Getting lackluster support through Apple

Discussion in 'iMac' started by roadkill401, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #1
    The iMac is not an inexpensive computer. According to Apple, they consider the iMac to be a business class computer (not a low cost home machine). They do charge for Apple Care that extends the warranty of the unit to 3 years. So when something goes wrong with the computer, what level of expectation should you have for it's repair?

    The hard part that I am trying to wrap my head around is the notion of software error vs hardware issue. I can understand if the screen is not working, then that can be a hardware issue. But what about issues with drivers. You have some mac's that have consistant problems and other mac's that seem to work just fine. What is the contributing factor that is causing only some to fail and others to work?

    For example:

    I have an iMac that I cannot get contacts to properly assign photo's. Under login-items, the network drives gets reset every time the iMac reboots. The RTC offsets +4 hours on every reboot so you have to uncheck and recheck the set date & time automatically option. All items are technically software issues, but Apple cannot seem to re-produce the error on any other iMac in their test labs. So is it really a software issue?

    The problem can be that the underlying hardware is just enough out of spec or out of tolerance that the software does not behave as expected and so I get the error but other iMac's that are built with proper spec/tolerance will work just fine. So the software issue is really a hardware issue that is getting hidden.

    What is the expectation from a business class machine that is should just work? At what point does it become enough of a problem that you need to demand that your computer is not really an Apple, but actually a LEMON and needs to be replaced.
     
  2. cyclingplatypus macrumors 65816

    cyclingplatypus

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Location:
    Earth
    #2
    You certainly have an argument for a lemon - you've posted more than a few times that you have had issues. Did the bluetooth start working correctly?
     
  3. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #3
    Have you configured the network drives to connect automatically?

    As for the time issue this is offen solved by changing your dns server to 8.8.8.8 & 8.8.4.4
     
  4. roadkill401 thread starter macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #4
    Nope. the bluetooth I gave up on and bought a USB keyboard and a logitech mouse. The fun part however is that you can't boot the computer with them plugged in as that causes the machine to lock up.

    So for ease of use, I have an external USB hub that I unplug with my devices connected that I disconnect when I boot the machine, and plug back in when the boot process starts. To get windows bootcamp to work, I need to adjust the startup disk inside of system preferences as needed.
    According to Apple, just another software bug, but as these items are not all Apple original items, they don't fall under the Apple Care support contract so I just live with my work around
    --- Post Merged, Apr 11, 2016 ---
    Yes I have a set of networks drivers that I use. I have a large Synology NAS with the Apple apf:// set up correctly. Works fine from the family mac mini but the iMac just doesn't like it and will correclty map the first drive fine, but resets all the other 3 drivers that are supposed to connect get reset to the same network path name as the first. it just overwrites what was configured. All I have gotten from Apple so far is "that is strange, I have never seen that and I should contact Synology". But as I said, it works fine with my Mac Mini and Synology point the finger at Apple. so I am stuck in a no win with that one.

    Sounds like a strange work around for the clock. Why should putting the DNS over to direct to Google fix the iMac from reading the RTC and the correct time zone. I have my own internal DNS server in my network that I quite like.
     
  5. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #5
    Strange on the network side have you done a fresh install to see if it's some left over buggy code?

    Dns wise there was an issue a while ago where the rtc wasn't being pinged quickly enough causing erratic time behaviour
     
  6. roadkill401 thread starter macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #6
    That sounds like an Apple Care thing to say. I have wiped and re-installed this iMac at least 35x over the course of the past 15 months being told that perhaps a re-install will fix this.

    I smirk and think about how many jokes have been said in this forum about Microsoft Windows and having to re-install. Is OSX code now worse than Windows95 in it can't clean up after itself, or correctly load itself that it comes pre-broken on a reinstall?

    Hence my question really on when is a software bug really hardware issue?
     
  7. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #7
    With all the work you've done, I'd guess they've asked you to try to reproduce the issues in a newly-created administrative user account. What happened?

    You have a number of different issues, and while it'd be very convenient to trace them all to the same cause (lemon), life is rarely that simple. The items that seem to be affected by restarting (time server, USB, network drives, startup disk selection) might be traceable to a common source (perhaps a problem with the SMC and/or PRAM), but the issue with photos not appearing in Contacts might be unrelated to the others.

    I'm curious about exactly what happens with the Windows/startup disk issue. If you select the Boot Camp partition in System Preferences > Startup Disk, Windows does NOT startup the next time you restart the Mac? If it boots into OS X instead, is Boot Camp still selected as the startup disk in System Preferences, or has it switched back to Mac OS?

    Personally, I'd try to troubleshoot one issue at a time. Say, create a new administrative user, and see if I can duplicate the Boot Camp issue. If it can be duplicated, I'd set that issue aside, create another clean administrative user account, and see if another issue that's affected by restarting can be duplicated (say, the USB keyboard).
     
  8. roadkill401 thread starter macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #8
    I have been working with the top people at Apple for about 3 months. Yes, the system has been wiped, reinstalled, new test accounts made, new apple id's used. I have even tried using the iMac with a tinfoil hat on my head just incase there are aliens trying to mess with my brain.

    The problem is that Apple takes months ontop of months for Engineering to do anything and as they don't talk with you, you are left with a $3k+ machine that you have sitting in the corner that you don't dare do any real work on as it's a flaky pile of junk. I went back to my 3 years old $300 compaq windows laptop as it's more reliable.

    My question was simply when do you consider a software problem to be caused by flaky hardware?
     
  9. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #9
    The answer to a question about complex issues (and yours are certainly complex), is "It depends." Either one finds a smoking gun and knows it's a hardware (or software) issue, or one bails out, cuts ones losses, and assumes it's one or the other.

    At this stage, I'd be very tempted to say, "Let's take a new Mac, migrate the data, and see if the problems travel to the new machine." I'd expect that some of the problems will travel, but not necessarily all of them - the probabilities are in favor of software and configuration flaws, not hardware.

    As to whether "...underlying hardware is just enough out of spec or out of tolerance that the software does not behave as expected" - while conceivable, we're talking about digital gear, not analog. That binary go/no-go makes "a bit out of spec here, a bit out of spec there" far less common.

    Manufacturers (and repair shops) run complex test software on their hardware, from individual chips all the way up to fully assembled systems, to ensure everything is performing as expected - every unit, not a statistical sampling. If you need to determine whether a hardware fault exists, you strip away the possibility of faulty code/configurations by running those same hardware tests - pass/fail (some can be performed by holding the "D" key when you start up your Mac). I'm quite sure that if they're Apple's "top people," they've run hardware diagnostics on your machine. So, unless you're in a position to prove that the diagnostic tests are themselves flawed, your issues are most likely firmly placed on the doorstep of "software" - billions of lines of code, countless configuration settings, any one of which could be enough to cause an issue for you.

    Intermittent hardware faults are another matter - they're simply hard to pin down. I can tell stories.... lots of stories. But flaky connectors, poorly-soldered circuit boards, electrolytic capacitors in the midst of dielectric breakdown... do not fit my definition of "out of tolerance." At those times when they are broken, they're broken, plain and simple.

    If Apple can't duplicate that issue with your RTC, and you have your own internal DNS server... we have to think about the difference between your network environment, and Apple's. If you only have the issue on your internal network, then the network and/or your Mac's saved network configurations are potential contributing factors. I know, all your other machines are behaving normally on your network, but that is not a conclusive argument, as anyone with extensive network troubleshooting experience could tell you.

    I sense you're trying to apply Sherlock Holmes' logic, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." However, to establish the "truth" of hardware failure, you must either produce clear evidence of hardware failure (which has not happened), or eliminate software as a cause (which is much harder to do). When you say things like,
    you are doing quite the opposite. Instead of testing the hypothesis, it seems you're trying to point the "investigation" towards your desired outcome.
     
  10. MrGimper macrumors 603

    MrGimper

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Location:
    Andover, UK
    #10
    My brother had a 9 month old macbook air he bought 2nd hand that 3 finger scrolling wouldn't work on. He took it into Apple. The couldn't replicate it on other machines and the problem still existed after they reinstalled the OS. They just replaced his machine with a new model.
     
  11. roadkill401 thread starter macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #11
    So Apple Engineering decided to get back to me on one of the problems I am having.

    I have a Synology DS412+ NAS. not a cheep drive by any means, and have it set up in a RAID5 single volume with multiple shares off it. I use the NAS for the family media center along with work, offline photo/video storage and a secondary backup point for personal files.

    Inside System Preferences under the Users&Groups there is a tab option for Login Items. This allows you to log into remote drives or volumes on startup. So it seemed to me to be a logic spot to have the drives that I use every day automatically logged into on my desktop so I could just click them when I needed them. I defined a list of 5 shares off the Synology NAS to log into. This is saved under the Library / Preferences / com.apple.loginitems.plist

    However on my iMac, as soon as you reboot, this plist gets overwritten and the list of drives to login is repaced so the first two drives are correct and the last 3 are just a repeat of the second line. So for example. instead of loading Home, Media, Photos, TV Shows, Music. it is replaced with a list of Home, Media, Media, Media, Media.

    It doesn't matter what drives you use. Put them into any order and the second item on the list replaces the 3rd 4th 5th etc item on the list.

    Now Apple Engineering seem to think that this is OK and the problem is on my NAS drive and I should not be defining logical shares on the NAS but have it just one big drive (with apparently no Access Control or security). And the issue on the iMac of it overwriting this plist is not a software or hardware bug at all.

    Any ideas on how to fix this as Apple clearly has ZERO clue.
     
  12. roadkill401 thread starter macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #12
    Apple stands stead fast that the issue of their OS overwriting the loginitems.plist file is no fault of Apple and there is nothing they will do to look further into this issue.

    Guess there are those who have good luck with Apple, and those of us that can't seem to get them to work. Worst $3600 dollars spent on a computer.
     

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