Sometimes your iPhone just doesn’t work the way you want it to. Maybe the battery doesn’t last as long as it should, or your email accounts aren’t refreshing properly, or an app is misbehaving. Or maybe the problem is of a more serious nature — the type that requires a skilled technician. Whatever the case, Apple is making it easier to find solutions to common iOS device problems with a new app called Apple Support.
“New” is a relative term, in this case: Apple quietly launched the app in the Netherlands in November. But Wednesday marked an expansion to the U.S., and now the app is making its way to the U.K., France, Spain, and other countries. The move into these new countries comes shortly after Apple promised global expansion for the app.
Apple Support is fairly self-explanatory. It puts topical tips, product information, troubleshooting steps, and service call tools at your fingertips. Struggling to recall your Apple ID password? There is an entry for that, complete with a “reset password” link that lists the date, time, and year you last changed your passcode. Forget how to back up your iPad to the iCloud or use the Messaging app on your iPod touch? There are guides for those issues, too, along with many more.
For issues beyond hope of self-diagnosis, there is a handy section that connects you with a specialist. You can talk out a fix remotely by chatting, calling, or emailing a member of Apple’s support team, or make a reservation to visit the nearest Apple Store Genius Bar. Opting for the face-to-face option cues up a list of available reservation times. If you choose a remote fix, your contact information is recorded and you are provided with a number you can call when you are free to chat.
Apple Support does most of the heavy data lifting, automatically identifying the devices tied to your Apple account. It also surfaces information an Apple agent might require, like your phone’s model number, serial number, and iOS version.
Apple says the app, which is available on the App Store, will roll out to additional territories in the coming weeks.
Apple Support is the latest in a long line of live support apps. Mayday, a 24-hour live support feature on Amazon’s Fire tablet devices, connects users with a live Amazon adviser who can draw on the screen and perform troubleshooting steps. Google’s new Pixel-branded smartphones feature a dedicated support tab that connects users to customer service agents and lets them share their screen.
Apple’s new app may not be comparable just yet, but it is likely just the start. Last week, Apple began including third-party retail stores in its online appointment reservation system. And in some brick-and-mortar Apple stores around the country, Apple has replaced the Genius Bar with an open-stool design meant to promote “intimacy” and “dynamism.”
Updated on 01-27-2017 by Christian de Looper: Added news that app is now available in 22 regions.
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