Last year, my child accidentally did a factory reset on my phone. And he wiped the micro SD card clean too. At first I was furious. He should know better than to mess with Mommy’s phone, right? But then I took a breather. He was only three, after all. He thought the pattern passcode on my lock was a fun new game. And, I obviously neglected to realize that I had the default phone setting “erase all data after 10 failed login attempts” turned on. whoops.
So, as I thought things through, my anger dissipated. In its place, I was left with a keen awareness of just how fleeting electronic data is. Sure, I’ve tested and reviewed data recovery software before, but I’ve never had an actual loss. It’s not the end of the world. These weren’t wedding photos, or birth photos. I know enough to download photos to my regularly. So all that was lost? This past month’s cell phone photos and videos. But they were still memories that mattered. Memories of Toby being brave at the hospital when he got his x-rays, a video of him getting his cast put on.
Thankfully I don’t have to report to a client that I’ve lost their photos. And I pray I’ll never have to do so… my redundant backups should be prevention enough. But I’m still regret the loss.
So I thought I’d take a moment to remind you — please download your phone pictures regularly. Save them to your hard drive, burn them to a disk, put them in the cloud. Do something.
And what should you do if you lose your pictures? Take it as a reminder to do better next time. A reminder to be grateful for the memories you do have.
My attempts at using a photo recovery program were mostly unsuccessful. Out of 3,358 files recovered, only 303 were fully recovered. The rest were partially corrupted. Thankfully I found the manual backup I’d done when switching phones several months ago. So I’m only out 2-3 months’ worth of pictures. Yes, this made me sad. But you know what? My life isn’t defined by the photos I have.. my memories aren’t relegated to pictures. Sure, they capture the memories for me to enjoy later, but I can think back fondly on those memories without photos too.
I’m strangely okay with the fact that these pictures are gone. My life is not defined by the pictures I take of it. My enjoyment of this life is not dependent on the pictures I have captured. Life is more than that.
I’m glad I’ve been documenting and sharing snapshots from our life on social media — snippets of those months are preserved there. And, in the big scheme of things… no one has been hurt by this loss. Maybe an emotional drainage has occurred, but nothing more.