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AppleCare, support, and repair issues

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I’m still in a bit of shock after an Apple Store experience this past weekend.

I made an appointment to have my iPhone 6 battery replaced for $29 before that offer expires at the end of the year. When I sat down at the “genius table” I proceeded to remove my iPhone from its Otterbox Defender case (the Hummer of iPhone cases for those unfamiliar).

As the Apple Store rep sat down next to me the first thing he did was to turn the iPhone on edge and look at it along its axis. “I don’t think we’ll be able to do the battery replacement because your phone is bent”.

I said calmly…”my phone has never been used outside of the Otterbox case and never been placed in a pocket.” When I looked at the phone along its axis I saw no bending whatsoever.

He said he would check with the technician in the back but reasserted his opinion adding that the Otterbox cases were known to do this. What?

I asked him to clarify how a case could bend a phone if the phone was always used in the case and never placed in a pocket. He really wasn’t able to do so, just that the phone was bent and they couldn’t do a battery replacement.

Trying not to be fully obnoxious I asked if I were to pay the full price for the battery replacement ($79?) would they replace the battery. He said “no, the only thing I can do is give you $150 off the $300 for a new iPhone 6”.

I am a fairly assertive guy but I was just floored by “his” position on the matter so I left the store and decided to fight this battle another day (and at another store). I would sincerely appreciate any thoughts fellow MacInTouch readers have to offer. Thanks!

Try Batteries and Bulbs+ or another such store. It will cost you out of pocket, but they will replace your battery without pushback. (Just a happy customer, no other relationship.)
 


Am I reading this correctly? Is it true that one of the 'enhancements' from AppleCare to AppleCare + is that coverage is now global on everything? The old AppleCare applied anywhere for portable devices but coverage for desktop machines was limited to the country of purchase. Has that really changed?
 


Two random thoughts:

2. In my city, a lot of office supply stores and mobile phone repair shops are matching the $29 battery replacement. I also recall reading something here that said Best Buy was matching as well.
One thing to be careful about when using third parties for a battery replacement: If they use a non-Apple battery, Apple will probably never service the phone again.

I replaced a battery in an iPhone 6 via a store-front repair shop before handing it down to another family member. After about a year, the phone was left plugged in for several days, and it caused the battery to bulge and actually bend the screen. I took it into an Apple Store seeking to have both things repaired. The genius said they could repair it, but after they opened it up and saw it had a third-party battery, he brought it back to me and said they are prohibited from working on anything that has a non-Apple battery because they couldn't guarantee the state of the rest of the phone.

I understand Apple's position on this, and I was ultimately able to get the phone repaired at another third-party shop. Just a cautionary tale for anyone who cares about keeping their device in good standing with Apple.
 


If the technician/genius made a note, "bent iPhone", on your device's service record, you might not succeed at the next Apple Store.
Yes, I suspect this might be the case, yet I'm also wondering if Apple-authorized battery replacement centers like some Best Buys. Simply Mac, etc. have access to that data. I will follow-up on this in the next couple of weeks and report back to all.
 


A friend of mine just had a remarkable experience at the genius bar in his local Apple store in Long Island. His wife's iMac would no longer start up, and after trying lots of secret-handshake startup routines, I figured the hard drive was probably dead. She had no backup, but already had an appointment at the genius bar. I told her that if they replaced the drive, to make sure she got her old one back, since we might be able to recover the data.

Well, this is my friend's reply to my email asking how it went: "Failing hard drive. Apple store recovered all the files we wanted and put them on an external drive, took multiple tries and three hours, no charge. New iMac is humming along nicely."

"New iMac" – maybe the techs went out of their way because my friends bought a new machine...
 


Yes, I suspect this might be the case, yet I'm also wondering if Apple-authorized battery replacement centers like some Best Buys. Simply Mac, etc. have access to that data. I will follow-up on this in the next couple of weeks and report back to all.
I have two comments to offer.
  1. Two years ago, I had a similar, bizarre Apple Store genius experience - bizarre, as in, I was dumbfounded by the genius's actions. I wanted to use Apple's safety recall of power charger adapters. I bought an early batch (over 10 years ago) of the world kit, which included only five adapters and lacked any special identifiers. The genius could not identify them, but instead of asking for higher level help, promptly concluded they must be counterfeits. He then treated me with the insinuation that I was trying to cheat him and Apple - over a $30 set of adapters which probably cost < $3 to make.
  2. My friend tried Staples service to replace her iPhone 6 battery. After a week, the battery would not hold a charge, yet Staples would not replace, refund, or offer any remedy. I ended up replacing the battery, but in the process, also noticed that the phone case was replaced improperly. This is only one Staples store experience, but my advice is to seek out an independent Apple dealer if possible.
 


promptly concluded they must be counterfeits. He then treated me with the insinuation that I was trying to cheat him and Apple
That's especially appalling because wasn't the point of that recall program to get non-Apple chargers out of circulation? As I remember, my spouse was able to exchange a no-name charger without any problems at an Apple Store.

The sad thing is that since I am an ex-retailer, stories of horrendous service never surprise me. As in pretty much all public-facing jobs, the weakest link is finding and retaining good people. Even with the attempts in many areas to micro-legislate how businesses treat their front-line workers, the core problem persists: retail jobs rarely attract top-tier people. Further, in my experience, when a star worker does appear, the sales floor gig usually is not their first priority. They are typically empty nesters who want to make some extra cash, university students, or people who need a second job.

My personal strategy for the times I am forced to deal with the Apple Store in person (yes, I hate going in there, too) is to never present a device or machine with non-Apple components or accessories installed. I also try to blame any problems on the company, not store workers, and to get across that I do not think the people I'm talking to are personally responsible for difficulties. The idea is to help Apple Store people want to solve your problem and to not make them feel defensive. Remember, people are yelling at them all day long. So somebody who seems to be calm, confident, and solution focused–even if you're seething inside–truly stands out in a good way.

For fans of the Godfather, you want to be Michael, not Fredo or Sonny.
;-)
 


Battery drain when doing nothing is not normal. I've seen it with an old battery and I've seen it when there's background processing going on (including for a few days after any OS update), but not under normal circumstances with a good battery.

But the fact that you have no SIM card might be affecting this. I know that phones (including iPhones) will draw a lot of power if they can't find a cellular signal. They max-out the gain on their amplifiers in order to search for a signal, and that does consume a lot of your battery. I don't know what the system does when a SIM card is missing, but I'm wondering if you might be in the same situation.

If you have your SIM card removed, I would recommend putting the phone into Airplane mode (you can re-enable Wi-Fi while leaving Airplane mode active), which will disable the cellular radio circuitry. See if that changes anything.
Thank you David Charlap. In airplane mode, 24 hours later it was still at 100%. I turned on wifi and a day after that it was down to 98%. I should be good for a long time if I leave both disabled, which is no hardship.
 


Re: Apple Store repairs with non-standard parts... Aside from making data backups in advance (if possible), be sure you get some form of receipt acknowledging your add-ons before handing over any device to Apple or an Apple-Certified service location.

Things may have changed recently, but last time I brought in a MacBook Pro for service with RAM and SSD upgrades in late 2015, Apple's iPad ticketing system had no way to record these details besides a generic checkbox for non-Apple parts. The tech could not add detailed comments to the ticket.

I had to become forceful about getting something in writing that identified the replaced parts for my client. Without this itemization, there would be no evidence if the service center had swapped in standard parts during the repair for whatever reason.
 


I took in my iPhone 6 Plus (no appointment) to get the battery replaced. It passed their test just fine, but they said they would replace the battery anyway if I wanted to pay the $29 plus tax. The new battery charges to 100% of capacity instead of only 89%.

Something I hadn't looked at before: I leave the phone on but never touch it (no sim card), everything I can find to turn off is off, except Find My Phone, and battery charge drops 5% per day. I doubt anyone reading this never uses their phone, but I wonder if this is normal behavior.
Check Safari. There is a 2-box image on the bottom right. When you select it, all the visited sites will come up. I was draining faster until I learned to do this. I had over a dozen pages that contributed to draining my battery. If I am right, then this should help.
 


Brief story about Apple support. And, of course, it has to do with Apple ID (the most frustrating, incomprehensible thing in the Apple universe). I was trying to straighten out and organize my Apple IDs (turns out, I have 4(!)). And, a couple of them are "legacy" IDs, not email addresses. Also, in one of the legacy accounts I had downloaded a significant amount of software, including several OS updates, so I wanted to be sure to keep that one. After attempting to do the change to a new ID myself, I had things totally hosed. Using the online access to Apple Support, I got a call back in about 1 minute. The fellow from Apple spent more than 45 minutes with me to get everything straightened out. Turns out I had the same "rescue email" tied to three of the accounts and that was the email I was trying to use to verify the legacy account. For all of this Apple didn't charge a dime, didn't flinch when I didn't have the most current software, and didn't ask if I had anything new that was under AppleCare. I must say that for all the times I have cursed Apple for their changes, they do still provide exemplary service in many cases.
 


I can endorse Bruce T's experience [with AppleCare], which I have used on several occasions this year, always polite, always caring and so patient.
 


I had a good (after bad) experience with AppleCare this week.

My MacBook Pro 13 (early 2015) went on the fritz last Monday. I closed the screen, and it never woke up. I restarted numerous times, reset SMC and PRAM, tried to restart in repair mode, etc. After about an hour of tinkering, the machine rebooted into recovery mode. I quit the set up process and resumed working. All seemed to be OK.

The next day, in the middle of surfing the net, the machine locked up -- cursor would not move and keyboard was unresponsive. Tried the solutions from the day before to no avail. So I made an appointment at the Georgetown (DC) store to see a Genius.

I took the machine in, and from the start of the appointment, it was apparent the Genius thought I was full of BS. You see, I had dropped the laptop a few months ago, and came into the store in September to see about a top case replacement. When I heard the price, I balked and figured I could live with a dented corner, especially since the ports all work. I believe that he thought I was trying to scam for a case. I even said explicitly that this was not the case. Anyway, the machine started up in recovery mode, and the Genius ran a few utilities which he claimed "repaired a software issue." The machine rebooted fine, and I was able to surf the web for a few moments before he excused me.

I brought the laptop home, opened it up, and within 3 minutes of use, the screen locked up again. I went to the Apple support website to see if I could bring the laptop back, but the earliest appointment was in two days. So I turned to the phone.

I called AppleCare and spoke to a very nice agent to whom I told the whole story -- and added that I had broken my ankle a few days before, and running to and from the store was not a good option for me. She arranged for a box to ship for pickup and repair. Within a few minutes, I received the FedEx notification that the box was en route.

The next morning (Thursday), when the box arrived, I had the FedEx guy wait for me to take the box back. Friday morning, I received a FedEx and Apple email that the unit was received and in repair. By 7:00pm that evening, the machine was out of repair and already prepared for shipping back. Saturday morning at 12:05 (a few minutes late), my MacBook Pro was back in my hands -- with a new screen unit, and re-installed 10.12.4 Sierra. All in about 48 hours.

Lesson learned -- next hardware issue goes straight to the repair depot (where the Georgetown store would have sent it, anyway).
 


I will also echo Bruce T's comments about Apple phone support.

A few years back, a friend upgraded OS X 10.7 to 10.9 and lost access to their iPhoto library, as the old app was no longer compatible. Mac App Store gave the usual roadblocks. Went through a dance with a helpful Apple support agent via phone and remote access. The installer had to be downloaded by someone else's Apple ID on another Mac, then transferred. The tech spent a bit of time and was clearly "owning" the case until it was resolved.

Side note: I have never agreed with this Apple ID lockout for the media apps that come bundled with Apple devices (iPhoto, iMovie, etc.) The computer costs quite a bit up front, then the OS upgrades are free but the media apps are frequently blockedm if you did not upgrade to each and every iteration that Apple released. (To be clear, I am not talking about Aperture or Final Cut Pro.)
 


Last July, my iPad Pro 10.5" developed a persistent bright blob in the bottom center of the screen. I made an appointment at the local Apple Store. The wait time was short. The Genius glanced at the screen and arranged for a replacement. I had to return the following day to pick it up. So far, so good, but I couldn't activate my T-Mobile data plan on the new device. Several long, tedious calls to T-Mobile and Apple followed. Apple dragged me through all the trouble-shooting steps I had already tried. Back to T-Mobile, who said the problem was definitely with Apple and transferred me directly to Apple. This time, a senior tech found that my replacement device serial number had not been updated in Apple's system, so T-Mobile did not recognize it as mine. The tech contacted somebody else in Apple to get that done, and soon after, I had my data plan back. There's no way to know how or where the original oversight took place.
 


I must have missed this some time back, but I had used an RSS feed to update a site with Apple's Software Updates. Well, Apple had dropped a lot of RSS feeds. Now, Apple mostly only offers iTunes RSS feeds or news....
 


Motherboard said:
Internal Documents Show Apple Is Capable of Implementing Right to Repair Legislation
According to the presentation, titled “Apple Genuine Parts Repair” and dated April 2018, the company has begun to give some repair companies access to Apple diagnostic software, a wide variety of genuine Apple repair parts, repair training, and notably places no restrictions on the types of repairs that independent companies are allowed to do. The presentation notes that repair companies can “keep doing what you’re doing, with … Apple genuine parts, reliable parts supply, and Apple process and training.”
 



Apple tells customers it can't recover data from their phones and then bans repair shops that can and do for saying so in Apple Discussions. I guess this is part of Apple's "service" business....
Enjoyed the video, so checked out the repair service: iPad Rehab in NY. Looks good; I like their attitude. Went to their YouTube channel, found a follow-up to the CBC program in progress live, now listed on their channel:
with live, real-time video of Jessa Jones' posts at Apple Discussions being deleted within minutes (and the scolding email she gets from Apple for her scrapbook).

Why? I note iPad Rehab's price list says, "Water damaged phones are taken in for Data Recovery only", which suggests that they aren't usually repairable back to usability – so it isn't like Apple will lose a sale of a new iPhone if the user manages to get their data back. And of course, the question: If a part-time home shop in a small town in New York can recover data off 95% of damaged iPhones, why can't Apple? Doesn't compute.

As she says, it's kind of heartbreaking to see all these trusting people being misled by Apple – and losing their precious photos. Cui bono, anyway?

And here's the original CBC piece on iPad Rehab's channel:
 


Apple tells customers it can't recover data from their phones and then bans repair shops that can and do for saying so in Apple Discussions. I guess this is part of Apple's "service" business....
I was an Apple service specialist in their retail channel back in the 1980's when Apple was truly a great company. Their philosophy has changed... and not for the better! Apple would bend over backwards to keep customers happy back in the old days, but now in the post-Steve Jobs era, it seems they're only concerned with the bottom dollar and [those people] who go blindly buying new products as Apple claims devices are unfixable or data is unrecoverable.

I'm an avid viewer of both Jessa / iPadRehab and Louis Rossmann's YouTube channels. Granted, most of us aren't going to have the ability to do component-level repairs on our own phones, but they prove most every day that data can be recovered, or abused laptops can be salvaged, in spite of what Apple and their so-called "genius" staff claim. Apple's anti-consumer stance has me writing people every day requesting that right-to-repair become a law in all 50 states! It's also the reason I'm milking the hell out of an iPhone 6s and refuse to buy another phone until I absolutely need to. (I only left my iPhone 5 behind as I was gifted the 6s.)

Apple's continued ploy of outright lying to their customers will only get those who are uninformed / misinformed to pony up for new hardware. If these people questioned how come Apple hardware is overpriced and poorly engineered, they might just start looking at alternatives, assuming they haven't discovered folks like Louis and Jessa to repair and/or recover data from their hardware.
 


Why? I note iPad Rehab's price list says, "Water damaged phones are taken in for Data Recovery only", which suggests that they aren't usually repairable back to usability – so it isn't like Apple will lose a sale of a new iPhone if the user manages to get their data back. And of course, the question: If a part-time home shop in a small town in New York can recover data off 95% of damaged iPhones, why can't Apple? Doesn't compute.
This could be an opportunity for Apple to do something positive. Instead, they chose to continue their "walled garden" approach to lock out any outside group. Apple could easily certify a handful of repair shops to perform such recovery-only services with the full understanding that these devices not be put back into service. But, Apple sees this only as a liability. Perhaps they are afraid someone would sue them if their data could not be retrieved because they certified the shop. We have no way of really knowing. We can, however, raise our voices to Apple to say this is not right, and we can vote with our dollars to not accept poor Apple product and services as official edict.
 


This could be an opportunity for Apple to do something positive. Instead, they chose to continue their "walled garden" approach to lock out any outside group.
You may be interested in this AppleInsider editorial on the subject:
AppleInsider said:
Editorial: CBC again attacks Apple's repair policies, but still lacks knowledge of how it really works

... There's already a lot of heat getting doled out on the Internet this morning about the video, and not all of it at Apple. Jones, Rossmann and similar are doing absolutely nothing wrong. They are very good at what they do, that level of skill is a rarity, and they should be commended for doing what they do, day in and day out. Why the CBC doesn't see this as exceptional, and not possible for Apple to hire tens of thousands of technicians with similar skill is unclear to us.

Where Apple has failed here, is in explicit customer education —and this is a common refrain. While the responsibility for your data is spelled out in the terms of service, this entire saga would have been avoided had the customers been more aggressively told that if you only have one copy of your data, you're making a grave mistake. Accidents happen, and they are always terrible for the user. But, failing to have a backup of critical data, is absolutely the user's fault and will always be so.

Another failure of Apple's is banning Jones from the support forums. While Jones said that she read the terms of service and says that she did nothing wrong —a point that we believe —we feel that they made a bad call in that regard, as it pertains to customer education. It is Apple's house to manage, though, so we don't have much of a leg to stand on here.

Where the CBC failed, again, even after talking to us, and presumably other venues as well, is actually having any real concept of how service works on an immense scale, and not bothering to talk about it to their audience, or even seemingly consider the ramifications of supplying literally millions of repair parts per year. This number may only increase if the rumored supply of service parts to repair shops ever takes place.
The only thing I can add to their conclusion is that Apple should not be saying that recovery is impossible. Instead, they should say that they don't offer data recovery services, but there are third-party businesses (not endorsed by Apple) that do.
 


This could be an opportunity for Apple to do something positive. Instead, they chose to continue their "walled garden" approach to lock out any outside group.
I find Apple's response unacceptable as well, and just the attitude that they have *nothing* sensible to say in response to the bare facts.

However, I do see a potential abuse vector, that being (and there were no details given in the video to confirm or deny the likelihood of this or the potential validation they require from the customer concerning the contents): say I find a dead iPhone on the pavement, I ship it in for recovery. If the recovery methods don't involve having to know the passcode on the device, I've now potentially obtained some stranger's data.

Granted, why would I invest $300 in a complete stranger's photos - unless this device was found at some event held or attended exclusively by high-profile individuals (government, sports, entertainment, finance)... Perhaps a weak supposition, but potentially a real one.
 



After my last trip to an Apple store, to pick up something I had ordered from the online store, I got an email from Apple, inviting me to take a survey about my store experience. The survey was designed to elicit a certain result. They were clearly focusing on whether the staff had tried to interest me in additional products or services. I have seen plenty of surveys, since I worked for a high-end marketing research company for 20+ years, and it was easy to see the purpose of this one. I was completely satisfied with my Apple Store experience, but my responses to the survey must have resulted in a negative picture of the employees’ performance.

Unfortunately, I missed the follow-up call about the survey, which would have given me the chance, I hope, to comment on the survey itself, and the fact that “Not Applicable” would have been the accurate response to nearly every question, but was never included in the list of responses. Bad survey design…
 


However, I do see a potential abuse vector, that being (and there were no details given in the video to confirm or deny the likelihood of this or the potential validation they require from the customer concerning the contents): say I find a dead iPhone on the pavement, I ship it in for recovery. If the recovery methods don't involve having to know the passcode on the device, I've now potentially obtained some stranger's data.
If the owner of an iPhone has at a minimum secured it with a passcode, the shop would have no way to bypass that once power had been restored to the device. Those would be the easiest to verify. For those with no passcode, they would need to provide details regarding some of the content on the phone that only the owner would know. However, I do concede the point you are making. Individuals with nefarious intent will always be able to find some shop to do this type of work. But the rest needing such services need not suffer as a result.
The only thing I can add to their conclusion is that Apple should not be saying that recovery is impossible. Instead, they should say that they don't offer data recovery services, but there are third-party businesses (not endorsed by Apple) that do.
And I would be happy if this was the message Apple was providing to its customers. I would also be OK with the practice of removing posts to the Apple Support forums which say to use a given shop, as that is advertising a business not controlled by Apple and who may or may not be reputable.
 


The survey was . . . focusing on whether the staff had tried to interest me in additional products or services. . . . completely satisfied . . . responses to the survey must have resulted in a negative picture of the employees’ performance. . . . Bad survey design…
The survey you describe fits a strategy to upsell existing iOS customers replacement iPhones/iPods, AirPods, dongles, and service subscriptions. The survey, in-store tech like iBeacon, and the follow-up call you missed may enable Apple to identify every employee with whom you interacted and evaluate their success at meeting upsell goals.
 


The survey you describe fits a strategy to upsell existing iOS customers replacement iPhones/iPods, AirPods, dongles, and service subscriptions. The survey, in-store tech like iBeacon, and the follow-up call you missed may enable Apple to identify every employee with whom you interacted and evaluate their success at meeting upsell goals.
Yes, that was pretty clear. I did have a fairly lengthy and pleasant conversation with the Apple kid who was helping me, while waiting for for my MacBook Pro to be retrieved. We were discussing the fact that my first order had gone astray, thanks to UPS, which was why I was doing an in-store pickup. I liked the fact that the kid I was talking to didn't assume that I was going to be interested in classes or having my computer set up for me or similar services. I felt that he had handled everything appropriately. And, yet, that survey will not reflect the reality.

B&H does better post-purchase surveys.
 


I liked the fact that the kid I was talking to didn't assume that I was going to be interested in classes or having my computer set up for me or similar services. I felt that he had handled everything appropriately. And, yet, that survey will not reflect the reality.
The kid didn't handle everything appropriately, because he didn't push classes, gear, or services. You basked in the store's ambiance, left no new money behind, and kept the kid engaged in a non-sales encounter. From management's standpoint, that's a failure.
Chance Miller said:
Apple is taking its in-store iPhone push too far by promoting upgrades instead of repairs
I told the greeter that I had a Genius Bar appointment for my iPhone XS Max . . . my device was randomly shutting down and wouldn’t come back on for several hours. As soon as I finished the explanation, the greeter said, “Have you considered upgrading to a new iPhone recently?”
 


The kid didn't handle everything appropriately, because he didn't push classes, gear, or services. You basked in the store's ambiance, left no new money behind, and kept the kid engaged in a non-sales encounter. From management's standpoint, that's a failure.
Ha, basking… no. I was itching to get home and fire up my new refurb 2015 MacBook Pro. I mistakenly thought that I had done enough for Apple in 2018 by shelling out for a laptop that I didn’t urgently need, which I did just to have one Mac around for the future that had some of the ports I wanted, a decent keyboard, no major thinness-related design issues, and capable of running a nice range of OS versions.

I did go back, on a dongle shopping spree, not long after.
 



[Re criticism of Apple] I'd like to offer a story that echoes Jon Gann's experience a few months ago.

I have a son who selected the nickname "Rob" for himself. So, I wasn't totally surprised when Siri began addressing me as "Rob" rather than "James" or "Jim" on those spotty occasions she was able to parse my questions. However, recently I had reason to edit the "Me" card in my iPhone iCloud contacts database, and discovered that "my" card belonged to one "Rob [lastname redacted]", an internist hospitalist at a hospital where I'm a consulting nephrologist. So, I changed the "My Card" assignment to my own card, only to realize a few days later that it had reverted to listing my colleague as me.

Yesterday I had time to spend on this, so I visited Apple's support website and was offered a return phone call (at no charge). I opened Mojave Contacts.app on my MacBook Pro, created a screensharing session with my iMac upstairs, and answered the call that came back to my iPhone within a minute or two.

The first level engineer worked on the Mac (sharing my screen), then had me work on FaceTime and Siri settings on the iPhone in order to clear the misdesignation of the "My Card" contact. It looked as though he was just about finished when either his system or my iPhone dropped the call. He called back immediately and we continued working, but hadn't finished examining all my devices when the call dropped again. This time, when he called back, I was attempting to deal with another incoming call, so I called back in to Apple, gave my case number, and was assigned to another engineer. I showed her the now correct My Card assignment on my MacBook Pro and my iPhone (iOS 12.2), and, for completeness, peeked at Contacts.app on my screenshared, lightly used iMac. There, I discovered that my My Card belonged to...

wait for it...

an Office Depot store in a city 40 miles distant to which Siri had directed me on one occasion 2 or 3 years ago!

We also both noted that I had multiple duplicates of my Contacts on the iMac, so she turned her energy to cleaning out the duplicates. In all, she probably spent half an hour on the phone with me, at the end of which we looked again at my "My Card" designation on the iPhone, which now rested at...

a Siri-suggested (listing in grey rather than black text) entry that didn't contain my name, or my phone number but did contain my sonic.net email address (an email account that I don't have on my iOS devices). At that point she agreed this needed the attention of a senior support engineer.

While I waited, that anomaly corrected itself (possibly Apple servers being a bit slow to sync across devices, so that by the time the senior support engineer came into the conversation, all appeared well. But, it didn't stay that way. We looked at my MacBook Pro again, and now there were two unrelated entries bearing the little head and shoulder icon that designates the "me" card, and no entry at the beginning of the alphabet for that "place of honor" desingnation. The second entry listed its real owner's email address, but my iPhone telephone number (again, these both appeared as Siri suggestions ready to be added to the Contacts database. Instead, we deleted that contact suggestion, and the My Card has consistently pointed to me in the past 24 hours.

At some point during my time with the second first-level engineer, I'd noted something on my "Me" card I'd not seen before in macOS, namely a column of checkboxes at the extreme right of the card for each data entry, with a "Share" column header. While working with the senior-level engineer, I asked about this, because I couldn't seem to resurrect this column. The engineer was unaware of its existence and convinced me to stop wondering about it. We terminated our call with the "Me" card issue and duplicated contacts issues resolved, but me still wondering about those checkboxes.

As soon as I hung up, I peeked at the screenshared iMac one last time, and there was that column of checkboxes on the Me card! The Senior engineer had given me means to contact him directly by phone or email if I had any additional questions, so I took a few screenshots and sent him an email, and he responded within the hour, saying that he'd done a bit of additional research and confirmed that the macOS contacts.app does now contain the ability to limit on a datafield-specific basis just what would get shared if I exported or shared my "Me" contact with another person. I was able to find mention of this on Apple's support website, but it's not mentioned in either of the commonly used print books I use for reference (Missing Manual: Mojave and Take Control of Mojave).

No-cost (beyond the initial hardware purchase price) support of this quality and dedication is rare, in my experience. Occasionally, Microsoft telephone support people have been this good. Dave Nanian (SuperDuper) does it. Nest does it. There are reasons why the Microsoft stores are empty and the Apple retail stores crowded, just as there are reasons we all continue to use Apple products. We all wish they'd do the right thing all the time, but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that they're still exceptional much of the time [in my opinion].
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Another Internet search challenge met:
That's great info about this excessively confusing "feature" - but, for extra credit, maybe you (or Apple) could explain how this interacts with, relates to, or contradicts the iOS contacts situation. I didn't see anything about that in the Apple article and couldn't find a "My Card" per se, nor similar controls, in iOS 12.2.
 


That's great info about this excessively confusing "feature" - but, for extra credit, maybe you (or Apple) could explain how this interacts with, relates to, or contradicts the iOS contacts situation. I didn't see anything about that in the Apple article and couldn't find a "My Card" per se, nor similar controls, in iOS 12.2.
Apple Support about iOS 12 said:
Add your contact info on iPhone
In the Contacts app, add your information to your contact card. iPhone uses your Apple ID to create your contact card, called My Card, but you may need to provide your contact information (such as name and address) to complete it.
[details follow]
(I didn't look for the "private me card" equivalent.)

Yes, Apple practically hides the User Guides, but:
Many or all of these are also available as Apple Books.
 



Incidentally, I handle this by having two cards for me, one with my public info that I use for sharing.
That's what I used to do, but this ability to specify exactly what you share with your "business card" compared with personal information you want to keep private but are likely to look up in the same manner on your phone or your Mac really makes sense. Actually, I don't know if it's an addition with Mojave, but I know that differences between the data-entry capabilities of the Mac vs. iOS Contacts app are not new. For example, it's not possible to add data fields on the fly (one example being "job title") on the iPhone, but if you do so on the Mac, the field and its data rapidly sync to the iOS contact entry.

And, I didn't mean to imply that it was impossible to find out about this nice little feature in Apple support literature on the web, but it was little known (including its very existence to a senior level support engineer) and so little discussed that, had I not been surprised to see those check boxes while editing my "me" card during my phone support session, I never would have discovered it, and people who write 2000-page books about Apple products make no mention of it.

However, the feature seems to need work. This morning, screensharing from my MacBook Pro to my upstairs iMac, I added my mother's name (the field was already there, unpopulated) to the "Me" card on my iMac, and unchecked its "share" checkbox before clicking "done" in my editing session.

Returning to my MacBook Pro, I saw my mom's name appear within a minute or so, but her "Share" checkbox was active, and it's remained so for the next 30 minutes, and a previously non-existent datafield for "father" (data type: "related name") has appeared on the MacBook Pro, but not on the shared iMac where I entered my mom's data.

I also verified that when I add a data field on the Mac... the field and its contents synced to the other Mac and my iPhone within a minute, but although I specifically designated not to share its contents when sharing the card, on the second Mac the contents of that field are designated as being shared. Even worse, there's no way to tell, when you're working on iOS, whether that restriction will be honored or ignored, because a choice to modify (or even see) what fields will be shared is not visible in iOS.

So, for now, I'll continue to store my own information on two cards, use the "job title" field to enter "private" for the card with my name on it that I won't share, and my actual job title on the card with a limited number of public info filled fields as the "Me" card.

And one last caveat: previously, Apple called it the "Me" card. Now it shows at the beginning of alphabetical lists as "My Card."
 


That's great info about this excessively confusing "feature" - but, for extra credit, maybe you (or Apple) could explain how this interacts with, relates to, or contradicts the iOS contacts situation. I didn't see anything about that in the Apple article and couldn't find a "My Card" per se, nor similar controls, in iOS 12.2.
The absence of those controls over sharing (or even ability to tell how they're set) in iOS is at this point a fatal flaw in the feature. However, it is easy to find your "My Card" in iOS Contacts. Just scroll to the beginning of the alphabet if you're already in the app, or tap, or double-tap, if required to get you to the beginning of the alphabet, and your MyCard entry will occupy a placeholder at the top of the screen. Click it to be taken to the card itself.

My family is sufficiently endowed with (and my budget sufficiently bled by the purchase of) Apple hardware that I should be able explore the consequence of changing "share" settings on the "My Card" on my own, but Apple needs to clarify whether it's useful or dangerous.

I've left feedback at Apple.com, at the suggestion of my support engineer. We'll see what happens.
 


The absence of those controls over sharing (or even ability to tell how they're set) in iOS is at this point a fatal flaw in the feature. However, it is easy to find your "My Card" in iOS Contacts. Just scroll to the beginning of the alphabet if you're already in the app, or tap, or double-tap, if required to get you to the beginning of the alphabet, and your MyCard entry will occupy a placeholder at the top of the screen. Click it to be taken to the card itself.

My family is sufficiently endowed with (and my budget sufficiently bled by the purchase of) Apple hardware that I should be able explore the consequence of changing "share" settings on the "My Card" on my own, but Apple needs to clarify whether it's useful or dangerous.

I've left feedback at Apple.com, at the suggestion of my support engineer. We'll see what happens.
One other bit of information. If you access your clients by logging into iCloud.com on the web, you'll see your "Me" card designated by the little head-and-shoulders icon, but you won't' be able to find what data fields are or are not shared by that card.
 



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