Deal with doomed devices by learning to tech the hit

19th May 2017 at 00:00
Wasting half a day is one way to realise the futility of vainly hoping the tech experts are mistaken

It was the Monday of the second week of the Easter holidays that it happened. When I woke up, everything had changed: my iPhone, which had been charging overnight, got stuck in something called Recovery Mode. The screen was blank and I was instructed to go to the support website.

Before panicking, I took the advice that I’ve dished out more times than I care to remember: if in doubt, turn it off and on again...nope, nothing.

To cut a long story short, I spent the best part of the next six hours trawling forums for advice, speaking to an advisor on online chat and downloading new multiple gigabyte updates – in the end, I had to restore my phone to factory settings and, because I’d been a little lax on the backing-up front, lost pretty much everything.

What really got me is that I could’ve just accepted that outcome six hours earlier. But I had persevered, against all odds, all advice and everything I found online, clinging onto a shred of misguided, deluded hope that my phone would come good. I had lost almost a day, too – double frustration.

It made me think: sometimes in schools we just have to give up on tech that isn’t quite working to save time, sanity and sometimes money.

Here are the possible warning signs:

1 You’ve done the research, googled the hell out of whatever issue you’re trying to solve and can’t come across one single success story or piece of guidance to follow. Around 3.6 billion people use the internet, so if nobody has really found the answer, then chances are you won’t either.

2 You keep encountering the same problem – perhaps a piece of software keeps failing in the same way or a device just keeps needing repairing. My dad is a classic one for this. He will not accept that sometimes a piece of tech has had its day. Admirable or misguided? It’s a fine line!

3 An expert says you’ve reached the end with a faulty device or that the software just can’t do what you need it to do. I really did not want to listen to the support advisor when they told me I needed to restore my phone, but deep down I knew they were right.

4 Even when it’s working fine, you don’t use the device or software that much. Neither do your colleagues. If you find yourself saying it should make tasks easier, yet nobody is using it, then sometimes you have to face up to that.

5 Your time is spent fixing, tweaking or setting up tech, rather than using it.

6 You can do without it, actually.

Just like me sitting there with my unresponsive phone, it can be really hard to call it quits when you put so many hours into fixing a problem with a piece of tech or launching it. It feels like it goes against problem-solving, but sometimes, with tech, you have to face up to reality and let it go.

Claire Lotriet is an assistant headteacher at Henwick Primary School in London. She tweets @OhLottie and blogs at


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