After being spotted in some international markets in November, the standalone Apple Support app has now made its debut in the United States and possibly all other markets. Originally slated for release today, December 14, the app was seen up and running ahead of schedule last night.
Similar to online support, the support app provides documented help as well as personalized chat services, phone and email support for a wide range of possible issues in multiple languages. If you dropped your phone and cracked the screen, for example, you can use the chat service to help set an appointment for you at the Apple Store.
The service was originally seen in the Netherlands, and at the time Apple Insider reported that it offered support for Macs, iPads and iPhones.
However, the app is exclusively for iOS users, and not available for Mac OS.
The Apple Support app is free to download, and you can access it on iTunes from your iOS device running iOS 9.0 or higher. All iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users who have upgraded to iOS 9 or above can download the app to their devices.
After downloading the mobile app, you’ll see a list of all your iOS devices linked to your Apple ID. Tapping on a device’s name will take you to another screen showing you product information such as IMEI and other hardware details. In that section, you should also be able to see your AppleCare status so you can tell at a glance how much time you have left before your renew and so on.
You’ll also see a section for Support Documents covering several documented issues and how to deal with them. You might also see external links under specific issues, such as links to articles showing you how to perform various actions to address those issues.
If a particular topic doesn’t have the information you seek, you’ll be able to see chat and phone support wait times. You can also email support from there, join a chat queue or dial their support number.
One of the best things we’ve seen about this Apple Support app is the fact that you don’t have to remember details about your device when contacting support. That’s usually the most unpleasant part of the experience, as anyone who has ever contacted tech support knows well enough – not necessarily Apple’s.
By integrating iCloud data into the support app, Apple has made this part of the process effortless for the customer – a typical Apple move in our opinion.
What’s surprising, however, is that the company stealthily introduced the app, first as an assumed test in the Netherlands and then quietly into the U.S. App Store. You’d have thought they’d make some show of it.
But then, Apple being Apple, they probably don’t want outsiders to know that even Apple users need help from time to time! Hear that, Microsoft?
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