When Technology Sucks, Big Time

Lily A King
4 min readMay 18, 2017

Okay, so maybe there was a bit of user error involved…

I love technology. I’ve worked in the tech industry for well over a decade. But still, there are some days when I can’t even…

Every night, I fall asleep listening to an audiobook. I put my earbuds in, set the sleep timer for 30 or 60 minutes, depending how tired I am, and let myself drift off as someone with a delightfully soothing voice reads me a story.

It’s a routine that has all but cured my chronic insomnia.

I had a bit of a technological crisis last night, though. Earlier in the day, my better half and I were texting back and forth and she sent me a Bitmoji. I use an Android phone, so I had to switch to the Bitmoji keyboard to send one back. It was probably only the sixth Bitmoji I’ve ever used.

That was the end of the conversation. I put my phone aside and forgot about it, meaning the Bitmoji keyboard remained active.

Yes, that’s me.

Many hours later, I crawled into bed, stuck my earbuds in, and tried to unlock my phone to start my Audible app. Only I couldn’t unlock it. That stupid, goddamned Bitmoji keyboard was still activated and it’s not compatible with the lock screen on my Android.

That meant I had no way of entering my passcode.

I tried restarting the phone. No joy. I thought maybe if I turned it off completely it might reset the keyboard, but to do that, it wanted me to enter my passcode first. Aarrrggghhhh!!!

My better half, meanwhile, found something through Google that suggested taking the battery out and putting it back in would solve the problem. I was skeptical — take the battery out while it’s powered on? But she said the instructions specifically said to make sure the phone was on.

I’ve only had this phone since last September and have never needed to open the back of it. I could find no obvious way to do it. I found the box and what little ‘User Guide’ there was but it included nothing about removing the battery.

So I grabbed my iPad and started searching online. Everything I found was excessively complicated — everything from applying heat — (seriously?) — and using a suction cup to dismantling the entire thing, right down to removing the circuit board. All of it sounded like a sure-fire recipe for destroying my phone and voiding the warranty, so I went straight to the manufacturer:

“To remove or replace the battery, please contact your service provider or an authorized repair agent.”

Now what the hell do I do? I was becoming more and more certain that my only option was going to involve some drastic measure to restore the factory settings, resulting in the loss of everything on this phone — which includes everything transferred from my previous, now-recycled phone. Not a pleasant thought.

Back to trusty Google. I searched for, “Bitmoji keyboard won’t let me unlock my Android phone,” and on the third page of results, I found this nugget of wisdom in response to someone with the same problem:

“Safe mode allows you to turn on the device with third-party apps disabled. Then you can easily unistall apps that may be causing a conflict or software problem.

1. Turn the device off.”

Ummm, hello??? We’ve been through this already. I can’t turn the bloody thing off without being able to enter my passcode. And if I could do that, I wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place. Son of a…

But as screwy as it is, that piece of advice actually did end up helping me. Pressing and holding the power button presents me with three options:

  • Power Off
  • Restart
  • Emergency Mode

Could ‘Emergency Mode’ be the same thing as ‘Safe Mode’? Thinking I had nothing to lose, I tried it.

After accepting a whole whack of terms and conditions and acknowledging a bunch of dire warnings, I was presented with a pared down lock screen with a no-frills keyboard to enter my passcode.


I unlocked the phone and immediately uninstalled Bitmoji. Fully and completely. Then I disabled Emergency Mode and went into my text messages, to make sure the Bitmoji keyboard was gone. It was.

Whew. Crisis averted.

At least for now.



Lily A King

Writer, technology geek, bookworm, queer, feminist, traveler, lover of cocktail lounges and dive bars. She/her. ✈️🍸