It seems as though Apple is working on an app that will put iPhone repairs in the hands of customers themselves.
Screenshots of the app being developed were leaked by tech site uSwitch, suggesting the app will help users troubleshoot an array of issues on their iPhone. The app will also ask basic questions about the repair of the device, and will allow users to book a service, send their device in for service, and take other courses of action, such as making a phone call to Apple. The app will even allow users to chat with an advisor directly from the phone.
Within the app, users will also be able to find support documents for different topics and how to solve particular problems, such as doing an iTunes restore, upgrading to the latest version of iOS, or maximizing battery life.
Access to the app is tied to an Apple ID, and will list all devices that a user owns, giving support for pre-defined issues, as is currently available on the Apple website. From that point, users will be able to walk through the list of support options. The app is reportedly very interactive, which could help users troubleshoot.
“At launch the app has all of the devices registered to your Apple ID. From there you have a range of pre-defined problems, which are common,” said Sonny Dickson in an interview with uSwitch. “After that the app asks if you are on the latest version of iOS, and offers a range of support options, including taking to your carrier, contacting support and setting up a Genius Bar appointment. It’s highly interactive, and well integrated.”
Really the app will mimic the Apple support website, and while the information there won’t be totally new, having it in an easy-to-use app will be handy for those who need it. Not only that, but the Apple support website is often quite complex when it comes to navigation, and offers a mixture of official support documents and community discussions about certain support issues. Many of these discussions span years of chat about an issue, with sometimes the same issue popping up each time a new iteration of a product has been released.
It’s also important that Apple release a mobile version of its support section considering the fact that more and more people are spending more and more time on their mobile devices. Users can currently schedule a Genius Bar appointment on the Apple Store iOS app, however if the company is able to get more people to use the app, it could help cut down on the strain at the Genius Bar. Often times there are long lines and wait times at the Genius Bar, especially at popular Apple Stores.
The app itself is broken down into a number of categories, allowing users to access support documents for each of them. Categories include “Battery Power & Charging,” “Bands & Service Requests,” “Setup & Usage,” and “Health & Fitness.” Users will also be able to view and setup their AppleCare subscriptions and troubleshoot pairing and connectivity.
There isn’t yet any information about when the new app will be released.
Support for a product could prove as important as the release of the product itself. If something breaks or isn’t working soon after it’s bought, that’s a major blow for customer trust in a company. If Apple stands behind its products and offers as many methods of support as possible to its customers, it shows that it cares about customers and wants them to be able to use their products as long as they want.
Of course, Apple also stands to earn money through services like this, and the app will push sales of AppleCare and AppleCare+. Not only that but if someone breaks their phone, they will often find the cheapest way of getting it repaired, whether that be an official Apple repairperson or someone else. By putting the ability to get a phone serviced in the hands of the user, Apple could significantly reduce how much people are going to other services in order to get their phone repaired. Plus, as mentioned, use of the app could make a big dent on strain at the Genius Bar.