Digital Detox: how I survived being without a smartphone during the holidays

Digital Detox: how I survived being without a smartphone during the holidays

It was December 24, Christmas Eve, and me and my family did, what you usually do on that day, when you have kids: we went to church.

Right after coming back, I was outside on the balcony when it happened: my iPhone 11 suddenly restarted. As this does happen from time to time, I did not put any attention to this and I went back inside to enjoy my family.

Later that night, when all the presents got unwrapped, I quickly wanted to check my phone. I unlocked it and then - bam. Another restart. This is when I realized, something was wrong...

My iPhone kept restarting after being alive for not even one entire minute. So I thought, well, let's charge it up fully and see tomorrow. Unfortunately, on the next day, my phone was still doing the same... After finishing restarting, it worked for about 30 seconds and then it restarted again.

As I had some time, I tried to find out any solution to this via Google. Interestingly, there was one post that describing how to get to the analytics reports. After four or five restarts, I was able to upload the kernel panic report to my OneDrive. Luckily, wireless internet did work and I was able to see the report on my PC.

"Bugtype: 210"

I opened the .ips-file with my favorite code editor: Visual Studio Code and looked at the report. It says "bugtype: 210" in the first line.

After some other searches on Google, I had more clarity: Apparently, something on the iPhone's logic board was broken.

If you continue to look, you will understand the entire issue, which I will share with you:

The iPhone has a built-in thermo-sensor, which is watching the temperature. In case of coldness or heat, the device will shut down in order to protect itself.

However, if this sensor is broken and does not provide any data, the device is designed to restart à la "have you tried turning it off and on again?",

Bad thing is, this loop keeps going on forever and ever...

Panic full error in iphone x - Apple Community

So, it was December 25, phone was dead, I am finally free!

As this iPhone was a company phone, I immediately sent an email to our lovely IT-Service department, and got feedback instantaneously - "Thanks for your email. We are back on January 4..."

This was the time, when I realized, I will be without a phone for quite some time.

Here in Europe, there is this new trend to only allow bank-transactions when you authenticate with a second device and guess what: this second factor was my phone. I am a friend of keeping things simple, so I refactored everything into this device. I even got my personal number to work with Apple's eSim feature, which really is making your life a lot easier, because you only have to have one device - nice!

Only problem is, when this thing breaks, you are, well, screwed...

I was not able to communicate via WhatsApp, not able to keep my Insta alive, and worse, I was not able to do any banking transaction - for a very long time.

Usually, you send out some greetings on WhatsApp for Christmas and New Years, but not from me this year...

In the next year, I finally got contacted by my Mobile-team and they very quickly replaced my broken phone. It was 10 months old...

Now, if you do regular backups into iCloud, restoring your phone is actually very easy and you don't have to worry. All apps, settings and even pictures will be restored. However, when you then want to do banking again, you can't, as at least a SMS needs to be sent to you to authenticate.

For this, I contacted my carrier and chatted to their bot. "You can get your new eSim profile in the portal here", the bot replied. But when you try to access this portal, you have to authenticate with a second factor, an SMS. Hooray.

So I ended up chatting to a real person and the result was, I got sent a new eSim profile (which is just a QR code) via Snail Mail. YES SNAIL MAIL in 2021...

Anyway, that enabled me to finally got back to WhatsApp and re-enroll all my banking apps. Puuh!

Actually, it was not bad!

Afterall, I have to admit, I really enjoyed my time without the urgent need to look at my phone all the time. For sure, it was quite irritating at the beginning, when you know, you cannot to banking easily, but in the end, I think I might do this again on purpose. Maybe, I'll choose another date, as during the Christmas break, communication usually peaks.

My other thinking is, would it make sense to have another phone, just in case?

I heard from a colleague in security, there are people setting up an exact mirror of their main-phone and lock it physically somewhere. This made me think, if I should do this, too.

My current thinking is, however, this would be my simplicity-mission. Having to devices means more complexity and I would have the problem of not having my personal number on my work-phone. Sure, you could do multi-sim with the second device, but with my plan, of course, this is not possible and would cost me 40€/m only to do multi-sim. Plus the amount for the second device, the calculation quickly comes to this:

Change carrier plan: from 5€/m to 40€/m => from 60€/y to 480€/y

Device: from 0 to at least additional 200€ => minimum of 680€/y

With all this, I came to the conclusion to have some time off being digitally available actually is priceless! And, on another note, during that time, Bitcoin really increased in value and I was not able sell mine unintentionally :) So, please be aware, there might be times during the year, you won't be able to reach me.