Two months ago, I changed email service providers (and, thus, my email address). Simple, huh?
Wong. If you are an Apple customer, with iTunes and iCloud accounts, your email address is synonymous with your Apple ID. After going through the tedious process of notifying various friends and businesses of the email change, I discovered I could no longer access my iTunes or iCloud accounts. Why, you ask? Because every time I tried, it kept directing me back to my old Apple ID (the old email address). I repeatedly was confronted and confounded with screens which wanted my password, but would not let me change the related Apple ID. iTunes and iCloud would not recognize the old password or the new password. Hunting through “settings” on my iPhone revealed no place to change my Apple ID (it was always grayed out).
I turned to the online Apple User Forums. Wonderful folks! They directed me on how to fix the problem. I don’t remember all of the steps I had to take, but they included: temporarily switching back to my old Apple ID (fortunately, I had not yet cancelled the old email account so Apple could perform its due diligence in verifying me); turning off find my iPhone; deleting my iCloud account and starting all over again; and doing a hard reboot of the iPhone. I then had to repeat all of these steps (yes, there were more) for my iPad.
Although my frustration remained (why is it so hard just to change your email address?), the problem was solved. I had access. Or so I thought.
Fast forward to this past week, Apple announced a “limited recall for certain iPhone 5’s” and, since the battery life on mine was really sucking, I checked my phone’s serial number on their website. It says it qualified. So I scheduled an appointment with the Apple Genius Bar staff at their Bay Street store in Emeryville, CA.
Upon arrival, they checked my battery, and discovered that it is still good despite being in the designated batch (not every battery in the batch will actually be bad, they explained). I complained that it must be because my battery life sucked. He took another look at the phone and discovered there was some corruption to the iOS software which, admittedly, was my fault. Like a lot of you, I repeatedly double tap the home button to get to the app switcher and quit apps by swiping up. Guess what? You’re not supposed to that! The employee explained that even though the apps appear to still be running, they are dormant and taxing the battery in minute amounts. That process is only for quitting apps that are frozen. So – don’t try that at home kids!
He offered to reset the phone in order to wipe its memory (and the battery’s memory). I said yes. My mistake. We went through that process, he ran me through how and where to look on the phone for the button that chooses which iCloud backup to restore from when I got home when I was on my own wi-fi network. I left the store.
I got home. Discovered that when I chose that restore option, the next screen it led me to wanted my password re-entered (for obvious security reasons) but…guess what? It pre-populated the Apple ID for me. You know what’s coming next, right? It was the old Apple ID coming back to haunt me!
The phone did offer me the opportunity to continue on without restoring from that iCloud backup (so that the phone would be functional) but warned that it would not give me all of my purchased content and, of course, I still wouldn’t be able to access anything in iCloud.
Furious, I called the store. Could not get a live human being on the phone. (I later found out the trick to do so: don’t respond to the recording with anything like “my iPhone is broken,” rather ask a retail question like “how much is the new iPhone?” or “does the store have the new iPad Air in stock?” You’ll thank me later for that advice.
Still furious, I drove to the store. Encountered a very nice young woman who navigated to the screen where she was able to change the Apple ID to the correct (new) one, and began the download of my iCloud data for me…over the store’s wi-fi…which is very slow to say the least. She warned me not to leave the store because it would cancel the download and I would have to start all over again (but be back at the same initial problem of having the wrong Apple ID confronting me).
So I stayed. And I stayed, and I stayed. Until they kicked me out at closing time. Because of the limited number of stools available in the store, I was on my feet for over three hours. The only plus side to this incredible time sink was that I had brought my textbook with me, and I did all my reading.
They told me I could stand outside the store and still be connected to their wi-fi, which I did for a little while, until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I said screw it, and even if I lost the still-not-retrieved-photos, left.
Guess what happened next? You got it. I walked in my door, pulled my iPhone out of my pocket, set it on the counter, and glanced at it. Without me pushing any button or selecting anything, it had automatically connected to my home wi-fi and resumed the download of my photos and apps. And it did so at near the pace of lightning.
So. Approximately four hours of my life wasted that I will never get back because the Apple Genius Bar employee isn’t such a genius after all. And don’t get me started on how many times she kept telling me “we respect your time.” Gah! I can think of at least one Apple employee who needs a new job.
Of course all this wouldn’t have happened if Apple didn’t make changing your Apple ID such an incredible hardship.
There are reasons for that, a different employee explained to me, but I will address that topic in my next blog posting which will be titled “Guilty until proven innocent.”
In the meanwhile, thanks, Apple, for the migraine I suffered a sleepless night with, thanks for making me run out of migraine medication, thanks for the heartburn, thanks for wasting my time.
The Apple slogan of “It Just Works” is bullshit.