Previous 1 2 3 Next 69 Replies Latest reply: Mar 6, 2013 2:17 AM by MikeMiller06 Branched to a new discussion.
MikeMiller06 Level 1 (0 points)

Ok, so when going through the support channels, unless (and this is a LOOOONG shot) a user is able to search for a solution in your support site and fix it themselves, they have two, and only two options.  One of which is to take it into a store.  That's wonderful for a large portion of America who lives near an Apple store.  However, there are those who that's not a practical answer.  At least those individuals are left with the ability to make a phone call.  Better than nothing.

Then there are those of us in the military who get deployed to places like Afghanistan.  Is it impossible to make a phone call from over here?  Of course not, but when I do I use my computer.  I'm sure you at Apple can understand that if I'm wanting to call about an issue with my computer, chance are, my computer's not going to allow me to make that call. 

Next issue, I'm an outside the box thinker so I have my family call on my behalf.  I give them my computer serial number, apple ID, etc.  Anything I figure she would need in order to get my account/device recognized and to prove that I do have the Apple Care Plan.  I received an email from Apple support the next day (I won't fault you on the time it took because it is afterall the weekend and I am in a largely different timezone).  The individual said that based on what my wife was able to describe, he thought he had it figured out what would solve the problem.  Resetting the NVRAM/PRAM and/or the SMC.  While reading the symptoms that could be present if those things need reset, I noticed it didn't sound like it matched up but, hey, you guys are the experts so I did as I was told anyway.  Naturally it did nothing to help.  I'd like to know when Apple plans on incorporating some means of support for those in out of the ordinary locations.  Email would work, many companies have interactive live chat options that could possibly help in areas.  Seeing as how even the email from Apple support says "do not reply" you're still quite sub-par there.  I'd also like to know when you plan on hiring people who do more than follow a little checklist of "if this, then that" solutions for computer issues.  Maybe someone who can do a little analytical thinking.  The answer I got in email seemed very automated, and not like there was any true thought put into it. 

I know that you at Apple are smart enough to be able to sense the frustration in this message and I hope the degree of which isn't lost in the fact that I'm holding back how I truly feel and am trying to be a reasonable, controlled customer and not just going irate.  However, I had been anti-Apple and Mac for a LONG time.  I avoided iPods when they came out initially but eventually gave in, then one device led to another, built and built until I finally broke down and did what I thought I would NEVER do and bought a Mac.  Wonderful machine until it stopped being a wonderful machine.  Now that combined with the lack of support I'm getting is making me question my decision to give your products a chance.  Please work with me.  You have to understand, other than email from my work computer, my Macbook Pro and the means of communication it provides (Skype, Facetime, iMessage, etc) is my only means of speaking to my family to include wife and daughter.  I've been seperated from my daughter cause of training and this deployment over half of her life.  This is my only means of connecting.  It doesn't matter how great your product CAN be.  If the long term, big picture of the useage and support for that product isn't worth it, I'll take my future business elsewhere. 

MacBook Pro with Retina display, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • ~Bee Level 7 (31,425 points)

    Mike --


    We're all volunteers here, sharing questions and finding solutions. 

    Many of the helpers here have over ten years of helping on this technical-support discussion board.


    Want to give us a chance?  We'd love to help you.

    Can you tell us exactly what your situation is? 


    You've got a  rMBP, running 10.8.2.

    What is going wrong on your Mac? When did it start happening?  Was anything changed in your System just prior to this happening?

    Are you having problems with your Mac overall, or just in specific apps or situations?


    We do have a good track record, so tell us more, OK?

    We've helped many deployed troops troubleshoot their Macs.


    Looking forward to hearing back from you.

  • babowa Level 7 (29,955 points)

    Sorry to hear of your dilemma and, since these are just user to user forums with people volunteering their time to help, you are not addressing Apple. I think you should, so here are two other ways to do it:


    Send feedback for online support:



    I'd also consider sending snail mail to their corporate office (or calling the corporate number and asking for Customer Relations:



    Lastly, the online support/express lane route IF you're able to include your circumstances and the fact that you can't take it to a store, etc:


  • MikeMiller06 Level 1 (0 points)

    Two seperate issues.  I'll hit the smaller but original one first


    Prior to deploying I noticed issues with my built-in webcam.  Sometimes when going into any webcam using program (Photo Booth, Skype, Facetime, etc) it would not recognize the existence of a camera.  Other times it seems to be working fine.  It's been going on long enough that I've determined that it's an issue with computer use.  If the computer has been on and used any remotely significant length of time, the computer will fail to recognize the camera.  If I shut down the computer for a while and power it back on it works like a charm.  The issue was too new and I didn't know that when I brought the computer to one of your Apple stores in Austin, TX.  Hindsight being 20/20 though, the tech wasn't able to reproduce the issue in the store.  I now know this is becuase the computer was off for the drive to the store so when he turned it on, it pulled up without a problem.  Because I have a workaround I didn't stress this too much because it was more of an inconvenience than a denial of service.


    Then comes the actual issue that has me so frustrated now.  Your computers have a wonderful reputation for never crashing.  A huge kudos for the design that has made them that way.  Maybe it's because I bought a Macbook Pro w/ Retina right when they came out and there were bugs in it at the time but mine is now crashing.  It's difficult to describe how the issue manifests itself but the best description I can give is that when an issue arrises, the screen starts flickering with various colors flashing across the screen, images and parts of the screen becoming distorted, magnified, and jumbled.  This happens any time the computer has to do anything that is REMOTELY intensive.  Merely opening up certain applications triggers it and SOMETIMES if I'm quick to close the problematic app, the flickering stops and I can go about different business as long as I don't try it again.  However, other times it will cause the computer to slow down and lock up all functions with the screen jumbled, distorted, etc that I described before.  Oddly enough, all the while, I can move my mouse around as quickly and smoothly as I desire, it's just the processing that that gets bogged down/locked up.  Also, when I start the computer, EVERY time, after the Apple screen, before the OS boots fully, it will flash random colors across the screen, distort, then continue to load the OS.  Currently I am able to successfully use Safari, email, iMessages, and that's about it.

    The issue started after I installed Drive Genius.  I did that because of maybe related, maybe unrelated issues to my Western Digital - My Passport for Mac 2TB external hard drive.  That's the only thing that I can think of that changed within the system prior to the crashing.  At first I thought it may be a virus so I deleted the program and ran the Norton - iAntivirus app (from the App Store) full scan but it came up with no issues.  I've run the OS built in Disk Utility and it was also unable to find any errors.  Most recently I bought and installed the iBoostUp Premium app from the app store but all of its tools were unable to remedy the problem...kind of wasted money there.

    I KNOW that chances are there's something wrong with the hardware and I'm going to have to mail it in, leaving me without a personal computer for up to 2 months due to shipping times in and out of Afghanistan.  However, the thing that upset me most was, as I stated in my original message, when going through your support website's troubleshooting steps the only means it gives for a solution when the easy menus don't solve it is to plan a phone call time or take it to a store and those don't work for those of us over here.  I've had issues with other companies but had been able to resolve them via email and/or a live chat system.  Both of which do not exist for your support network.  That and although I'm sure the technician was just doing his job, seemed to just give a plug-and-play answer rather than actually try to dig in for more information.  I remember over a decade ago when my family had a Gateway computer, they would remotely connect to an individual's computer to access it and see if they could come up with a root cause and find the issue from afar.  Yet another option that doesn't seem to be present. 

    You have phenomenal products with, as I said, wonderful no-crashing, no-virus reputations.  However, no system is perfect and I felt as though I was left hanging out to dry.  Like I said, I accept the fact that chances are it will have to be mailed in, but it's the principle of the lack of other support options that was frustrating. 

    I hope that my description of the backstory of the hardware issues can shed some light on the problem.  If it is any help, I know my description of the screen flickering/distorting issues probably isn't all that clear of a picture for you, so I took the liberty of taking a picture of my screen with a different camera.  If you'd like to see those pictures to see what the screen looks like as an example of its problematic times, I could send them your way.

    Last thing.  If I do end up having to send it in there's one other issue.  I'm a serious photography hobbyist.  My photos are on my computer and since I was smart I also have them backed up on the hard drive.  Unfortunately, as I stated, the external hard drive seems to be crashing, and so is my computer.  If you have to wipe the system, what are the chances of you being able to recover my photos?

    Thank you.

  • MikeMiller06 Level 1 (0 points)

    This is nothing but user-level volunteers?  Surely there are Apple-hired moderators or some type of official Apple personnel who look through the forums, right?

  • BobTheFisherman Level 6 (13,539 points)

    Correct. This is a user-helping-user forum. Apple employees do not participate other than to ensure the TOU are followed.

  • John Galt Level 8 (45,978 points)

    Hi Mike,


    Several potential reasons stand out: Drive Genius is time and money wasting junk that may cause data corruption resulting in the symptoms you describe. Norton and any other Symantec product is another unnecessary, useless, and potentially harmful piece of junk. Uninstall both of them according to their developer's instructions and confirm that they are really gone.


    Western Digital hard disks are OK by themselves, but WD's included utilities often cause system instability. Use the drive but don't use the utilities it includes; they are not required. Uninstall them.


    The last thing any Mac user should do upon encountering unexpected behaviour such as you describe is to install some third party magic cure-all claiming any benefit whatsoever. They will all do 100% the opposite. Drive Genius and its ilk are mechanic-in-a-can solutions for suçkers. Your Mac worked 100% flawlessly when it was built, and will continue to do so until one of two things subsequently occur: its hardware fails, or its software is modified. You can control the latter.


    The possibility of hardware failure exists with the screen distortion you describe. You can run Apple Hardware Test, but the tests it performs are cursory and cannot definitively rule out that possibility. However, if it finds a problem, it is likely to be real. Other than bad memory modules that are user replaceable items, only Apple or an Apple Authorized Service shop should repair hardware.



    If you have to wipe the system, what are the chances of you being able to recover my photos?



    None. If the photos exist and remain intact on a backup device, make sure it is backed up as well before wiping your system.

  • MikeMiller06 Level 1 (0 points)

    I knew that a lot of programs of the kind were junk.  For example, 9 out of 10 adware removing programs for a PC just install adware and/or viruses.  However, I thought that Apple had pretty high standards on the reliability and trustworthiness of apps in the App store so I thought I might have been safe there.  I'm uninstalling all of those apps.  How do I run the hardware test?

  • John Galt Level 8 (45,978 points)

    Here you go Mike: Using Apple Hardware Test




    You must remove the firmware password, if one has been set, before you can use AHT.


    Everything in the App Store including iAntivirus has been vetted by Apple mostly to determine that it won't cause problems. However, iAntivirus is almost completely useless and an utter waste of your time. Apple won't block a developer from releasing something that's just a time-waster.


    There are no OS X viruses. Whatever is causing your difficulty, that's not it.

  • ~Bee Level 7 (31,425 points)

    The other thing that could be seriously messing up your Mac is Norton.  If you look in the Norton folder on your HD, you should see an Uninstaller.  If not, it could also be in the Installer folder.  Get that crap off there, ASAP.

  • John Galt Level 8 (45,978 points)

    MikeMiller06 wrote:


    This is nothing but user-level volunteers?


    Right. Everyone here is just volunteering their time doing a thankless job, a tiny microcosm of what you're doing in Afghanistan


    This forum is Apple's secret weapon. As a support resource, no other company can touch it, and it's free. The responses you've received in this thread so far are from some of the best contributors. Many volunteers here have a lot more experience than Apple's Geniuses.

  • babowa Level 7 (29,955 points)

    Nothing much I can add except to second what's already been suggested:


    Get rid of Norton's (first).

    Run the Apple Hardware Test.

    Possibly get rid of Drive Genius (I must admit I have it because it was included with another purchase, but have not used any of its options once I read the instructions and other users' remarks) and/or any other "magic cleaning" utility.

    And, another note on WD drives: as mentioned, the drives are fine and you do not need the software - it messes things up, and, additionally, FWIW: the drives are fine, but their enclosures are cheap = pretty much worthless. So, be prepared if it fails. And, if you were to ever want to use a WD drive as a bootable external drive, be aware that most of them do not support it - here is a list of the ones that do:



    As for the user to user volunteers: IMHO, coming up with this idea was an absolute stroke of genius: we provide support Apple does not have to hire tech support personnel for; obviously, we cannot fix  hardware or purchasing/billing issues, but my rough guess would be that we - collectively - probably solve at least 80% of the technical/software related questions posted here.

  • Courcoul Level 6 (12,996 points)

    Yep, just us computer grunts from all over the world, with nothing better to do at the moment. Apple entices us to save them money not having a bigger full time staff by using the Level system of granting points and stoking our egos. Wait till you run across Prof. Kappy and his zillion points. But I digress...


    Having been in extreme climatic conditions (to put it delicately) like you must have over there, two things to watch even on the Retinas are heat and dust. Even though they are solid state, the GPU and CPU do pack a wallop and can overheat if improperly ventilated. That's where the dust comes in, collecting in the guts and reducing the fan's cooling capacity. Make sure the slot beneath the screen's hinge is clear at all times, cause that's the only place the Mac can draw air for cooling. If you have a compressed air can handy, you can gently blow in there to get dust out, just don't grab a hose from the base's 500PSI compressor and let it fly!


    On the software side, get rid of all the crap the Mac doesn't need (as detailed above) and only contribute unnecessary workload.


    Good luck, thanks for being there and doing what you do, stay safe and come back well and soon.

  • MikeMiller06 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ran the hardware test and opted for the thorough test and naturally it found nothing wrong.  Any news, even the bad kind, would have been more helpful than that.

    I've deleted all the apps but will admit that coming from the PC world, I'm still learning and getting used to the file system on Macs.  I found the apps (drive genius, drive recover, norton, etc) and deleted them but in most I didn't see an uninstaller as most apps from the app store just install the app and if there are files deeper in the computer, I don't know where to look for them.


    As far as cleanliness, agreed 100%.  However, I can feel the fan move and it's only in the most intensive work periods (like during the detailed hardware scan) that I notice the casing seriously rise in temperature to the point where the aluminum casing nearest the exhaust is almost too hot to touch.  Now that it's done though it's already significantly cooled itself.  I'll see if anyone here has any canned air.  I'm sure our S6 (commo guys, both radio and network/computer) have some somewhere.  Since everything seems to be pointing to a clean bill of hardware health, where do I need to look next?  Like I said, I have a feeling I'm overlooking deeper de-install files.

  • babowa Level 7 (29,955 points)

    As far as I know, you will need an uninstaller for Norton's or you will have endless problems with leftover bits and pieces. In general, any app you install by dragging its icon to the Applications folder can be removed by dragging it to the trash; any app that comes with its own installer should be removed using their uninstaller.


    And, FWIW, when you're all done with getting rid of stuff, I would suggest a full backup and then possibly a clean install (erase and install).

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