After years of avoiding social media for customer support, Apple started a surprise Twitter account today (March 3). The verified account, @AppleSupport, puts Twitter users in direct contact with Apple service reps who can help you with your MacBook, Mac, iPhone or iPad tech support issues. The bio for the account says the company plans to use the social media account to offer tips, tricks and answers.
In its first three hours, the account sent more than 300 responses to users, providing links to Apple Support articles and asking users to move the conversation to Direct Messages. It quickly gained more than 56,000 followers. Apple's account tweets with the same upbeat, positive attitude that we've found when calling the company's phone support in our annual Tech Support Showdown investigations.
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I reached out to @AppleSupport, asking for help reversing the scrolling direction on a trackpad, and how to change the video recording resolution on an iPhone. The reps replied to the iPhone video question in 57 minutes, asking me to DM the account with the name of the version of iOS on our iPhone. While I appreciate the thoroughness, a helpful stranger who was following the exchange sent complete instructions for changing this setting in a single tweet.
It took Apple 1 hour and 37 minutes to respond to my trackpad question, asking me to DM the name of the exact device I was using. Since scrolling options are the same for all Apple trackpads, this struck me as unnecessary. But they are pretty quick, when compared to the speed of response we experienced in the Tech Support Showdown.
Apparently the Twitter account will be used for more than just answering questions, as Apple posted instructions for turning a list into a check-list in its Notes app. I expect Apple might use this account to explain new features in future operating systems and devices.
The lack of tech support over social media has been one of the few problems we've dinged Apple for in our annual Tech Support Showdown, so it's good to see the company finally taking Twitter seriously. Users looking for help in languages other than English should be aware that the Twitter account will only direct them to Apple's support website, which offers advice in a variety of languages.
It has yet to be seen if this will put an end to some non-verified Twitter accounts that claim to offer tech support, such as @SupportApple. There's also no word on if a Facebook Apple Support page might be in the works, but we'll keep our eyes peeled.