MacInTouch Amazon link...

AppleCare, support, and repair issues

Channels
Apple
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.
 



Louis Rossmann posted an updated video this evening to his YouTube account with updated details.

In this video he describes an email he received from an Apple support individual who discusses the fact that they had gone through specific training on this topic, and what is happening in the Apple Community Forums should not be. They were taught to provide information very much along the lines of the internal policies for computer hard drive data recovery, and pointed to an available Apple technical document.

Has Apple just become so large that the upper-tier managers no longer know what is happening down in the trenches? Perhaps this is just a matter of trimming a few bad apples from the tree.
 



I suppose, after all our griping about how Apple (Jony Ive) doesn't have a clue about how to design repairable computers, we should become more platform-agnostic and always refer to iFixit's repairability ratings.
All your iPhone are belong to us…
Motherboard said:
Apple Is Telling Lawmakers People Will Hurt Themselves if They Try to Fix iPhones

... Experts, however, say Apple's and CompTIA's warnings are far overblown. People with no special training regularly replace the batteries or cracked screens in their iPhones, and there are thousands of small, independent repair companies that regularly fix iPhones without incident. The issue is that many of these companies operate in a grey area because they are forced to purchase replacement parts from third parties in Shenzhen, China, because Apple doesn’t sell them to independent companies unless they become part of the “Apple Authorized Service Provider Program,” which limits the types of repairs they are allowed to do and requires companies to pay Apple a fee to join.

“To suggest that there are safety and security concerns with spare parts and manuals is just patently absurd,” Nathan Proctor, director of consumer rights group US PIRG’s right to repair campaign told Motherboard in a phone call. “We know that all across the country, millions of people are doing this for themselves. Millions more are taking devices to independent repair technicians.”

The CompTIA letter is the same as letters sent to lawmakers in other states that are considering substantially different bills, and very similar to a letter sent last year by the organization.
 



Apple really ought to be required by law to place a big warning label on the iPhones, saying that the use or repair of this phone may injure you. I know that there have been quite a few cases where people have been injured when using phones while walking or driving.
Either the print would be tiny or the label would be huge:
Apple Support said:
Important safety information for iPhone

WARNING: Failure to follow these safety instructions could result in fire, electric shock, injury, or damage to iPhone or other property. Read all the safety information below before using iPhone.
 


Apple really ought to be required by law to place a big warning label on the iPhones, saying that the use or repair of this phone may injure you. I know that there have been quite a few cases where people have been injured when using phones while walking or driving.
How about something like “the surgeon general has determined that the use of this device while walking, driving, or operating machinery may be hazardous to your health.” For all mobile devices.
 


"Right to repair" isn't much good if devices are designed so they can't be repaired. Waiting on the rumored iPhone, I delayed replacing my Palm Treo, which barely survived my DIY battery replacement with the only battery I could find, a crappy third-party one sold through Amazon. The phone was difficult to snap apart, the battery wasn't easy to extract, and disassembly damaged the clips that held it together. Damaged case, battery life barely improved, and adding injury to insult, I recall poking a hole in one of my fingers.

The next version after my early-adopter Treo was the 650. A major design upgrade over mine: replaceable batteries.

Had there been a shop to which I could have taken my Treo, I'd have done that, though would that shop have been able to obtain an "original" OEM battery?

I've been in one of those phone repair franchise locations and witnessed a woman with a cracked iPhone screen have it replaced for a very reasonable cost while she waited.Though that on a phone that preceded the TouchID complexity. Again, the shop had a screen that worked.

Even though I was ready to replace my Treo with the new iPhone, I didn't. No replaceable battery. For as long as I could, I resisted buying gear with sealed-in batteries, but that's become nearly impossible. I currently have two Bluetooth speakers ready to deliver to the electronics recycle because their batteries are dead, I can't figure out how to get into them non-destructively nor really have any idea if there's a reason to try.

At work we're still using two 2010-vintage Mac Minis. They work, but the PRAM coin battery is dead, and the clock has to be reset if they're off the Internet. After I destroyed two old iMacs that didn't boot while trying to reach the coin battery for diagnosis, I'm reluctant to open the Mini. Having destroyed two, I took a third still-functional iMac to a third-party Mac shop for a new PRAM battery, and it died on the operating table.
iFixit said:
My wife's last ThinkPad, assigned to her by IBM, was entirely modular. While IBM security rules meant she couldn't let me help her diagnose her running laptop when a critical project was about to be delayed when her entire teams' set had become unreliable and they didn't have time to ship their computers to the service center. I presumed a heat problem, and she did let me snap hers apart to use the Can O'Air (while she watched carefully). Fixed, simply. In her case, the Ball O'Cat Hair was one gagged up by Lenovo, not the cat.
 



Amazon disclaimer:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts