Let me paint a picture for you, a common one, one that you know and dread. Your phone (or tablet) won’t power on one morning. It just won’t. You try rebooting and nothing. You plug it into your computer, and you’re met with that horrifying clicking of the hard-drive attempting, and failing, to boot. And then you remember why you love your device so much. It’s not the fun games, or the convenience of having a computer in your pocket… it’s not even the social media that you use to escape a hard day for a few minutes. It’s the fact that the little rectangle in your hands holds all of your contacts, a whole career of connections just trapped inside this (hopefully) slumbering beast.

Then you start to panic. Surely the data’s retrievable, you tell yourself. God knows that everything under the sun lives in the Cloud now, so surely… surely. And then you have a choice, a choice of two frustrations, each of which is going to completely ruin your day: do you go to your service provider (AT&T) or to the manufacturer (Apple)?


Which Address Book Nightmare Do You Choose?

If you go to AT&T, you can pretty much count on one thing: they will not take responsibility for the device’s failure. Sure, they may offer you a new device for a small fee, they might empathize with you, but the hard message you’re going to get here is Unfortunately we didn’t make that, so we can’t fix it; what we can do is… and you leave, grey-eyed and raging because, it’s not like they didn’t try, but come on. They’re just not hearing you.

Then you make the decision to take the issue up with the manufacturer and go to the Apple store. Once you arrive, you’re told Sorry, we can’t see you right now. There are no ‘Genius Bar’ appointments available until March of next year. You press, and they relent, saying there’s an appointment available at the “other” Apple Store in town, the one across the city with the super-expensive parking garage. They’ll see you at 9:15pm they say as you mutter under your breath. At least you’re getting your contacts back, right?

Wrong. Your “Apple Genius” is 30 minutes late, still smelling of Chick-fil-a. Fine. Whatever. He looks at your device, tells you It doesn’t turn on, man.

Once you wake up from the stroke you’ve just had, he attempts to plug it in to his diagnostic machine. It’s kind of slow today he says, to which you think sure, why not. It’s not like Apple’s one of the most influential consumer tech companies in the world. After doing his diagnostic test—which may be a quick game of Text Twist he plays to make it appear as if his computer has some magic fixing ability that yours doesn’t—he tells you I just can’t get it to come on. If you want your information off of it, you’ll probably have to take it to a data recovery specialist. They charge, like, 1300 or so for a job like this, but if they’re worth it to you… in the mean time, here’s a new phone.

You whimper, you cry, a new phone is not enough, it’s not enough!

Tired of this “choose-your-own-frustration?”

In November, CircleBack is coming to change everything you know about contacts.