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Apple iPhone

Upgrading to a new iPhone

From time to time people need to upgrade their devices. One of those times is shortly after Apple’s Fall Event, which is where we are now. When it comes to upgrade an iPhone, it can be somewhat straightforward, depending on what type of backup you have. There are two different backup possibilities. The two options are iTunes and iCloud.

iTunes has been the stalwart for music and has been used by millions of people for backing up their iOS devices. One of the benefits of backing up iTunes is that you can encrypt your backups. The benefit of encrypting your backup is that absolutely everything on your iPhone can be completely restored. This includes any health data that is on your iPhone.

If you backup via iCloud, your health data will not be backed up nor restored. This can pose an issue for some users. This changes slightly with iOS 11. Before we delve into that, let us look at the procedure for backing up and restoring a device running iOS 10.

Restoring an iOS Device with iOS 10.

When you restore an iPhone under iOS 10, there are a number of items that are backed up, whether it is to iCloud or to a computer itself. The items that are backed up to iCloud are:

  • App data
  • Apple Watch backups
  • Call history
  • Device settings
  • Health data
  • HomeKit configuration
  • Home screen and app organization
  • iMessage, text (SMS), and MMS messages
  • Photos and videos on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
  • Purchase history from Apple services, like your music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books
  • Ringtones
  • Visual Voicemail password (requires the SIM card that was in use during backup)

The one item that is not backed up under iOS 10 is your health data. In order to provide some protection for your health data, it is not backed up via iCloud. In order to backup your health data, you need to use iTunes.

Backing up with iTunes

Our phones have some of the most important data that we own. This could include messages, emails, pictures, and countless other pieces of media. With such a significant amount of information, being able to get it back is important. One of the ways to do this is to store as much in “the cloud” as possible. This also comes with some possible downsides. What is you cannot access the service storing the information? What if the service disappears? What if you lose your device or it needs to be replaced? This is why having a good local backup is important.

One of the functions of iTunes that many users utilize is the ability to backup your iPhone. One of the capabilities of iTunes is to enhance your backups by encrypting them. Encrypting an iPhone backup is not a difficult proposition, however it does come with some responsibility. An encrypted iTunes backup is similar to a regular iTunes backup, but there is a password that is used to encrypt the iTunes backup. The downside with an encrypted backup is that you cannot restore an encrypted backup without the password.

It is recommended that you select a password that is secure and it is best to write the password down and store it in a secure place. You can also have your macOS Keychain remember the password, but it is always a good idea to have it backed up just in case something happens to your Mac.

The benefit of an encrypted backup is twofold. First, you will be able to backup all of your health data. This means any information that has been transmitted from your electronic health monitoring devices, such as a pacemaker, glucose monitors, or Apple Watch will be backed up. The second benefit is that no one can easily see what is in your encrypted backup, not without the password.

Upgrading an iPhone with a paired Apple Watch

Having an Apple Watch paired to your iPhone can make things a bit trickier when it comes to upgrading your iPhone. Your Apple Watch data should be automatically backed up. Having had an Apple Watch since it was released in 2015, I have been through the upgrade process a couple of times now. Here is the procedure that I use. Some of it may not be necessary, but I prefer to be safe than sorry.

  1. Backup my iPhone using and encrypted backup in iTunes using a lightning cable. The important piece of information to verify is that the last backup date and time are recent.
  2. Unpair the old Apple Watch so it will backup to the iPhone.
  3. Perform another encrypted backup of my iPhone in iTunes, again making sure the date and time are current.
  4. Restore the new iPhone from this latest backup.
  5. Pair the new Apple Watch to the new iPhone.

I suggest using a lightning cable because the process is much faster than doing a backup over Wi-Fi. This is not necessary possible with iCloud, but having a backup is definitely an important aspect to owning a iPhone.

The new Apple Watch should now be paired to the new iPhone. It will take a while for this to occur, particularly since there are two encrypted backups of the iPhone. The use of a lightning cable does make this go much faster than syncing via Wifi; hence why I always use the cable.

With iOS 11, this may not be necessary anymore, since the Health Data should be encrypted and backed up to iCloud. So before you upgrade to a new iPhone, upgrade to iOS 11 and then perform a backup. This backup should include your health data, which will make restoring to your new phone even easier.

An additional feature of iOS 11 is the new “Quick Setup” feature. Quick Setup will allow you to use an existing iOS 11 device to quickly setup your new iOS device. This means that you will be able to transfer your Apple account settings from one phone to another, which then means you will be able to more quickly restore your new iOS device from your iCloud backup.

I know for me, I will still be using the steps outlined above, mostly since I know they will work like I want them to. Additionally, my new iPhone will have all of the same settings as my old iPhone, which makes things much easier.

Final Thoughts

No matter when you upgrade your iPhone, you should make sure that you have a backup. It does not really matter, at least with iOS 11, if that is an iCloud backup or a backup with iTunes. If you do not have an Apple Watch, upgrading an iPhone is pretty straight-forward. If you do have an Apple Watch in the mix, it is not super difficult, just a couple of extra steps to be able to get your new iPhone up and running. There are some who are only getting new Apple Watches, and that is a whole other upgrade process that will need to occur.

Categories
Technology

Cell Phone Upgrade Fees

iphone6-select-2014

Many people in today’s modern society enjoy getting a new gadget. The most common gadget that many users purchase, and upgrade at a somewhat regular frequency, is their cell phone. There is an ever increasing number of cell phone users. Being in the United States it should not surprise anyone that cellphone companies want to maximize their profits. In the United States there are four major carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. There are many smaller and regional carriers that exist. But we will focus on the largest four.

When a user picks out a new cell phone, there are many things to consider. The biggest two are the initial cost of the phone and the price of the ongoing monthly cell phone bill. With it being September, let us use an example of a new iPhone 6, presuming you get it on day one. Here is the minimum costs per month on each carrier:

64GB iPhone 6 and the 1GB, or closest, per month data plan with a standard 2-year contract.

Carrier Upfront Cost Total Monthly Total 2 year Cost
AT&T $299.99 $65.00 $1859.00
Verizon $299.99 $80.00 $2219.00
Sprint $299.99 $70.00 $1979.00
T-Mobile $109.99 $77.08 $1959.91

This is what the cost would be over the course of two years, if you start with a new phone plan. There is one thing not listed in the table above. That is the “activation” fee. The activation fee is an additional fee that most cell phone providers charge to activate a new phone. While this can be somewhat understood, if this was 1999, in today’s world this makes no sense. If a person had to physically activate a new device by putting entering the device information into a database and it took even 30 minutes, a $20 activation fee would make sense. But this is 2014 and this is no longer the case. The device is automatically activated when registered and, in most cases, takes a couple minutes to enter in the information. There is no way that it costs $40, or more, per phone to activate.

When you purchase a traditional 2-year contract, the price of your phone is being subsidized by the phone company, and hence why there is a contract. Over the length of the contract, typically 2 years in the United States, the price difference between what you paid upfront, and the remaining cost of the phone, is paid for by your monthly bill. There have been some changes by the carriers, as of late, where you can effectively pay for your phone with a monthly fee that is not necessarily tied to your monthly phone service bill. Besides, the activation fee there is another fee that providers charge. The “upgrade” fee.

AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all charge customers an “upgrade” fee. An upgrade fee is incurred when a user replaces a device at a subsidized price. In theory, this should make sense. But in practice it does not. The thing that does not make sense with this “upgrade” fee is that there it serves no purpose other than to generate revenue for the company. Just like the activation fee, the upgrade fee is merely a profit making feature. While one could possibly argue that the cell phone company has to cover the possible difference in price between when a user upgrades and the total price for renewed contract. But this is just load of crap. The “upgrade” fee is merely there to generate more profit for the provider.

With so many people in the U.S. upgrading their phone, cell phone companies stand to generate a significant amount of profit just from upgrade fees. With over 4 million iPhones sold worldwide, let us presume that 500,000 of those were in the U.S. Here is a chart with how much each company stands to make, in pure profit, from activation or upgrade fees.

Carrier % of Total Market % of 500,000 % Subsidized (95%) Upgrade Fee per device Total Profit
AT&T 33.9% 169,500 161,025 $40.00 $6,441,000
Verizon 35.8% 179,000 170,050 $30.00 $5,101,500
Sprint 15.7% 78,500 74,575 $36.00 $2,684,700
T-Mobile 14.6% 73,000 0 $0 $0

As you can see, presuming 450,000 upgrades and new accounts the total profit that the carriers stand to make just from activation and upgrade fees for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is a total of $14,227,200 between the largest three. T-Mobile users pay full price for their devices, and T-Mobile does not charge an upgrade fee. The guess of 500,000 orders being in the United States, is merely my own guess. The percentage of the market is based on reported subscriber count, obtained from wikipedia.

As long as we keep paying for these subsidized phones, the phone companies will continue to keep charging us these upgrade fees. If we all purchased unsubsidized phones, the market may become a largely different place. However, given the retail price of phones, it is not likely that all phone users will begin to pay for unsubsidized phones any time soon.

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Daily Run Down

Daily Run Down 06/19/2013: Morning Edition

Here is this morning’s Daily Run Down.

Social Issues/Human Interest

General News

Politics

Science/Space

Financial

Historical

Gaming

Law

Patents

Technology

Internet

Mobile

London/Britain/UK

Funny

Chicagoland

Total Number of stories: 53

Look for more news stories this evening.

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Daily Run Down

Daily Run Down 06/18/2013: Evening Edition

Here is this evening’s Daily Run Down.

Social Issues/Human Interest

General News

International

Politics

Health

Science/Space

Financial

Historical

Tips and Tricks

Gaming

Gadgets

Reviews

Law

Patents

Technology

Internet

Mobile

Rumors

Developer

London/Britain/UK

Personal

Funny

Chicagoland

Total Number of stories: 91

Look for more stories tomorrow.

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Daily Run Down

Daily Run Down 06/10/2013: Morning Edition

Here is this morning’s Daily Run Down.

General News

International

Politics

Health

Financial

Historical

Gaming

Reviews

Technology

Mobile

Rumors

Security

London/Britain/UK

Chicagoland

Total Number of stories: 36

Look for more news stories this evening.