The Data Transfer Project was launched in 2018 to create an open-source, service-to-service data portability platform so that all individuals across the web could easily move their data between online service providers whenever they want.https://datatransferproject.dev/
Yesterday, I received my new iPhone X. I thought I’d post some notes on the painful process that has been switching over to it. Might be time to start experimenting with a Pixel.
I’m on the Apple Upgrade program, so I assumed it would be a relatively simple process to get bumped up to the next phone, since it’s been more than a year since I got the iPhone 7 Plus. Instead, it ended up involving talking to multiple different people at the Apple store before I could figure out how it all worked, and how to get a new phone, even though my current phone had a cracked screen. Their online eligibility check kept saying that I had used my allotted AppleCare instances, even though I’ve never used any. Eventually I found out that I need to just tell their system there’s nothing wrong with my phone, and then when I send it back in, I’ll end up being asked to pay the $29 to fix the screen, and then they’ll accept is as a trade-in. OK, fine.
From there, I ordered the new phone online, which comes with a trade-in kit (still waiting to receive that, so hopefully I don’t have to update this post with how that was a disaster as well). The phone arrived 6 days earlier than estimated online (under promise, over deliver), and I was off to the races. I’ve done iPhone transfers before and have never had a problem, but this is the first time that I upgraded to a smaller-capacity device (128G –> 64G; cloud power, yo). I started the set up process, expecting it to walk me through making space or choosing what to transfer, but instead I just got a cryptic error message when I tried to restore from backup. Something about general error 9. That actually correlates to a “connectivity issue”, and if I’d known better I possibly could have saved myself a lot of time at this point. Instead, I assumed that it related to the size/space issue, so I went about deleting thousands and thousands of photos and videos and some apps I wasn’t using to make space on my old phone. I finally got it down to a size that would fit on the new phone, and did another complete back up through iTunes.
At this point I should have been able to restore to the new phone and start using it immediately, right? WRONG. Now the new phone was in some weird state where it was bricked, and the only thing I could get out of it was a screen telling me to go to support.apple.com/iphone/restore. Oh, and at this point the new phone had also taken over control of my cellular account, so my old phone was a really expensive iPod (those still exist, right?). Since all the docs I found were talking about making sure you had the latest versions of everything, this was when I realized I didn’t have the latest version of iTunes, but of course I also didn’t have High Sierra installed. Ugh. OK, so another hour+ later, I got those both installed, and I figured now it was going to work, right? WRONG.
I was still getting similar errors to before, and this was when I bothered to read the docs for that specific error (9) a bit more carefully, and see the reference to using “the cable supplied with your phone”. That couldn’t possibly be related, right? WRONG. I had been trying to use one of these USB-C cables, which have otherwise been fine, transfer data, etc. Apparently they’re not good enough for Apple. I switched to the cable that came with the phone (had to use a USB-C adaptor to plug it into a new MacBook Pro though!), and suddenly things started working. An hour or something later, I finally had a working iPhone X.
What a drama. So now, some quick, early observations:
- Meh. Haven’t noticed any real difference so far (have only really been using it a few hours though) except…
- Photos (the app) is borked, and now wants to import 900 duplicate photos from my phone because it thinks they’re new. I’m not alone.
- The notch doesn’t bother me much after a few hours, except…
- Various levels of “support” for the notch mean that some apps go “behind” it, while some apps are shrunk down to show a complete rectangle. That inconsistency is kind of annoying.
- Some apps/websites/etc put things right into the corners, and with the rounded edges on the screen, plus the “home bar” at the bottom, that can get a bit awkward sometimes.
- FaceID is pretty magic. Creepy magic, but magic. So far it’s worked really well.
- Lots of new gestures to get around the lack of Home button (and the use of FaceID, vs TouchID, which messes with the workflow for ApplePay), but I’ve picked them up pretty quickly.
- The form factor is really nice. I had the iPhone 7 Plus before so this is smaller, but the screen is still nice and big. Thumbs up there.
- When the keyboard is up, it feels weird to have a huge blank space below it, with the alternate keyboard icon in the bottom left.
- I had to go through and log back into a bunch of apps for some reason.
- Google Authenticator is my most painful fail for the transfer (not counting literally the entire transfer process). For some reason, only a few of the things I had configured in there transferred over properly. I’m going to have to go and reconfigure 2FA on everything from my old phone, into my new phone. Luckily I still have the old phone to even know what the list is 🙂
- I might end up turning off the TrueAttention feature or whatever it’s called. Sometimes I want to put my phone down and not be looking at it, but keep it on (referring to something else, keeping it in my field of view, whatever). With Attention enabled, it turns itself off when you stop looking at it (wow, talk about needy).
- Overall it feels like a really nice phone, but there are definitely some weird edges and corner cases (puns intended).
I recently picked up an iPad Pro (9.7″), along with the Apple Pencil and a Logitech keyboard/case. I’m trying the package out as an alternate work configuration, and so far am quite enjoying it. It’s also good to force me to test more of our software from a mobile perspective.
The screen on the iPad Pro is gorgeous, so it’s pretty similar to using a MacBook Pro. Being completely touch-based makes it feel much more interactive and “engaging”, which is weird. I also find myself using the Apple Pencil quite often, just because it’s so precise, and is surprisingly pleasant to use for interacting with even very finger-touch optimized UIs. I’ve been doing some diagraming and “visual” type work lately as well, so it’s refreshing to be able to do that digitally and feel like it’s not a huge compromise over just doing it with paper/pencil/post-its.
Logitech’s keyboard case packs a surprisingly “real” keyboard into a relatively small pacakage, although it still feels pretty hefty and clunky when compared to the Apple Smart Keyboard. The backlighting on the Logitech one is really nice though, and again, makes it feel like you’re using a laptop rather than a tablet. The OCD side of me is really twitchy though, because when you have the Apple Pencil in the case as well, it folds up so that that pencil rests against the screen of the iPad. Literally 1 centimeter to the side and it could have snuggled up against the side edge of the iPad and 1. not rested on the screen, 2. allowed the whole package to close flatter.
Split-screen mode on the iPad is a surprisingly effective approach to multi-tasking/multiple windows, and I find myself using it quite often to bring something up in a side panel, so that I can refer to it while working in a main window. I’ve also discovered that a lot of the expected shortcuts (like cmd-tab, cmd-t, cmd-l, cut, copy, paste) work when you have an external keyboard in operation, again making things feel like a laptop/full experience.
I’ve locked down my notifications on the iPad more aggressively than elsewhere, so I get interrupted less when I’m using it. That makes it a great device to sit in the morning and get some “isolated” work down, without distraction. We’ll see how it goes as I attempt to make this a more permanent part of my workflow.
Of course, this post was written on the iPad. I used the web UI of WordPress.com to post via Jetpack to this self-hosted site.