After several days of use, my new iPhone 11 had already developed many scratches on its screen. So against better judgement, I bucked up and trekked to the Americana at Brand on a Sunday, and went to an appointment at the Apple Store, just a week after the company rolled out new iPhones.
Perhaps it was a defective first batch of phones, or perhaps it was just a continuation of the glass in last year’s iPhones. Regardless, I shared good news on Twitter:
To @AppleSupport’s credit, they did the right thing and replaced my iPhone outright in-store. Learned interesting lessons about how hobbled I was without a second Apple device (for 2FA) and my Apple ID password (which was in 1Password). https://t.co/9UTOT4Svh5— Max Siegel (@mrmaxsterr) September 30, 2019
The problem was, I’d wiped my old new iPhone too soon, before I had a chance to set up the new new iPhone that Apple gave me in-store. This led to some sobering insights into to the fragility of our increasingly digital lives, even when adhering to best practices and using a password manager:
With regards to password managers
I do not know most of my accounts’ passwords, including my Apple ID; I only know my Master Password, to unlock 1Password. If you are also in the Apple ecosystem (aka the “walled garden”), this is a problem. The Secret Key, which combines with the Master Password to encrypt or decrypt passwords, gets synced via iCloud Drive. This is a convenient feature, but in order to use it, I needed to know my Apple ID’s password.
Solution: Memorize my Apple ID’s password, which can be accomplished if I use 1Password to create a memorable, word-based password. Print a couple of hard copies of my Secret Key and Apple ID password, and distribute it to friends or family. I could even keep another copy in my wallet.
Good to knows
I hoped I’d be able to find my Apple ID in the 1Password app on my Apple Watch. Perhaps this was a WatchOS bug, or a 1Password bug, but the app only listed a few random, out of date passwords 😞
It isn’t mandatory to sign in with your Apple ID when setting up a new iPhone. I just transferred my SIM card over from my previous phone, which allowed me to use data in the Maps app to guide me home.
If I was to sign in with my Apple ID on the new iPhone, I would have needed to use another Apple device to act as my second factor… which I didn’t have on hand in the Apple Store.
Once I was back home, I was able to easily transfer my Apple ID and Wi-Fi information to my new phone and restore nearly all settings and data from my iCloud backup. It even offered to pair my Watch to the new phone; no need to wipe it and restore from a backup.