Trying all the buttons, resetting it with the button combination, plugging it into the wall/Macbook he had etc. There’s not a whole lot more else you can do because you can’t pull the battery without having the microscopic screwdriver required to remove the 2 tiny bottom screws.
Eventually it was toggling the ‘lock’ button on the side that made the screen wake-up. After that I set the screen off setting to “Never” ensuring the screen was always on. After about 5 hours of having the screen on, and even putting the iPhone in the fridge for just 2 minutes to cool down because it had started to get REALLY hot. The screen was still working. So I concluded that it wasn’t actually a connector or hardware issue and perhaps something faulty with the screen off setting. Further evidence came from the fact that before when the screen was black, I could still hear sounds from touching the screen. So it was still recording touch input, just not displaying anything. After I got the screen on, I tried installing the latest iOS (11.2.2 (15C202)) to see if that would make any difference. Nope. The phone rebooted (presumably as it could be detected by iTunes) but the screen was not working again and nothing seemed to get it to come on… great.
I looked online to find that fixing it would cost about $470 off the warranty which was totally out of the question. No store in Australia even sells iPhone 5S models any more. You either buy an iPhone 6 or nothing, and these started at $600. So I went about trying to convince my mate to swap to Android once-and-for-all. We still needed to get the iPhone working properly though because he had 400+ phone contacts to transfer from it and he hadn’t managed to save them to iCloud.
Fast forward a few days and it really seems nothing is working. I tried for about an hour massaging the buttons in different patterns. Holding the power and trying to swipe to turn it off, where I knew the slider would be (I just couldn’t see it). I also tried connecting to 2 different computers and tried different cables. I couldn’t even get the phone connected because it wanted me to accept the connection, even on his authorised Macbook (you fucking serious Apple?), and I couldn’t confirm the action on the phone because I couldn’t SEE anything!
The more things I tried, the more I realised that you’re honestly shit out of luck owning one of these things. Google searches resulted in thousands of distressed forum posts and complaints from Apple users who had been at a huge loss of what to do in the same situation. It was hard to withhold empathy and roll with the same feeling I always have “What do you expect buying Apple?” when I was now in the same situation myself in place of my mate who was himself, at a massive loss on how to get his phone working again.
Eventually it may have been a combination of using the Torch on my Sony Xperia XZP and shining that on the ambient light sensor and mashing a few of the buttons, that got the iPhone 5S to finally wake up. After which I set the screen timeout to “Never fucking ever” and got about trying to pair the iPhone to my Sony XZP via bluetooth to hopefully transfer off the contacts. Yeah no. I could pair the phones but not connect from either of them and conveniently there isn’t ANY kind of option to transfer ANY contacts or photos via Bluetooth which makes me honestly wonder what the flying fuck the phone even has Bluetooth compatibility for? Perhaps it’s just for those shitty iPods or the Apple Watch huh?
I downloaded iTunes to learn that of course, iTunes is no longer really used to view photos/videos and do software updates for iPhones any more. So I hunted around and found the iCloud app.
Transferring contacts seemed to be a dead end. So I tried photos and videos. After authorizing the laptop I was on (now that the screen on the iPhone worked) I was greeted with a whopping 8 out of 641 images that I could transfer over. The rest wouldn’t display, apparently because Windows can only see photos in the “Camera Roll”. Bloody brilliant Apple! So I set them all to upload to iCloud from the phone, which anyone will tell you on Australia internet, takes about 7
days hours per photo. After this, I used the downloaded iCloud software to log-in and download them all to the computer I was using. Whoopie! Another 1½ hours down the drain for something that would have taken me TWO GODDAMN MINUTES on an Android phone… The icing on the cake was the fact that the iCloud software and Photo folder doesn’t have any kind of download or upload progress bar, so I had to keep refreshing the folder to see how many photos had been downloaded. At one point I thought it had stopped as nothing had been downloaded in a while so I clicked to “Download photos” again, to find that it had now made DUPLICATE folders numbered eg. “2018 (2)” and began downloading them all over again instead! It only stopped when I used the Task Manager to kill the program executable… So innovative Apple!
With the photos saved it was time again to try with the contacts. I wasn’t about to photograph all 400+ contacts using my own Android phone, so I begrudgingly went back to Google to look for solutions.
It’s important to note that around this time I accidentally pulled the iPhone off my desk after getting out of my seat to go and get another beer (you can’t do this shit sober, trust me). This made the screen go off again despite me setting the timeout to “Never” which resulted in some massive panicking as I frantically tried to get the screen to come on again. It took about 3 minutes for it to work, but by then I decided I needed not one, but now TWO more beers to deal with the rest of this shit.
2 beers later. It seemed you could just go to the iCloud website. Log in, click contacts, Ctrl + A, click the settings gear at the bottom, click export vCard and voilá. You could download them all into a .vcf file to use for importing into Gmail or wherever. I chose to go for Gmail so they’d end up on my mate’s new Android phone without me even having to plug anything in. To do this I went to Google Contacts, and tried to import them but stupidly there doesn’t seem to be the option using the new Google Contacts layout. Can’t these multi-billion dollar companies get fucking anything right? So I clicked “Use old version” and bam, after reloading the page there’s the option “Import contacts -> From .csv file” holy shit. Was that hard or what?
I was now basically done with the backup portion of the work. From here on, I’m going to try and entirely reset the iPhone 5S to see if that helps, and I’ve also purchased a new iPhone 5C battery, seeing as that old one hasn’t responded to anything.
Thanks Apple for making something that should have taken me 2 fucking minutes, 10 hours.