7 smartphone disasters that could happen to you

How to use your smartphone safely

Smartphone horror story No. 4: The case of the disappearing data

For a mobile road warrior, the smartphone is an invaluable weapon. And when that weapon fails, all bets are off.

Tom McClintock knows the feeling. McClintock, a partner with marketing firm NSI Partners, was travelling to meet an important client when the unthinkable occurred: His smartphone, which contained all the files he needed for his meeting, stopped working.

"I'd passed through airport security, and suddenly, the phone died with no explanation," McClintock says. "I realised I'd forgotten to pack my sync cable, too, so I couldn't even connect it to my netbook to try to access the data that way."

McClintock thought fast. He called his assistant and arranged to have her dash to the airport with the cable, figuring he'd find a way to download the files off his phone once he landed. But with the clock ticking and his flight rapidly approaching, things were looking iffier by the minute.

When McClintock's assistant finally arrived, he didn't have time to make it out of the terminal and back through security again. Amazingly, the airline - yes, those same people who scowl when you ask for a second complimentary drink - offered to have an agent grab the cable and bring it to McClintock's gate. He got it moments before his flight started boarding.

The moral: Never rely on a single source for important data, especially when travelling on business. Bring backups - or, better yet, store your files in the cloud - and you'll never have to worry about crashing and burning midway through a journey again.

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