Apple's User Guides and Mac Help is a joke!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by coloco, May 16, 2009.

  1. coloco macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2009
    Hi all, sorry of the following is not posted in the right forum, feel free to move it to where it should be.... I tried to join Apple forums to post this but i can’t even get an Apple ID , my person type doesn’t exist according to their system :)
    As a long-time computer user and solely into Macs for the last 10 years, I feel ripped off and insulted by Apple’s nanny atittude towards its customers and the ridiculously dumbed-down documentation that comes with Macs these days.
    When i buy a Mac i’m paying a premium price for a serious computer, not a home appliance that my grandma can use! I’m paying to take a computer home and start using it, i don’t want to join any clubs, go on the internet to register , or any of that marketing click-through pap.

    I can live with the lack of serious printed documentation, it’s not green, and i have enough books and papers around as it is. But when i buy a Mac i expect, besides the quick-start guide for newbies, at least a PDF or two with full, comprehensive documentation of all the ins and out of the Mac and the OS! I don’t want to search the internet ( i don’t even have access most of the time!) for second-hand opinions on how things work. I am not a PC user buying his first Mac, and i am not a newbie trying to connect to the internet.
    I don’t want any hidden functionality that only the elite geeks know about, because of some stupid minimalist and exclusivist philosophy. Trying too hard to make the thing user friendly by removing essential information on the underlying functionality doesn't make it user friendly to users who need to get a bit below the surface of things.

    Mac Help is A JOKE! It doesn’t even work half the time, and there’s plenty of 3rd party utilities with the option to reset the Help Viewer. When it does work, it just skims over each topic with a few lines of text, and half the time I wanted to find out how to do something it just wasn’t there. Permissions? ACLs? WHOA!
    I don’t want to spend more money on expensive books to know the ins and out of my system!
    For example: Time Machine help... I wanted to know if it was OK to delete old backups to make space on my disk and how to safely do that. Time Machine help offers :

    If you do run out of space, the best thing to do is to attach a new backup disk.

    HAH! So people who don’t look into the options of excluding stuff from being backed up will end up needing to buy a new disk every couple of months? What kind of dumb consumerist advice is this?

    I had to search the net for a while before i found how to delete old backups through the Time Machine interface, in an obscure , undocumented manner.

    And so on, don’t even get me started on the ridiculous iLife apps and their documentation. (“You can play a slideshow” gee!) Several of my friends new to Macs got suckered into using iPhoto, and are really not enjoying it... Database? what?

    I upgrade my OS and there's this new prefpane with the utterly lame name of MobileMe there. I have no use for it, i don't want to see it, i wasn't asked if i wanted it installed, i've no interest in paying Apple or anyone any money for storing my personal stuff on any servers. How to remove the prefpane ? Mac Help? HAH! :p
    Mac Help (when it works) cheerfully tells us about all the wonderful things our computer can do , but precious little about how it all works so we can solve problems ourselves or optimize the system according to what we use it for and what hardware we have.

    Its the same philosophy as selling a top-of-the-line pro laptop with a non-user-removable battery. They are trying to get more customers for their Apple care schemes and what have you, support affiliated businesses catering to the premium Apple consumer market etc...
    Got a problem? buy more RAM! Buy another disk! Send your machine in for an upgrade!

    Basically my problem is that Apple seems to deliberately make it hard for users to maintain and make full use of their computers and the functionality of the OS in an efficient manner, gearing its products and its documentation towards non-technical minded consumers who just use their Macs for basic stuff and don't want to know about cron tasks or bootable recovery disks.

    I feel like Apple's atittude is like " we're really clever, we make this magic stuff, but we're not going to tell you how it all works, or even what it does, you're probably too dumb not to mess up your system, and we know you'll buy it anyway and you should take out Applecare support and a .mac subscription for backing up your data!"

    I think it’s unacceptable , and it’s a shame the legislation isn’t there to force companies like Apple to provide full documentation with their expensive products instead of enticing people to seek support or buy more products and services. This is effectively hidden charges for many users , that could be avoided as the solutions are often simple , but not documented in Apple's pathetic bundled docs.

    There ought to be a full , comprehensive guide to OS X installed in each Mac, besides the consumer-oriented , dumbed-down affair currently offered, like breadcrumbs that Apple’s highness had the grace to toss us.

    I know i’d be seriously looking at Linux if the software i use became available for it, or decent equivalents, as i’m increasingly feeling like a sucker for paying Apple’s premiums. Second-hand Macs only from now on!
  2. upaymeifixit macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2009
    What got you going?

    Obviously I am not going to write another chapter to this book, but I honestly can't agree with anything you have said here. I think you need to think about this over again openly this time.

    Sounds like you need to switch back to a PC for a reality check.
  3. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    And of course when you buy Windows you get full comprehensive documentation about installing and using and a great help system?

    New stuff on the OSx machine you don't want? So what? no one is forcing you to use it. And how much crapware do you find when you buy a new Windows machine? Last time I checked it was full of bloatware.

    there are books written about the Mac and how it works, why not buy one or two?

    No one is requiring you to use a Mac or any of the applications. There is no fine for going back to Windows. Use whatever makes you happy.
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Skimming your post I don't see any specific complaint other than general statements like "the help guides are a joke!!!" Maybe they figure someone who needs more information knows how to find it? Heaven forbid.
  5. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    Perhaps it's called actually opening up your wallet and buying a user guide for more advanced use of your Mac. If you are advanced enough for advanced features, you're likely to know how to search for help, be it on internet forums, books, websites, screencasts or such.

    Can you give an example of something that you really want to do, but can't you find out about, feature or product wise?
  6. animalcaracker macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2008
    Consumer Manuals

    If there is a manual please do post a link. I would be interested to purchase one.
    It is truly a shame about the tone of that fella's post. He seems frustrated with his Apple, as am I for many of the same reasons.
    First of all, the OS (I'm Tiger) would be more user friendly if it included an application for configuring preferences, passwords, access, etc, for EVERY possible choice available on the entire system. Every little box to check in one place! With a lock, and date/source tracing of modifications. Apple security is legendary, but there are many documented holes for hackers. As mentioned above, not everyone wants 'Bundled Software", especially if it allows connections or creates sockets. Many of these run "hidden" and say "no access". I've experienced odd behavior when opening some files, such as windows disappearing, even a complete power down.
    Ownership of the computer is the issue.

    A forum moderator stated this:
    "Apple doesn't provide antivirus and because of this maintains a policy of not offering advice regarding Security".
    He offered that there a many documents about Security settings available on the WEB, and posted too a link to the University of Illinois' computer department.
    This is very annoying and at the heart of the above poster's long post. What? Annoying? Yes, that after being led to believe in the security and intuitive ease of using an Apple we are finding out that this requires us to be proactive about setting and checking how our computer works. Quite diligent in fact on a daily basis. Often I am surprised to find my sharing preferences and network settings have been changed despite locking and requiring a password to make these changes.
    I have spent countless hours learning about my Apple computer, with a simple goal of not allowing remote access.

    Is there really a manual from Apple?
    Or an application like "preference lock & monitor"?
    Thanks so much.

    All we are saying...
  7. portent macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2004
    It would be nice, wouldn't it?

    The unfortunate fact is, Macs (and Windows PCs, and Linux PCs) are complicated. Simplifying that complexity is something that nobody, not Apple or any other vendor, has managed to do. Apple is a tiny, tiny bit better than its competitors at this, but there's only so much you can do to make something both easy and powerful.

    Forget manuals; entire books have been written on modern computer security. Lots of books. And not one of those books is 100% accurate or comprehensive, even though many of them are written by PhD computer scientists with years of experience in the field.

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