Apple Provides Technical Support via Twitter for the First Time

Apple customers are now able to ask for help from Apple Support by posting an inquiry on Twitter. The company began the service on March 3.

Apple Support, Twitter, Apple, iPhones, iPads, technical support, social media, MacBook, Mac, Apple Watch, tweets

Apple has been providing technical support to its customers for years on its Website, by phone and inside its Apple Stores, but until now Twitter was not a place where users could find help.

That changed on March 3 when Apple unveiled its @AppleSupport page on Twitter, which by 12 p.m. EST on March 4 already had more than 2,800 tweets and was being followed by more than 131,000 people.

The first tweet posted on the page was a simple introduction and welcome message to users, followed by a "Let's get started" message aimed at Apple users.

"We're here to provide tips, tricks and helpful information when you need it most," the page continued. "We're available every day to answer your questions, from 5am-8pm PST."

Users can find "Tips and tutorials from the same Apple Advisors you know and trust—now available on Twitter," the page explained.

Apple did not respond to several emails from eWEEK about the new Twitter support page.

Interestingly, Apple is a bit late to the game in providing customer service via Twitter. Many companies, from airlines to consumer product makers, have been using Twitter for several years to respond to consumer complaints or comments and to tout their own wares and services.

Among the first questions asked by Apple customers on the new Twitter page were inquiries involving a kext bug that prevents new laptops from booting and Magic Mouse 2 scrolling problems after reinstalling OS X 10.10 and Windows 8.1 on a machine, according to the posts.

Also posted were issues regarding battery problems in Apple devices and how to get a machine started after forgetting the answers to security questions, as well as inquiries about disk space messages that are not accurate, Bluetooth connection problems and how to recover critical files that somehow went missing.

In February, Apple's support team responded to reports from owners of iPhone 6 smartphones that were displaying an "Error 53" message and disabling their phones, according to an earlier eWEEK story. After looking into the issue, Apple began advising owners of damaged iPhone 6 smartphones that have been repaired by third-party service centers to contact Apple Support if their phones are now displaying the error message.

The Error 53 messages appeared on late-model iPhones if the handset's home button, with its fingerprint ID mechanism built-in, was replaced by a non-Apple service center or if the home button cable was replaced with a non-Apple part.

Apple acknowledged the issue and said the error message is part of the phone's security system checks meant to protect customers. The iOS operating system is designed to check that the Touch ID sensor in an iPhone or iPad correctly matches the device's other components. If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled. This security measure is meant to protect a device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used, according to the company.

Apple recently announced that customers can now trade in damaged iPhones toward the purchase of new iPhones, replacing Apple's long-standing policy of not accepting damaged iPhones on trade. Under the rules, Apple will accept late model broken iPhones that have damaged screens, cameras or buttons and will credit customers $50 for an iPhone 5s, $200 for an iPhone 6 and $250 for an iPhone 6 Plus.

Under the previous Apple Store Reuse and Recycle iPhone trade-in program, older iPhones with cracked displays or broken cameras and buttons were not eligible for trade-ins. The updated trade-in program now allows Apple Stores to credit customers for damaged iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus handsets.