Note to self – keep all your data OS agnostic and in the cloud, and don't live your life on your phone

, . Filed under Thinking.

My iPhone has stopped charging without me having to perform an antagonistic dance with the charger and the phone’s port. It needs to go back to Apple for a fix (no, it’s not the cable or the plug).

As it may not work again I wanted to blitz everything, which meant doing a full restore and then opting not to enter my old iCloud account details.

This served as a reminder – which I’m sure you don’t need – that it’s better to export things like contacts in an agnostic format (such as vcard or CSV) so you can restore them to any phone in the future. Who knows; perhaps it’ll be a Windows phone next time.

Better still, backup your data and files in the cloud so you can copy them to any device. Although uploading MP3s to Drive or Dropbox is a bit of a pain to manage (and may incur a monthly charge if you’ve got lots of files), it does mean I can access my music on any device – even a PC running some Linux variant. I do in some sense actually possess the things I bought.

I’m actually using Spotify a lot now. Now, that’s not all hunky dory, but it does mean I can get access to my music by simply installing the app again on another device, or by logging onto the website. At least until Spotify goes under.

Use IMAP rather than POP for your email. Make these decisions when you set things up and you’ll be better off when things go wrong, or you just want to use something different.

Incidentally, there is another advantage to not using an iCloud account. When I can get the phone to connect to the computer iTunes doesn’t automatically open. I never have to even look at iTunes, and that’s a wonderful thing. I don’t get any unparseable messages about synching, purchasing and authorising. The whole phone setup feels better, and clearer, in a cosy, old-fashioned way. It’s now a (very pretty) device like any other. I’ll try and keep it that way when it comes back (hopefully) fixed.