When Your iPhone Dies

Almost 2 years ago I bought an iPhone and after reading and hearing stories about how fragile the little suckers were I decided to purchase insurance for my phone.  I am not cell phone abuser, I have only killed 1 1/2 phones since I have started carrying them.  I say 1 1/2 because my clamshell flip phone fell down a flight of stairs and it broke into two parts resulting in a definite cell phone death, while the “half” dead phone was the result of a spilled drink.  The drowned cell phone actually worked fine, the screen was just messed up and you couldn’t see who was calling.  But I still used it until my plan renewed.

Recently I began having difficulties with my iPhone.  The external speaker stopped working, thus no ring tone when somebody called and the alarm clock (which I used in hotels) was silent.  I could hear things when I had earphones in but that was about it.  Then the battery life on my phone went from typical smartphone paltry to downright nothing.  I would only get about 20 minutes of talk time out of it and maybe an 1 hour standby.  This was the death blow for me.  I cannot have a phone that I must leave plugged in constantly to receive calls. 

Thankfully I bought Square Trade insurance for the expensive little beast.  Why did I go with Square Trade over Apple Care?  Simple… Remember I told you I had one phone that broke in half and another drown?  Apple Care does not insure your phone against user inflicted damage (drops, water damage, etc.) but Square Trade does.  So logged on to Square Trade and filed a claim to replace my dying iPhone. 

The process was very simple (I had scanned in the original purchase receipt when I bought the insurance), I filled out the online form stating my problem and verified my address.  They sent out a replacement phone within 2 business days.  I received it and began charging it while I worked on syncing and getting all my stuff off of my old iPhone.  The transfer from old phone to new phone was a little clunky, but I blame iTunes primarily not the phones.  iTunes still can’t find my music but that happened with the old phone as well.  I then sent back my old phone in a prepaid UPS box.  It only took me a couple of days to do all of this.  It would have been quicker if Thanksgiving, kids, painting a house, work, etc. weren’t all demanding my attention. 

A few important things to note:

  • You must return your old iPhone within 15 days or they will charge you $500 for sending the replacement phone. 
  • If they determine the reason your iPhone is dead/dying is due to an accident such as dropping or liquid then you are charged a $50 deductible.  This is actually spelled out in the insurance contract prior to buying insurance. 
  • I had an iPhone 3G.  I would venture to say there are very few if any new 3G phones still waiting to be sold.  There might be a few 3GS phones hanging around but really the iPhone 4 is what is out there.  They try to replace like phone with like. So I did not get an iPhone 4, I got a refurbed 3G.  While I do wish I had a new phone (I am always worried about refurbs) my phone was 2 years old and dying fast, the refurb HAD to be better than it. 

Would I insure my iPhone again with Square Trade.  Yes!  I basically paid $80 for a two year plan and go a replacement phone.  If I didn’t have the insurance I would be without a phone (fairly soon given its battery life span) and I would have had to plunk down $400 for a new one while in the middle of my plan. 

The real question now is whether I stick with my iPhone.  I really like it but I have two major gripes about it.

  • No Flash. Sorry all you Apple fans and Steve Jobs but the Internet has a ton of stuff on Flash and if I want to watch a video that is Flash I want to watch it, I don’t want to hope that it is also on YouTube.  Who knows maybe this is problem is moot when HTML 5 becomes more prevalent. 
  • AT&T is EXPENSIVE!  3 years ago it cost me about $80 for three cell phones (mine, my husband’s and mother-in-law’s phones). Now I look at $170/month for three phones (and no, mother-in-law is not racking up the bill).  That is double. 

What am I going to do?  The Flash thing is tricky, I might not have as much control over that as I would like given the types of phones out there and carriers.  If I leave my iPhone I am leaving AT&T and looking at an Android.  I am seriously considering Virgin Mobile which $40 for all you can eat data, texting, and 1200/month/phone.  I would have to buy the Android outright and not have it subsidized by a contract but that is still a savings in the end. 

If I move from the iPhone I will still write about medical and library applications for it, but I will probably write more on what is out there for Androids as well.  We will see where things take me in the smartphone world.

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