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Do you Backup your Cell Phone?

Samsung Galaxy Siii

What Happens if you Lose Your Cell Phone?

Last weekend my No 1 Daughter's cell phone was stolen which brought to light some issues you might like to also consider.

Privacy - Can the thief access all the information on the cell phone?

Most cell phones these days are "smart". As well as being a device to make calls and send and receive texts they can connect to other internet related services such as email and online document and photo storage and social media accounts such as facebook and twitter.

Once I've put in my pin number on my phone I can access:

  • both my personal and business email accounts
  • personal data stored in three different online storage accounts
  • personal Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Google+ acounts
  • and, and, and ...

All by just touching a button. Sometimes I'll have to put in another user name and password but often I don't.

None of us want other people reading our emails and looking at our photo's but more importantly we don't want anyone sending texts or emails or posting to social media anything that appears to be coming from us when its not.

Loss of Information and Data

You can store an awful lot of information on a cellphone, phone numbers, videos of your sisters birthday party, photographs taken on Christmas day, perhaps your whole music collection. If your phone is the only place they are stored you've lost them.

There are three places stuff can be stored on a cell phone, the sim card, the phone itself. and often an sd-card. If the phones lost or stolen they've all gone so it doesn't matter where it was stored.

Contact Information and Phone Numbers

Apparently many people use their cell phone as the only place they record contact details. It's a time consuming and irritating process to get your friends phone number again but it's not the end of the world, it can be done.

Cost of Loss or Theft?

The device itself is insured, stuff happens so we have insurance. It is going to cost us the excess to replace it, annoying but not a big deal.

In the "good old days" my biggest worry would have been someone using it to clock up a zillion dollars worth of calls I'd have to pay for. But this one was a prepay and so at the most she's out of pocket $20.00. However if it was my personal phone on account that could have been an issue avoided by promptly letting your cell phone company know if you lose your phone.

Inconvenience of Getting a New Cell Phone Number?

Not an issue, all modern cell phones have a sim card, the telephone number doesn't belong to the phone and we simply bought a new sim card and got the phone company to transfer the old number onto it, easy.

Who knew Text messages could be Important?

Apparently some people (including my daughter) keep text messages because they include important information that can never be retrieved again, I've never reeceived a text with information important enough to store in a text message but not important enough to store anywhere else.

On TV the CSI or NCIS Agents, or Rupert Murdoch's reporters may be able to access your text messages but in practise its not that easy. Bottom line, they are gone. Apparently that is really, really important to daughter No 1.

If a text message has important information in it store it somewhere else as well.


So overall how did we fare?

No 1 Daughter is well aware of privacy and security issues with technology. She had activated the lock on her phone to prevent anyone else using it and so no one could access her information or her accounts, so no issues with privacy.

Most of her contacts were in her Google account linked to her phone so they auto-magically appeared on her new (my old) phone and eventually she'll get all her contacts reloaded. Just irritating.

She had a few photo's on it which are gone, never to be seem again. But her Music was also stored on computer so that's restored.

But unfortunately her life isn't worth living because the key to her future survival revolves around a text she's lost. Sad news but it will save me paying for her to go to university. Who knows, perhaps she'll recover? (Update 2020: yes she did recover, and graduated from university and it was money very well spent.)

What Did We Learn?

Activate Your Phone's Security Lock

If you are using your phone to connect to anything on the internet activating the security lock on a smart phone is a must, a no brainer. Yes it's an inconvenience to logon every time but it removes the risk of people getting access to your private stuff.

Backup Your Cell Phone Regularly

I've installed the manufacturers software that has a backup facility for each of the household phones and they effectively get backed up if they get plugged into the computer. Found the various wireless or bluetooth options unreliable, use a USB cable, you probably got one with your phone, often its the same one you use to charge it.

I had a video of the girls para-gliding off Treble Cone at Christmas on my phone and nowhere else, it is of course irreplaceable. Now I have it backed up.

If you don't know where to start Google "backup my PUT MAKE AND MODEL HERE phone", or find a teenager to do it for you.


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