Wednesday, 23 June 2010

You're more than just a number...

Edited and updated September 2012

I've just seen another heartfelt cri de coeur on Facebook: "please everybody contact me with your mobile numbers, I've lost my phone!" I see it so frequently, and every time I think: save yourself worry, trouble and time: back it up!

It isn't always easy with a mobile, though. I'm not going to start chatting about backups for your computer data here - that's for another posting; but mobile phones are so small, and vulnerable, and easily lost or broken.

So how to do it? Well, there are various ways, depending on the sort of arrangement that you have with your mobile phone company: do you use the internet on your mobile phone?


If you're one of the increasing number that use your mobile for internet browsing and viewing your emails, it's actually very easy to use an OTA (Over The Air) backup service. Here are a few suggestions.

GoogleMail: not only your phone numbers, but your whole address book. This is my solution of choice: I keep my master address book on GoogleMail, set it to synchronise automatically with my iPhone, and the whole lot are then available in both places.
Mobyko: will back up not only addresses and the rest from your mobile, but also videos, photos and text. A simple interface allows you to edit on your computer and then sync from computer to phone. Please note that this is not a free service: it's presently £24.99 per year. However, £2 per month isn't a lot to pay for peace of mind.
Soocial: synch & share your contacts Presently $4.99 (around £3) per month.
iCloud: if you're an iPhone / iPad / Mac user you've probably already met this option. So, so easy to do.

No internet
You're probably a PAYG user; you wouldn't dream of using your mobile to pick up emails; you need the phone to make and receive calls, and nothing else. Online backup, therefore, isn't for you.

If you're a Nokia user, they have their own software (Nokia PC Suite) that allows you to synchronise your phone with a variety of PC software, including Microsoft Outlook. Until I started using mobile internet, I used this for many years and it worked like a dream. I kept my address file up to date on the PC, and periodically connected the phone to the PC for synchronisation - all done.

NB: This technique also has the advantage that you can use the PC-based address book for many other purposes (labels for Christmas cards, anyone? Mailmerge? Inserting addresses straight into Word documents?). It might be a big investment of time to get it set up, but believe me, it pays for itself - time after time. [I haven't used any mobiles myself other than Nokia and the iPhone, but a quick Google shows me that Samsung - for example - have an equivalent PC Studio Suite; it's worth checking whether your phone is able to use something similar.]

Finally, if you can't face the thought of a complete computer-based address book but still need those mobile numbers backed up, there are still a few SIM card readers on the market - little gizmos that will accept your SIM, plug into the PC via a USB port, and allow you to copy over the data. It will often come as part of a device that can read other sorts of data cards, too - such as the SD cards used in digital cameras, for example - and they tend to be fairly cost-efficient. Check out IWOOT, Amazon or Maplin.


Does this sound like a good idea - but you find the technology a bit scary, or the time short, or your keyboard skills need a bit of help? Contact me today and we'll get it sorted - and you'll never lose another phone number ever again!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Cassie, I think I backup my phone every 24hours via Blackberry software on my phone, though where the information goes to I've no idea...and whether it kept everything for me to retrieve later, I can find when I get my handset back. Until then I'm using an older model, loaned, and of course people don't sign their texts with who they are...they assume I know who is texting me :)
    Andie x