Print 58 comment(s) - last by Ammohunt.. on Dec 29 at 3:42 PM

"15 years worth of contacts" were also lost

For Deric White, a 68-year old resident of the Pimlico neigborhood of central London, UK, it seemed the world was his oyster.  An old age pensioner (OAP) he was enjoying the freedom of retirement and had just gotten married.  He and his bride had journeyed on a picturesque pleasure trip to the Seychelles archipelago for their honeymoon.  But when he returned home to foggy London his happiness quickly gave way to what he recounts to be a literal sob story.  

According to the The Sun -- a UK newspaper -- the man's sad turn began when he "got texts saying there was a fault on his" Apple, Inc. (AAPL) iPhone 5.  It is unclear exactly what these text were as clearly Apple's phones do not typically self-diagnose internal errors via text messages.  Perhaps it was some sort of scareware or advertising scam -- or even someone playing a prank on him.  Or maybe he misunderstood some sort of network service message?

Deric White sad
Deric White's honeymoon was ruined by a tech glitch. [Image Source: Gary Stone/The Sun]

Whatever the story behind the texts might have been the real trouble by his accounting began when he took his device for service at the local Apple Store on Regent Street.  Greeted by the Apple "Geniuses" and service workers, they reportedly took his device and began to troubleshoot it.

Apple Regent Street store
Apple Store on Regent Street in London, UK

They soon returned it to him.  He recalls they said that the problem had been "sorted".  But then came a more troubling question.  He recounts:

It was only after staff fiddled around they asked if I'd backed my things up.

He had not.  And it turns out they had been asking that because the device had required a wipe (it's not clear why).  He quickly and bitterly realized that all his mobile data had been lost including both his honeymoon photos and a contacts list he had been painstakingly porting for the past "15 years".  He bemoans that his wife was literally reduced to tears:

My life was saved on that phone. I lost my favourite video of a giant tortoise biting my hand on honeymoon in the Seychelles.  My wife was in tears and I started crying when I realised what had gone.

He's sued Apple in the UK equivalent of small claims court, asking for UK£5,000 (~US$7,525/EUR€7,115) in compensation.  He says the company's "Genius" staff "wiped away his life."  The case is being heard at the Central London Country Court with a hearing reportedly scheduled for today.

Central London Country Courthouse
The Country Courthouse of Central London is hearing the case. [Image Source: Glenn Copus/DailyMail UK]

Apple reportedly has filed preliminary legal paperwork denying wrongdoing.  It recounts:

The claimant has not demonstrated how he suffered any loss.

I think that claim is a bit misleading (unless his filing was poorly formed).  But it's also not clear exactly how much fault lies with Apple in this sad mess.  First off, there's the issue of the texts.  What were they?  And why did Apple employees respond to them by wiping his device?

Either he stumbled across some little-known peculiar Apple error checking system or maybe his device was infected by some manner of malware.  Those are the only two logical explanations to come to mind, at least.  The circumstances surrounding the wipe would certainly influence his culpability.

I can sort of sympathize because I've had my own device issue that nearly scuttled one of my recent Android smartphones.  My data loss wouldn't have been severe, but I might have lost up to a month of pictures as I had been mildly negligent about backups at the time.

Overall these kinds of cases are cautionary reminders to use the cloud backup services that Google, Inc. (GOOG), Apple, and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) provide.  And it's also smart to do regular local backups as well.  After all, cloud storage accounts can occasionally suffer compromise or other forms of data loss.


Hopefully Apple gives the man something.  Clearly it doesn't want to be handing out seven grand to every Joe and Jane who brings in a troubled iPhone and isn't happy with how the service goes.  But this is sort of a peculiar incident and certainly an emotional one.  For a company who has traditionally evaded tens of billions of dollars in taxes just next door in Ireland is it really so much to ask to help one old man?

Deric White tears
White and his wife were literally in tears. [Image Source: Gary Stone/The Sun]

White says he'd use the money to take a second honeymoon trip -- and take new pictures.  If Apple fights him in court it will certainly look petty regardless if it's in the right.   But if it gives him his trip perhaps it can spin this sad story of data loss into not only a cautionary tale but a spot of good publicity as well.

Source: The Sun

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By p05esto on 11/30/15, Rating: 0
RE: apple
By inperfectdarkness on 12/1/2015 11:13:46 AM , Rating: 1
This. The consumers Apple attracts are on the more tech-illiterate end of the spectrum. This means a failure to understand basic tech concepts like not opening emails from Nigerian princes or having backups of data.

Furthermore, if you really want to have keepsake photos of your honeymoon, a point & shoot digital camera should be a 1st choice. No worries about your phone battery dying, higher resolution pics (with a better zoom) and no fears that your other apps or whatnot will scuttle your keepsakes. Might sound cliché, but since you can get such high quality point & shoot cameras for <$150, it's literally a no-brainer. Plus, you don't look like a selfie-stick retard.

RE: apple
By Apone on 12/1/2015 1:59:58 PM , Rating: 1
@ inperfectdarkness

Agreed and I find it funny how they're tech-illiterate...unless it's an Apple product. Then all of a sudden they're experts. They clown Android users who apparently preach about hardware (bigger screen, faster CPU/GPU, etc.) but then turn around and do the same thing when Apple says it's important (introduces a bigger iPhone screen, faster A9X chip, etc.). Pot meet kettle!

RE: apple
By AdamAnon on 12/4/2015 6:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
There is so much stupid in the above posts that I won't even bother commenting.

RE: apple
By bug77 on 12/2/2015 4:31:41 AM , Rating: 2
This. The consumers Apple attracts are on the more tech-illiterate end of the spectrum.

There's nothing wrong in catering to this crowd. They're a market segment just like everybody else.

What's mind boggling is that this guy has been hoarding contacts for 15 years, transferred them to his iPhone at some point (because 15 years ago there were no iPhones), but somehow managed to never actually write them down anywhere. It wouldn't be an up-to-date contact list, but still better than no contact list at all.

RE: apple
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/2/2015 10:33:37 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed that there are all kinds that need to use technology. For those what matters is that something works without needing a 500-page manual or a computer science degree to use it effectively. This is the crowd that Apple caters to. Is it any wonder they are making money hand over fist? There are far more technical underachievers in the world than technical wizards. The tech savvy sorts gravitate to Android. For those who are not there is the artsy-fartsy glitzy world of Apple. There's plenty of room in the world for both types.

RE: apple
By Alexstarfire on 12/3/2015 1:17:25 PM , Rating: 3
It's not Apple's fault? Based on the article it sounds like the Apple "Geniuses" are directly responsible for losing the data. They wiped his phone without getting his permission, presumably. Yes, he should have backed up. However, these "Geniuses" should have backed it up as well. What kind of place does a wipe without performing a backup or getting permission that it's not necessary? If anything happened you'd at least have something to go back to, even if it isn't perfect.

RE: apple
By Piiman on 12/5/2015 8:30:37 AM , Rating: 2
he had a contact list that took him 15 years to amass, hard to believe he doesn't have it backed up someplace since the iPhone isn't even 15 years old.

RE: apple
By mavricxx on 12/8/2015 2:52:11 PM , Rating: 3
You shouldn't criticize dude, he is an older gentleman already, that's not his fault. Yes, I agree with everyone that the Apple "experts" should have done more but again this is why I love my Note 4, I have external memory and I don't worry about this sort of thing.

Best wishes
By tonyswash on 12/23/2015 12:47:29 PM , Rating: 3
Looks like the Daily Tech may be dead. That's a bit sad. I will miss it, including missing my interactions with those of opposing opinions, because a world without opposing ideas would be a dull place indeed.

Best wishes to everyone and have a very merry Christmas.

RE: Best wishes
By StormyKnight on 12/23/2015 10:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
Merry Christmas to you as well, Tony.

RE: Best wishes
By Labotomizer on 12/28/2015 6:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
It was a good daytime distraction for years when stuck on a boring conference call. I say I got my money's worth!

Merry Christmas and Happy 2016 Tony and everyone else. Maybe we'll randomly dislike each other on another comment section someday.

RE: Best wishes
By Motoman on 12/29/2015 10:13:43 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe we'll randomly dislike each other on another comment section someday.

Screw you guys.

RE: Best wishes
By Ammohunt on 12/29/2015 3:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
I have been gone awhile looks like Jason single handedly burned it to the ground....thats too bad.

By Motoman on 12/21/2015 11:10:29 AM , Rating: 2
...been 3 weeks since an article of any kind was posted here. And over a year since there was a blog post.

How dead is this place, anyway? If it's over, just turn the lights off and lock the door.

RE: So...
By eBob on 12/21/2015 3:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
That would be my guess at this point. Even before, new content has been sporadic at best for a site called "DailyTech".

RE: So...
By StormyKnight on 12/21/2015 8:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone think Jason got a new job and didn't tell anyone?

RE: So...
By NellyFromMA on 12/24/2015 12:33:18 PM , Rating: 2
Nah, I say leave it. I get immense joy out of coming here out of boredom once every six months or so to see if the site has changed or still posts the worst content ever, just to find its all but faded into obscurity. It's like the perfect example of free markets and natural selection sorting out the winners and losers.

Gotta love it!

By Dorkyman on 11/30/2015 1:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure he signed something along the way that will keep him from collecting.

Life is tough. Back up stuff. This is digital media, not strips of film.

RE: Tough
By Camikazi on 12/4/2015 10:08:37 PM , Rating: 2
Update, he won, Apple decided not to settle out of court and ended up paying when the court decided in his favor AND he represented himself.

15 years of iPhone
By drycrust3 on 12/1/2015 11:22:45 AM , Rating: 2
I'm wondering how he can have 15 years of contacts on an iPhone. The first generation iPhone was launched in 2007, so while he could well have an extra 8 years of contacts on it, he doesn't have 15 years of contacts on it.
He uses an iPhone 5, which was released in 2012, so at the most he'd have an extra 3 years of contacts on it. Since the contact list is 15 years old, why doesn't he do a "roll back" and get the 12 year old list off his previous smartphone?
While it is frustrating to loose 3 years of contacts and contact updates, and all the recent text messages, app installations, and such like, the fact is there is something called "Personal Responsibility", and keeping backups is one of them. Transferring all your personal data to your backup phone before you send your best one off for repair is another.

RE: 15 years of iPhone
By Camikazi on 12/4/2015 10:09:33 PM , Rating: 2
You do know that phone stores have been able to transfer contacts from phone to phone for many, many years before the iPhone came out right?

Backup your data
By Argon18 on 12/2/2015 6:50:05 PM , Rating: 2
If your data has any value whatsoever, you back it up .

I understand how your average consumer may not be familiar with the concept. The hardware and software vendors marketing to consumers however, do a truly piss poor job of communicating this important concept.

This is not a concern unique to Apple, although it sounds like the actions of this particular "Genius" employee certainly are.

RE: Backup your data
By merc898 on 12/18/2015 10:08:22 AM , Rating: 2
Argon18 -- I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on some of your past posts. Can we talk offline? If so, email me at Thanks, M

By GTVic on 12/13/2015 9:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
Last Post Nov 30.

RE: MonthlyTech
By StormyKnight on 12/16/2015 10:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, the Daily Mick is turning into the Monthly Mick. DT is on its way out...

Do you need a subject in the comment?
By Yorgos on 11/30/2015 12:26:05 PM , Rating: 2
You get what you pay for.

I don't blame him.
By MrBlastman on 11/30/2015 12:36:49 PM , Rating: 2
My wife's Macbook decided to wipe her whole photo album one day. BAM! It was gone. She used the default macbook photo stuff. It was a nightmare.

And our Android tablet is still a sitting brick. That reminds me... I should email them. I've refused to wipe it just to use it again due to Google's stupid policy of not having a backdoor on nexus tablet devices.

The real story
By scbundy on 11/30/2015 3:02:04 PM , Rating: 2
The real story here is this man's outfit. My hat off to you, sir.

By DukeN on 12/2/2015 11:05:24 AM , Rating: 2
This is a perfect meme picture

apples fault
By SPOOOK on 12/4/2015 12:20:27 AM , Rating: 2
this is apples fault the tech should have fix it not do what anyone can do simply wipe it and start over that's not fixing it apple workers don't know anything a real tech fixes whats wrong finding out what app causes the problem not doing a simply wipe that's is not a fix

"My life was saved on that phone."
By enlil242 on 12/5/2015 2:16:15 PM , Rating: 2
That was his mistake right there... Sorry pal. Back your sh*t up.

By vcolon on 12/15/2015 1:16:33 AM , Rating: 2
If the Benny Hill show was still around, they could make a really funny skit from this situation.

By marvdmartian on 12/21/2015 7:28:11 AM , Rating: 2
...and nothing new in the meantime?

Guess we can stick a fork in Dailytech, cuz it's done!

Been fun while it lasted, though.

Uh, no.
By CZroe on 12/21/2015 10:29:51 AM , Rating: 2
"Either he stumbled across some little-known peculiar Apple error checking system or maybe his device was infected by some manner of malware."

There are at least two other options anyone with a brain would assume before jumping to that conclusion:
-It was a random phishing scam text from a scammer armed with nothing more than his phone number.
-It was an iMessage notifying him of a problem with his iCloud account and not something that checks for errors on his phone.

It does appear that his pictures were not recoverable through iCloud.

By kamk44 on 11/30/2015 12:25:06 PM , Rating: 1
Looks like the Apple employees had an oh shit moment. When I fix a computer the first thing I do is ask if they have what they need backed up and warn them they could lose it (or in the case of a failed drive may have already).

It's about time.
By ndallari on 11/30/15, Rating: -1
RE: It's about time.
By retrospooty on 11/30/2015 1:18:48 PM , Rating: 5
There are so many ways to backup data on any platform... There is no excuse and this guy shouldn't get a cent. Never store anything you feel is important to you on one device. Not a PC, not a Mac, not a mobile device, not even a backup hard drive unless it is the 2nd copy. Anything can die at any time and there is no excuse to not back it up and no-one to blame but yourself if you don't.

RE: It's about time.
By quiksilvr on 11/30/2015 3:01:08 PM , Rating: 2
Wholeheartedly agree. I have physical photos of my wedding/honeymoon as well as online Google Drive backup and offline Google Drive backup as well as a DVD holding everything. You can't be casual with such photos and put all eggs in one basket.

RE: It's about time.
By Mitch101 on 11/30/2015 3:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
200% agree with your 200% because I made a backup of your 100%

This is going to get added as a disclaimer or popup. Its been 2038 days since you backed up your data. Backup Now? Yes/No Clicks No. loses data blames device.

Seems very similar to patches have been pending for the last a year apply patches? No we dont need no stinking patches. No wonder Microsoft just does it now.

RE: It's about time.
By Monkey's Uncle on 11/30/2015 7:11:17 PM , Rating: 2
In the android world contacts are backed up automagically to your google account. If you have google drive or dropbox and are online with wifi or mobile data, you can automatically upload to the cloud as soon as you take pictures. If you are not online you can sync as soon as you get online. You really don't have to explicitly do anything at all if you don't want to.

I am sure the apple world has a behind-the-scenes sync that works much the same way. There really is no excuse for keeping your entire life on your phone. I mean what if it falls into the toilet while you are taking a crap? What would MacGyver do?

RE: It's about time.
By bug77 on 12/2/2015 4:28:07 AM , Rating: 2
In the android world contacts are backed up automagically to your google account.

That would be iOS. On Android the Google contacts are synchronized by default, but you can disable this and sync on demand. You can also create phone contacts, that will be kept on the phone indefinitely.

RE: It's about time.
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/2/2015 10:24:17 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed Google by default syncs your contacts and calendar stuff. It also gives you the option to disable or not use it if you want - something you need to explicitly set up or circumvent because those are NOT the defaults. I doubt this 68 year old guy would be turning off that functionality.

You are also implying that iOS does not give you the flexibility to NOT use their cloud for these things. I would find that hard to believe, but if that is in fact the case, all this guy's contacts and pictures should be sitting right there in the apple cloud. Perhaps all this fellow needs is some training on how to use the apple cloud, eh?

RE: It's about time.
By bug77 on 12/2/2015 11:14:03 AM , Rating: 2
It's possible to have sync turned on, delete all contacts from the device and the next sync will wipe them from the cloud for you (more like mark them as deleted, because things rarely get actually deleted from the cloud). I don't know what happened (nor do I care much), I'm just imagining scenarios.

RE: It's about time.
By Fritzr on 12/3/2015 6:23:15 AM , Rating: 2
Since the Genius told him all was gone, it is unlikely that iOS syncs by default since that would have been the first thing he would tell the customer to check once he realized that he wiped the phone before asking if there was anything the customer wanted to keep.

Customers tend to expect to be asked if destroying all data and photos is okay before the nice technician permanently deletes everything. Even the tech savvy customers tend to assume that service techs will ask for permission before doing anything that will permanently destroy data.

Whether this customer gets any kind of settlement, it is likely that Apple Geniuses will now have "ask the customer for permission to destroy data" added to their repair checklist.

RE: It's about time.
By retrospooty on 12/3/2015 10:25:00 AM , Rating: 2
Its been a while since I did a new setup or hard reset on IOS, but I am 99% sure part of the initial setup asks you how you would like to sync. Clearly this dingy guy chose the "skip it" option.

RE: It's about time.
By Monkey's Uncle on 11/30/2015 6:56:59 PM , Rating: 2
The other side of this coin is that the Apple "genius" that was diagnosing his problem should have contacted the guy if there was a need to wipe the phone before taking it upon themselves to go ahead and wipe it without his permission.

At least that guy would have had the warning to back up his stuff before they went ahead and did anything destructive to it.

The other side of it is that I have wiped my Android phone a dozen times without losing anything. Contacts and pictures are stored in the cloud (which syncs anytime I turn on my wifi or LTE) as well as on my external sdcard (oops! iphones don't have external sdcards - my bad). I have yet to wipe my phone and lose anything that is on that external sdcard.

this guy should have been storing his contacts and pictures outside of his phone - possibly to a cloud. I can only see that this guy is 68 and I doubt he trusts clouds to protect his privacy.

RE: It's about time.
By retrospooty on 12/3/2015 10:35:08 AM , Rating: 2
"the Apple "genius" that was diagnosing his problem should have contacted the guy if there was a need to wipe the phone"

Absolutely, it was a big mistake but that is human error. That is exactly why you have everything important backed up, so that you, your family, or some other "human" doesn't accidentally cause a problem.

RE: It's about time.
By tamalero on 12/5/2015 12:43:09 AM , Rating: 2

finally someone puts some sense in this madness.

RE: It's about time.
By Motoman on 11/30/2015 9:04:43 PM , Rating: 2

Sure, the guy should have had backups of his stuff. Online or otherwise.

But there's no excuse for the Apple Geniutards wiping his phone without consent, or even notifying him they were going to do so. I can't imagine any tech professional of any kind wiping someone's device withought explicitly getting permission to do so. And perhaps having to explain what the ramification of doing that would losing whatever data was on there.

The Macdooshes were negligent with his device, and remiss in their duties. They should pay - especially granted that he's asking for so little money. Apple would be stupid not to just pay him off.

RE: It's about time.
By Totally on 11/30/2015 10:58:36 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't matter whether he had back ups or not. The issue is they wiped his device without consent then asked in hindsight if he backed up his data. Some you take your car to the shop they check things out then tell you what's wrong and what needs to be fixed and then of that what work do you want to be performed. Not just fix everything and then hand you a bill for 12000. A a doctor shooting you up with penicillin, then checking to see you if you are allergic or not. Spin it how you want those "geniuses" messed up hence why they defense is claiming "he didn't lose anything.'"

RE: It's about time.
By Grimer21 on 12/4/2015 4:49:35 PM , Rating: 2
Anything can die at any time and there is no excuse to not back it up and no-one to blame but yourself if you don't.

How can I backup a life? I, or someone I know, could die at any time and damn it, I want existential backups!

RE: It's about time.
By tamalero on 12/5/2015 12:41:40 AM , Rating: 2
the issue here is not backup or not.
The fact that these "techs" of apple just wiped his phone without making a backup or asking BEFORE.

Anyone who is in the IT industry, always asks if the client has backups before any big change and then perform one.
Wiping the phone without asking is outright stupidity.

RE: It's about time.
By Piiman on 12/5/2015 8:37:01 AM , Rating: 2
" There is no excuse and this guy shouldn't get a cent."

It doesn't matter the fact that the Apple store deleted it without backing it up or asking about it first is the problem.

They're the "genesis's" They should have known and should have done it for him.

RE: It's about time.
By Nortel on 11/30/2015 3:20:02 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone who has been to the Apple store for issues with an iPhone knows the employees are trained to always ask if the user has backed up their data BEFORE doing anything. ADDITIONALLY, the employee always has the user wipe the data following multiple prompts before finally resetting the device. The phone asks for multiple passwords along this process which only the user can enter in so this was not a case of a rogue employee accidentally wiping the entire phone.

RE: It's about time.
By Gondor on 11/30/2015 3:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
Not true.

RE: It's about time.
By Monkey's Uncle on 11/30/2015 7:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. If that "Genius" had in fact not obtained that user's express permission to erase his personal data, he is 100% liable. He has to provide proof that the user did give him that permission.

RE: It's about time.
By Manch on 12/2/2015 5:49:39 AM , Rating: 2
What was so bad about this post that it got downrated to zero?

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