iPhone Run Over by a Semi?

For over five years I have been tied into ancient cell phones because I had originally signed up for a no-longer-offered $99 unlimited minutes plan and converting to any current plan would double my monthly bill. When the iPhone debuted, I looked longingly at it as I continued to use my 1950’s-era RAZR. But someone at AT&T heard my cry and friends and family who knew of my woes emailed me from as far as London and Prague saying, “Did you hear AT&T/Cingular is coming out with a new $99 unlimited plan?” Hallelujah, I could finally get a new phone.

I considered the Blackberry Pearl and a few others, but decided on the iPhone. I’d like to say it was all through a logical process (big screen; best web surfing; Wi-Fi enabled; cheaper data plan) and certainly those were a consideration. And it certainly helped that my master-texter brother said the keyboard worked okay and Apple announced both the SDK and ActiveSync integration with Exchange. Of course, in the end, it was just sexy.

The 16GB iPhone arrived last week and I immediately synchronized all my contacts, calendar appointments, photos and a chunk of my music. Then I went rock climbing. And I brought my iPhone. But then I hesitated.

Previously I would keep my phone in my pocket while climbing—they were small, solid, and cheap. Arriving at the climbing gym, though, I wondered whether the larger, pricey, and seemingly fragile iPhone would survive. I looked online a bit and it appears they are pretty solid: Mike Beauchamp claims his iPhone survived having his iPhone run over by a semi and Don’s iPhone works even after the screen cracked.

But as the crew at “Will It Blend?” learned, they’re not indestructible. And neither is the data on them. As John C. Dvorak notes at PC Mag, they get dropped in toilets, left in taxis, and abused in numerous ways not typical for a PC. Dvorak argues the move to smaller devices is ridiculous as people use them as desktop alternatives. He says these devices are easier to steal, easier to break, and are never backed up.

But my iPhone is backed up. Every picture, every song, every contact and calendar appointment. Did I hack the iPhone with some special backup software?

No. But the iPhone is a copy of my real data—which lives on my laptop. And my laptop is backed up. Ironically, with my new iPhone, my data is more, not less, safe than it was in my older mini-bricks. Those phones may not have been as slippery and arguably may have been less likely to break… but ultimately they would… and since they did not sync, the data on them would be gone. Having my iPhone run over by a semi would be $500 of pain, but since my iPhone is backed up, at least I will never need to send the “oops, could everyone please send me your phone numbers again” email.


About Gleb Budman

Gleb Budman is a co-founder and has served as our chief executive officer since 2007, guiding the business from its inception in a Palo Alto apartment to a company serving customers in more than 175 countries with over an exabyte of data under management. Gleb has served as a member of our board of directors since 2009 and as chairperson since January 2021. Prior to Backblaze, Gleb was the senior director of product management at SonicWall and the vice president of products at MailFrontier, which was acquired by SonicWall. Before that, he served in a senior position at Kendara, which was acquired by Excite@Home, and previously founded and successfully exited two other startup companies.