iPhone X / High Sierra Update

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:

High Sierra

  1. Meh. Haven’t noticed any real difference so far (have only really been using it a few hours though) except…
  2. 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.

iPhone X

  1. The notch doesn’t bother me much after a few hours, except…
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. FaceID is pretty magic. Creepy magic, but magic. So far it’s worked really well.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. I had to go through and log back into a bunch of apps for some reason.
  9. 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 🙂
  10. 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).
  11. Overall it feels like a really nice phone, but there are definitely some weird edges and corner cases (puns intended).

5 thoughts on “iPhone X / High Sierra Update

  1. 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.

    The reason is because Google Authenticator stopped including 2FA codes in backups. Ones that you added before that happened were included, and ones you added after were not.

    From what I’ve read this appears to be by design. There is no backup option for Google Authenticator. Might be worth trying an alternative that does have a method for backup/restore of 2FA codes. Authy is the one I hear come up most often.

  2. iPhone continues to launch its newest product and I have never had any smartphone products from Apple. According to information from friends who already use various brands and versions of Apple smartphones, they always lack the power because Apple smartphone wasteful battery. Is that right?

    1. I’ve never really used an Android device as my main device, so I can’t really compare, but I basically have to charge an iPhone every day or else I’ll run out. If I use my phone particularly heavily (like watching a bunch of videos or something), then I might not even make it through a full day.

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