Recently Apple has revamped their Support Community page, making it easier to use, with a few welcomed features that all Mac users should know about. I keep the Apple Support Community site bookmarked and easily accessible for those times – though increasingly rare – when I have troubleshooting questions. Let’s explore some of the useful upgrades to the site and how to use it.
Create An Apple ID & Profile
If you haven’t already done so, be sure to create an Apple ID. This is useful in nearly everything you do with Apple, from buying apps to asking questions about problems you’re experiencing with your Apple product. You will only have to create your Apple ID one time to use it for all Apple‘s products and services. You can do this when you link to the Support Community site.
One thing to keep in mind when visiting the Support Community board is that all the help you receive is voluntary. If your product is out of warranty, you could pay Apple up to $70 for a certified Apple support technician to troubleshoot your problems. So it’s important when you use the Support Community to help others help you.
The first way to do this is by filling out your community profile, most importantly the information about the Apple products you use. If for example you have not upgraded to the latest Apple operating system, it’s important to let others know that in your profile. For sometimes not installing the latest update could be the source of your problem. If you’re a Window’s user, for example, asking about how to add photos to your iPhone from your computer, it’s important that you let potential responders know that you’re not a Mac user.
You will find that in visiting Apple‘s Support Community, most feedback you receive is generously helpful. However, the one thing that irks some responders is getting questions that have already been addressed in the board. So before you sign on and post a question, do a quick search to see if your problem has been addressed before.
In the revised version of the Support Community, Apple has made it easier to find out if your issues have already been raised or addressed. When you sign in and link to the discussion board, you first locate a community from a list that consists of all the Apple hardware and software that Apple makes.
You link to a community from the list provided, or type a few letters of the name of the product you need to troubleshoot.
Once you’re in the community, you do a search by asking a question. You want to be as specific as possible in your question, for this will get you better results. So, for example, don’t just type “MacBook Air”; instead, you might specifically ask, “Why is the fan so loud in the MacBook Air?”. If then you don’t get the results you’re looking for, click the “Submit my question to the community.”
Monitoring ‘Your Stuff’
Once you have posted your question, it may take a few hours or overnight for it be responded to. In the revised Support Community, Apple has made it even easier to monitor your questions and responses. When you sign into the discussions, you can click on “Your Stuff” at the right-top side of the page.
You get a useful set of choices, including a link to the discussion questions you have posted or responded to. It’s very important that when you post a question that you monitor the responses, even if you figure out the problem yourself.
When you do get responses to queries, be sure to mark those responses as helpful. A simple click, of “Liked” will cost you nothing, and it’s a great way to thank responders for taking their time out to respond to your question.
You can also bookmark or get email notifications for any question on the board. You’re automatically subscribed to any discussion thread you create or respond to, and of course you can turn off that subscription when you no longer need it. You also now can view related responses to topical issues, which might also be helpful in addressing your own problem.
Another feature added to the Support Community is the ability to bookmark threads. This is especially useful if you’re troubleshooting a difficult problem that you need to monitor on a regular basis.
Become An Apple Genius
It’s good courtesy to not only ask questions on the Support Community board, but to also help answer them. Typically, each time I ask a question on the board, I try to address at least three or four others posted there. This type of support is what helps keep the community active.
Though you won’t get paid to participate in the Support Community, you do receive points for each response that is voted “helpful” by other community members.
If you plan on visiting the Support Community a lot, you might want to personalize your community homepage. When you sign into the community, click the “Your View” tap under your username.
From there you get options for laying out and adding widgets to your homepage. If you’re responsible for taking care of a lot of Macs, you may find this homepage setup very useful.
Let us know what you think of Apple’s new Support Community, and for other sites about troubleshooting your Mac, check out my article here.