AppleCare Support is Broken

As a fairly knowledgeable Mac and iOS user, I’m generally the go-to guy for people I know who are looking for solutions to their problems. I’ve been writing about Macs and iOS devices for more than fifteen years, and a lot of my work has been around troubleshooting, and explaining to users how to accomplish tasks, or work around problems. As such, I don’t often need to contact AppleCare.

I buy AppleCare contracts for my Macs, and for my iPhones (for my current iPhone, this is included in the package I purchased through the Apple iPhone Upgrade program).

When I have issues with my Macs or iOS devices, I can generally figure them out. I search online, post in forums, and, in most cases, I find solutions. But there are times when I can’t find solutions, and I turn to AppleCare.

In the past couple of years, I’ve had several issues that involved contacting AppleCare. The front-link staff is generally amiable, and try to be helpful, but given that I can generally resolve simple issues, I almost always get bumped up to the next level, to senior advisors. And these senior advisors always start by reading a script, saying that they will “take ownership of my case” and ensure me that they will help resolve my issue.

Until they don’t.

Several times in the past couple of years, I’ve had cases where senior advisors give me hope, have me send data to them, then nothing happens. They just drop the cases. There is no further communication, no information, nothing. They just forget me. On their end, they probably close the cases so they can juke the stats. And I don’t get that common request for feedback regarding my case, so they don’t get negative feedback.

In one case, I was having battery issues on a MacBook, which dragged on and on, as it was hard to figure out exactly what was happening. I eventually traded that MacBook in to buy a new MacBook Pro, because it wasn’t worth my hassling with Apple’s support any more.

For another case, the senior advisor sent me an app to collect data – which totaled about 650 MB – that I was to send to Apple via a webpage. I tried many times and was never able to send the data; the connection would drop each time before the transmission completed. (I have 1 Mbps upload speed, making large uploads extremely difficult.)

My most recent case is more than two weeks old. I found I could no longer log into my Mac mini with my MacBook Pro to run Time Machine backups to an external disk connected to that Mac. The first-line technician started a screen-sharing session, which allowed me to show him the issue, and bumped me up to the next level, saying he couldn’t explain what was happening, and had never seen this before. The second line technician started a screen-sharing session, but wouldn’t let me go through the entire process to show what was happening, and I was quite annoyed at having to deal with someone who clearly didn’t care about my issue. She said she would call me back in a day or two, after consuming with engineering.

And that’s the general result of my contacts with AppleCare. They “consult with engineering,” promise to call back, and never do.

I have had a couple of senior advisors who have followed up on my cases, helping me resolve issues, but for most of the problems I have had in the past couple of years, I have been ignored, and had to figure out my own workarounds.

Apple touts their high rate of customer satisfaction, but this is probably because so many issues can either be resolved by front-line support technicians, or in-store; my nearest Apple Store is an hour away, and, for my latest issue, going to a store wouldn’t help, because the issue involves connecting to another Mac on my local network.

AppleCare is expensive, and I feel that I’m getting cheater, at least for issues that aren’t hardware related. AppleCare is broken and needs to be fixed.

(If you’ve had this problem, please post a comment below. I’d like to be able to forward some information about this to Apple.)