Dear Apple, I need technical support!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Timur, May 31, 2009.

  1. Timur macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    Does anyone know how to get real technical support from Apple? Is there any email-adress other than where one can get real support by some technically inclined person with a real ticket number?

    There are no Geniuses here in Germany and phone support keeps telling me to write to the "feedback" email-adress, which is useless and leaves a well paying customer with no one to talk to.

    My Macbook Pro 2.8 (Unibody late 2008) comes with a hand-full of technical issues which I'd like to be resolved. Some of them have been reported half a year ago by me and still I'm waiting for any means to get support for them.
  2. killianb macrumors regular


    Oct 14, 2008
    What sort of "technical" support do you need? Maybe someone here can help?
  3. themat macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2008
    Manchester, UK
    Surely in Germany there's some form of apple approved tech support?
  4. Timur thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    1. The ExpressCard Slot cannot be used with bootcamped Windows Vista at all!

    There is no workaround that I know about for this problem.

    2. Using a (JMicron based) eSATA ExpressCard leads to data corruption and crashing on OS X eventhough the build-in OS X AHCI drivers are used.

    3. On OS X the unbuild Broadcom WLAN does not deliver the advertised N-standard rates of upto 300 mb/s but only upto 130 mb/s (upto around 150 mb/s when using the A band).

    On bootcamped Windows the same applies, but a new Broadcom driver downloadable only from Microsoft Update Catalog finally allows the full 300 mb/s bandwidth with my N-standard router.

    4. When using the 9600M GT on OS X the Macbook Pro will draw about 5W more power after waking it up from Sleep.

    This can only be "solved" by either restarting the computer or by switching back and forth to the 9400M GT.

    5. On OS X (10.5.7) Software Update runs everytime I log in, scanning my HD and using CPU load and thus unnecessarily slowing down the boot-up process.

    Furthermore the Software Update preference pane will always switch back to "weekly" updates regardless of what you setup there and it will even turn back on when you disabled Software Update either via preference pane or via Terminal.

    6. The Macbook Pro draws over 1W power when in Sleep mode on OS X and upto over 2W power when in Sleep mode on Windows. That means the battery is drawn out of power within 25 - 50 hours in Sleep mode.

    7. When using bootcamped Windows the Apple KBDMGR.EXE driver drags down all other drivers and especially leads to audio-dropouts (high DPC Latencies and other quirks caused by KBDMGR.EXE).

    8. When using bootcamped Windows XP the 9600M GT/Nvidia driver shipped with Bootcamp (or downloaded via NVidia) does not dynamically change the GPU's clock-rate but keeps the GPU running at maximum clock-rate and voltage permanently.

    9. When using bootcamped Windows Vista the 9600M GT/NVidia drivers does dynamically change the GPU's clock-rate, but on it's lowest performance level "Standard 2D" the GPU driver drags down all other driver especially leading to Audio dropouts (high DPC Latencies caused by GPU driver).

    Furthermore the either the dynamic switching leads to the whole system freezing sporadically.

    Manually setting the GPU's performance level to a fixed level ("Low Power 3D" or "Performance 3D") via Rivatuner seems to be a workaround, but then the GPU keeps running at higher clock-rate and voltage and thus wattage and temperature.

    10. Using a (TI based) Firewire Expresscard leads to higher CPU load and sporadic freezing on OS X eventhough the build-in OS X Firewire drivers are used.

    11. The build-in LSI/Agere Firewire 800 port cannot be used with certain FW Audio interfaces (RME Fireface 400) without putting a hub/repeater in between.

    According to web-sources this is a known issue of the chipset and finally has been resolved by LSI/Agere with a new chipset revision. Apple knows about the issue but still uses a faulty chipset. On older MB/MBPs this reportedly only caused problems with the FW400 port, on unibody MBPs the only FW800 port fails to deliver.

    12. On bootcamped Windows audio-output only delivers bass to the right side. That does not mean that the bass is coming from the right side (where the bass speaker is located inside the chassis), but any sound played to the left speaker (like balancing the stereo output all left) does not trigger the bass speaker at all.

    13. After exchanging the harddrive of my MBP (came originally with a Hitachi 250 gb / 7200 rpm drive) I noticed that the new HD does not seem to ever park its heads via the MBP's free-fall sensor.

    Furthermore I noticed that the original Hitachi drive comes with a free-fall sensor of its own (it audibly clicks/parks the heads even when being used in an external FW/USB/eSATA case).

    Additionally the new HD (Hitachi 500 gb / 5400 rpm) goes into Idle (clicking of heads parking and drive spinning slightly up and down) every few seconds on OS X (not on Windows). I could workaround that by using a downloadable utility called HDAPM and setting the drive's power-managment to Maximum with every startup of OS X.

    There you go, over a dozend issues I'd like to get some technical support for. :confused: :apple:
  5. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #5 to the USA and get your laptop looked at:p
  6. Timur thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    Is there, other than the Apple Support Phone line that doesn't help unless you've got something to "repair"?

    I don't know. The Apple Phone Support never mentioned any, they kept asking me to send email to the english language based whenever I call them about any of the listed problems.

    There are Apple Shops (as part of large electronic retails stores Media Markt and Saturn which in turn belong to Metro group), Apple Authorised Service Providers, Apple Premium Resellers and Apple Resellers. But the only Apple "Store" listed on Apple's site is located in Munich. So this seems to be the only place in Germany with a Genius Bar.

    Anyway, none of the issues I listed seem to be specific problems of my single Macbook Pro, but general problems of the Firmware/EFI, drivers and in case of the FW the chipset

    So I need an Apple technician to look after these things, give me a ticket number, acknowledge the issues, put them on an official list and have Apple fix their software, make Nvidia fix their driver and exchange faulty chipsets in future models. Especially with the solvable software problems I expect to be serviced with acknowledgement and offers to fix them.

    This piece of wrist-cutting metal cost alot of money for the cheap chinese hardware build inside and the stylish design on the outside. Performance and service is what I paid extra for, at least I thought so. :rolleyes:
  7. Tweak3D macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2007
    well, I know München has an apple store with genuises as I was there and talked with them regarding buying a german keyboard and some software on my last visit. I also hear that Berlin is getting a store very soon and may already have one by now. If I were you I would call the München store and ask what to do. that way you are getting proper advice from someone in Germany as most of us will not know for sure. Viel Glück.

  8. Timur thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    I already know about the Munich store, but thanks anyway (I even wrote about it in my last post). ;)

    Problem is that Munich is about 600 km away, and Berlin about 550 km. Apple can hardly ask me to take that drive just to see some guy who will tell me that he cannot help me with any driver bugs related problems!?

    Anyway, can it be that Apple offers absolutely no proper technical support for a whole country? No technicians on the phone, no email support with answers?

    I know that the people on phone support have sort of a chat-line with technicians (probably sitting in the USA), but they only once used that possibility.

    Next thing I'll do is trying the eSATA card with Windows XP (no change with my already installed Vista anyway) to find out whether the hardware or the OS X drivers are to be blamed.
  9. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    It's not much better in the US.

    In the US, I doubt that either AppleCare telephone support (nor the Genius Bar in an Apple Retail Store) could help you with most of the issues you've listed above.

    Generally, if you're having problems with a known issue, they will try to assist the best that they can.

    If you're having problems with issues that they have no Apple support documentation for, they generally refer you to, where you can file a bug report yourself.

    Outside of those things, people have tried emailing Apple's top executives personally. They usually get a dedicated high-level customer person to help them, if the executive decides to respond to the email.
  10. Timur thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    One could wonder why a german resident is asked to write to an english email-adress in english language when it comes to an Apple product not working as advertised? :apple:

    Besides, several of the things I listed have been reported by me half a year ago and nothing has been fixed.

    Other companies have support ticket systems for that (I know Apple has these, too) and have support staff work with development in order to get issues acknowledged and fixed.

    I bought a Macbook Pro because I am a musician and need both worlds OS X and Windows. But I am also an IT professional and people ask me about Apple product.

    Everyone who sees me working with the MBP say they want one, too. And everyone who says that is told by me that they should not waste their money on a product that costs a fortune just for the nifty outer design while offering little benefits for people who mainly write email and work with Word, Excel, Outlook and Powerpoint.

    The MBP has several nice features that I make alot of use of (and even go to length customizing the hell out of it). But I really hope that Apple does not take over the mass market, at least not with their current pricing scheme and lacking quality of products and service.
  11. Tweak3D macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2007
    have you called the Munchen apple store to ask if they can point you in the right direction for tech support?

    also what number are you calling? the number I had for when I was studying there is (49) 01805 009 433 but becareful as thats a pay number and I think its something like .14 euro a minute. Ill look around a bit for you and see if I can find anything else. Its a bit easier since I can read many of the pages too.

  12. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Could be a card issue. I have a friend who uses an eSATA ExpressCard with a Unibody (and a "Classic" MBP before that) and he has some issues with some brands. Contact the card manufacturer? Using the built in drivers doesn't guarantee anything if the card sucks.

    This really can't be a big deal... can it? You have a dual core system, and it's not exactly an intensive process. Furthermore, Windows and Linux do the exact same thing.

    This is entirely normal. There is very little way to draw less power, and 25 -50 hours in sleep mode has been entirely normal for any Macintosh I've ever owned.

    Sleep mode is not meant to keep your computer powered forever. If you need it charged over a longer period, shut it down.

    Adding a second Firewire card is going to increase CPU usage because you're adding another bus. This is normal for any computer running any OS. It doesn't matter if it uses the built in drivers.

    For freezing, again, I'd check with the card manufacturer.

    Apple likely builds the motherboards in extremely large quantities. Even if Apple fixes this, the fixed boards may not show up for months. If you send it in for a hardware repair, these is a chance they'd give you a fixed board, but it depends on if they've started making new boards yet.

    Update your sound drivers. They aren't written by Apple, so find the sound card drivers for your hardware and update them.

    How exactly are you testing this? Dropping your laptop?

    The reason Apple does not use this variant is because it will kernel panic OS X if the free fall sensor is triggered. If you look, Hitachi sells both versions to the public. Same thing with other vendors.

    I'm pretty sure you can turn this off in energy saver, but it's not good for the drive... The reason it spins down is to conserve your battery life (which you've already complained about) and preserve the lifespan of your drive.
  13. Timur thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    You are right, but as a matter of fact I tried two different cards that have completely different outer builds (one sticks out with an LED and one does not stick out). According to Profiler they share the same vendor and parts numbers though, which is strange enough. I will try XP and also stick them into another laptop (HP) for testing.

    Everytime Software Update is run it searches through the harddrive causing a considerable slowdown of other applications loading. I'm running professional Audio applications on this computer which need to load a heap of data and need full access to the CPU and HD. I don't know about Linux, but on Windows I can disable it when I don't want it. And when Apple offers a Preference Pane for something then I expect it to work and:

    a. not do something else than what is setup.
    b. not reset its setting with every logout.

    Thanks for the info. I checked another (quite old) notebook's Windows Standby power draw and it also draw over 2W. So the Macbook seems to be in line with others (while being more expensive though).

    That's what I usually do to save battery cycles. But it would be nice to have some documentation make users aware of this. Many people keep using sleep (lid close) instead of shutdown. A friend of mine does and obviously he's killing his battery without knowing. Not to mention that everytime I boot into OS X it keeps doing the Software Update thing and have me wait for being able to access the full power of my computer.

    But not when there is no device connected nor data transfered. FW is a DMA system with dedicated controllers doing the heap of the work. When comparing three very similiar audio interfaces (same manufacturer) then ExpressCard uses about 1% Kernel CPU time, FW 1.5% and USB 2.5%. That's when the interface's driver and the CPU are fully loaded!

    Apple know about this for a looong time. They even exchanged the LSI/Agere chip back to TI for their last MBP generation. Why do they build in faulty chips when they know about it and have support tell me it's a fault of my device (which works with over half a dozend other FW ports I've tested it in)? This is not a demonstration of how the end-user experience matters to Apple.

    I did and did and did and did and it doesn't matter that drivers ain't written by Apple. Apple chose to call their Windows driver package "Bootcamp" and have the end-user not know or care about where drivers and hardware originate from. So a user can expect Apple to deliver working drivers or point to a place where new drivers can be downloaded like every other mainboard manufacturer does (most offer updates for download themselves even).

    Furthermore it is up to Apple to tell their parts manufacturers (use some pressure) to fix their drivers when the whole of Apple's userbase is experiencing issues with them. In case of NVidia you cannot even contact them directly, they tell you to contact your mainboard/computer manufacturer! There was a "limited one-time special offer" by NVidia that allowed end-users to give direct feedback for 9600M GT products, and guess how many users knew about it anyway?

    First of all, I meant that the "original Hitachi that is shipped with the MBP comes with its own free-fall sensor"!!! :eek:

    It's easily noticed because it triggers very quickly, like when you have the MBP on your lap and make some movement with your leg (or now in its external enclosure when you move the enclosure). With the new HD I can pretty much move around the MBP as much as I want, it doesn't seem to trigger any audible head parking (and head-movement is comparibly loud on that drive).

    Maybe Apple's trigger is just alot less sensitive than what the original Hitachi used to be. I know the Motion-Sensor works properly, so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. But the fact that the MBP came with a free-fall featured HD makes me a bit suspicious. Again this is a case of lacking documentation.

    Sorry, but you are wrong. This is not about the "Send HD to sleep when Idle" option of OS X power-managment. Loading/Unloading the head every few seconds is not for the good of the drive, because "Load Cycles" of the drive increase at a frightenly fast rate.

    Good 2.5" drives allow upto 600.000 load cycles according to their specs. My "new" drive (about 2 months old) already reached 25000 load cycles and you can watch it climb when the HDAPM workaround is not applied. Besides that it's very unnerving to hear the drive do clickedyclack every few seconds. :confused:
  14. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #14 the previous poster said, it has little to do with "being more expensive." Simple electronics, governed by simple physics. No amount of money you throw at the situation is going to improve this significantly.

    This is because (at least with Apple) the graphics card is soldered to the logic board. Apple is responsible for the parts it incorporates into its machines at the user level, not Nvidia.
  15. Timur thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    I will try that. But since they are offering the only Genius bar in Germany and Apple's own Support website only lists the phone number you listed yourself I have little hope. They may even ask me to pay 49 EUR since my initial 90 days of "free" phone support are already over. I wouldn't pay these though, because these are warranty issues.

    Thanks alot, it's well appreciated! :) But don't waste your time too much on this, I've been looking all over Apple's web-pages and talked to their phone-"service" several times already.

    "Problems with an external device? That's not us!"
    "Problems with audio and graphic-card drivers? That's not us!"
    "Problems with our keyboard driver? Oh, that's us and should be solved! I will report to our technicians and send you an email for acknowledgment." ... half a year later ... nothing happend, no email, no nothing.

    Most often heard "solution": "Please send a mail to, that will report directly to our technicians. Yes, that's english, sorry. No, you wont get any answers from that email."

    Thinking about it: sounds a bit like doing prayers and hoping for anything good to happen, but not like dealing with a companie's "support".

    To make that clear: I'm not embarassed by the issues, these can happen with complex technical gear. I'm "confused" by how the issues are dealt with and the lack of professional technical support for a product that costs alot of extra money and is advertised to work better than any other PC.

    I understand that, although I'm asking myself how much power does it cost to just keep the RAM refreshed and react to keyboard input? Seems as if we've not come a long way since the days of that old laptop I just tried for comparison (which still uses an old Centrino 1.3 GHz CPU).

    Please tell that to Apple! They don't seem to like the idea of being responsible for having a properly working Bootcamp driver-set. :apple:

  16. sascha h-k macrumors 6502

    sascha h-k

    Apr 26, 2004
    vienna / austria
    hi timur,

    bitte schau x hier:

    da gibts sicher einen apple service provider in deiner nähe ... ;)

    late mbp 2008, da hast du ja ohnehin garantie !
  17. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Oh, it's probably too far away to be a viable option, but if you're planning on taking a trip to Zurich anytime soon there are Geniuses in the Swiss Apple Stores.
  18. magallanes macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2008
    South of Jurassic Park
    Apple customer tips nº1:

    So, or phone call, or fax or bust.
  19. pol0001 macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2008

    Check if there is a Gravis Store near you. The are an authorized Appel Service Provider. Used to go to them when I was living in Frankfurt.
  20. Timur thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    Hey Pol und Sascha,

    Danke für den Tip! :)

    Gravis Shops gibt's hier mehrere, genauso wie diverse andere "Service Provider". Es geht aber aus den Apple Seiten nirgends hervor, dass diese für Garantiefragen zuständig sind.

    Die Beschreibung, die man finden kann, scheint mir eher zu suggerieren, dass die auch nur die Apple Hotline anrufen:

    "Bei einem Apple Autorisierter Service Provider handelt es sich um von Apple anerkannte Service-Partner, die mit Apple zertifizierten Technikern zusammenarbeiten."

    Ich werd's auf jeden Fall mal versuchen, vielleicht haben die ja einen besseren Draht zu "echten" Technikern bei Apple.
  21. sascha h-k macrumors 6502

    sascha h-k

    Apr 26, 2004
    vienna / austria
    hi timor,

    alle apple service provider sind 100% für garantie zuständig; solange du selbige hast, kostet auch ein kostenvorschlag nichts (die müssen den defekt verifizieren und bestellen dann erst die benötigten teile, deshalb dauert's manchx auch etwas länger.

    eventuell kannst ja fragen ob "im hause" repariert wird oder auswärts. bevorzuge einen servicepartner der es selbst macht ..
  22. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Many of your issues are related to your installation and use of non-Apple hardware, including your disk drive. Because you're using such hardware, Apple support is likely to reasonably claim that most of your problems come from using that hardware. This is no different than most manufacturers. No computer manufacturer guarantees their hardware is compatible with hardware from other manufacturers, and most will not even attempt to provide support in such scenarios.
  23. Timur thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    No, most of my issues are related to the drivers, hardware and Firmware provided by Apple. Apple avertises that Windows Vista can be used on a Macbook Pro just like on "a native PC". Apple provides drivers for Windows and OS X that do not function properly.

    But yes, I replaced one Hitachi drive with another Hitachi drive, both follow the same SATA standards. My Apple documentation even described how to do that, so obviously Apple has no problem with me exchanging the HD. Besides that the idle-click problem is so well known that I could easily find the HDAPM workaround. One could think that Apple would try to find a solution to such a basic yet critical problem?!

    So when I'm using the provided ExpressCard slot to put an ExpressCard into it then I'm doing something wrong? And when I'm connecting a Firewire device to the provided Firewire port then the device is to blame, because it is not build by Apple?

    There are well established standards for Firewire and ExpressCard. Apple does not even sell their own equipment for these two ports! So are we meant not to use these ports because Apple does not build equipment for it? Is this why they removed those two ports from the non Pro Macbooks? :cool:

    And again, regardless of what's the source of my problems. Why does phone-support point me to some non-answering english language feedback mail-adress instead of appointing me a ticket number and getting in contact to some real technician who is able to at least understand and work on the problem.

    How many people know what DPC Latencies are and how they happen, how many telefon support people know about GPU performance states? Some problems need qualified personal to be handled.
  24. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    AppleCare Protection Plan

    b. Limitations. The Plan does not cover:
    (i) Installation, removal or disposal of the Covered Equipment, or installation, removal, repair, or maintenance of non-Covered Equipment (including accessories, attachments, or other devices such as external modems) or electrical service external to the Covered Equipment;

    Apple One (1) Year Limited Warranty

    This Limited Warranty applies only to hardware products manufactured by or for Apple that can be identified by the “Apple” trademark, trade name, or logo affixed to them. The Limited Warranty does not apply to any non-Apple hardware products or any software, even if packaged or sold with Apple hardware.

    That means no support for non-Apple products.
  25. Timur thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    Sorry, I was not clear enough with what I told you. I will repeat it in a single clear sentence:

    The non Apple gear connected to my Macbook Pro does not work properly because of Apple gear (aforementioned Macbook Pro) not working properly.

    In other words:

    The devices connected to Apple's Firewire port (LSI equipped) do not work because of a flaw of the port.

    The devices connected to Apple's ExpressCard slot (likely LSI equipped again) do not work because of a flaw of the slot and Apple EFI/Firmware.

    The devices connected to Apple's SATA port (NVidia equipped) do not work properly because of Apple's OS X setting wrong Advanced Power Settings.

    The Apple KBDMGR driver does not work properly because of Apple not developing it properly.

    The Apple MBP GPU (NVidia equipped) does not work properly because of the Apple Bootcamp drivers not working properly.

    The Apple MBP inbuild speakers (Realtek equipped) do not work properly on Windows because of the Apple's Bootcamp drivers not working properly.

    The Apple "Airport" (Broadcom equipped) does not work properly because of Apple OS X and Apple Bootcamp not providing proper drivers.

    The Apple MBP GPU (Nvidia equipped) draws too much power after awaking from sleep because of Apple OS X not providing proper drivers or sleep/awake routines.

    The Apple (tm) OS X (tm) (c) Software Update (tm) (c) (in) does not work properly because of Apple (tm) OS X (tm) (c) Software Update (tm) (c) (in) being very obviously buggy.

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