Finding help on your own–Support Communities

Have you run into a problem with your computer, tablet or smartphone?

Chances are, somebody else has had the exact same problem and it has been discussed, and solved, in a support community forum accessible on the Internet.

Remember my problem with my iPad battery draining after installing iOS7? I found the solution, in that case, in a conversation in the Apple Support Communities.

How I Use Support Communities (Apple example)

ScreenShot Apple Support Communities Front Page

Apple Support Communities Front Page

Once I have opened the Apple Support Communities Front Page, I usually Sign-in (see 1 in Figure: Apple Support Communities Front Page). Use your AppleID to sign in. Note: this step is optional if you just want to look around, but you need to sign in to receive notifications and updates regarding conversations in the community).

Next, I Search the communities for a conversation relevant to my current issue (see 2 in Figure: Apple Support Communities Front Page). To date, I have always found an existing conversation that solves my issue.

If you don’t find a solution, then you can pose your own question (see 3 in Figure: Apple Support Communities Front Page) and wait for the community to respond (you will receive email notifications when your question receives a response if you have signed in).

Support Communities for key technologies

What I like best about iOS7

I promised I would tell you what I like best about iOS7. Remember, I have an iPhone 4 and iPad 2—so there are a number of iOS7 features I don’t have, including things that more recently released devices had in iOS6.

That aside, there is lots to like about iOS7…

My favourite things about iOS7—for an iPhone 4 / iPad 2

  1. Apple hasn’t abandoned these older devices—yet
    Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but the rate of obsolescence on consumer devices makes my hair stand on end. The iPhone 4 was announced in June 2010 and the  iPad 2 in March 2011. Thankfully, they are both hanging-in in December 2013. (Based on Apple’s historical product announcement cycle, iOS8 should be upon us sometime in 2014—June or fall. That may be the end of iOS support for these older devices.)
  2. No loss of performance
    My devices and all of my apps seem to be just as responsive as they were when iOS6 was installed. iOS7 features beyond the capacity of the device’s hardware simply don’t show up—see iOS7 features that are unavailable on iPhone 4 and Pad 2
  3. Automatic app updates
    I am unable to keep myself from dealing with notifications from the App Store app. iOS7 has a great feature, Automatic app update (your choice whether to turn it on or not), to keep all of your apps current without any involvement on your part. To turn on Automatic app updates:
    1. Select Settings
    2. Scroll down and Select iTunes & App Store
    3. Scroll down until you see AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS
    4. Turn on Updates (see photo)
      Automatic Downloads

      Turn on Updates under AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS

  4. The interface.
    At first iOS7’s interface seemed more primitive than iOS6, but it has grown on me. I am not a graphic designer so I can’t go into specifics…it just looks nice.
  5. Safari
    The changes to Safari aren’t going to overwhelm iOS6 users. As you get the hang of the new features, I think you will agree, they are make browsing a better experience. For an in-depth guide to what’s in iOS7’s Safari see iOS7: The Ultimate Safari Guide.
  6. Search
    Search used to be accessed by swiping the device screen, from left to right, until you reached the search page (the leftmost of your device’s Home screens). Now, search is available from any Home screen page—just swipe down and the search box will appear across the top of the screen.

iOS7 Features that are Unavailable on iPhone 4 and iPad 2

Features, like Siri, that were introduced on the iPhone 4s still don’t work on older devices. No surprise there. Some other things you won’t get:

  • Maps—no 3D flyover or turn-by-turn navigation
  • Camera—no panorama or filters (but you can still apply filters later using various apps)
  • AirPlay—no mirroring of your iOS7’s screen on your TV screen (via Apple TV)
  • AirDrop
  • Graphical effects—translucency, live wallpapers, parallax effect on the Home screen

Upgrading to iOS7—Is it a good idea for older (supported) devices?

Yup, just do it. Here’s my story…

I am an advocate of keeping all operating system and app software up-to-date, but I was leery about upgrading my iPhone 4 and iPad 2 to iOS7. You see, I remember what happened to my iPhone 3 when I upgraded it to iOSv (v=I forget the version). In that case, my phone essentially froze and I went in search of a downgrade as quickly as I could.

When iOS7 came out this fall, I waited. I researched. I stalked the Apple Support Communities (more about that in a later post). I was cautious. Around me, friends’ iPhones were running iOS7. I started feeling like a dinosaur (not a good feeling when I spend a good deal of my time helping those same friends with their technology).

I finally bit the bullet after an update to iOS7 was released that addressed early problems.

I upgraded the iPad 2 first. The upgrade went smoothly—I started the upgrade and wandered off to do other stuff, so I am not sure how long it took to complete; probably in the range of 15-30 minutes. A bit of time going through the iOS7 setup screens and I was in business. Same experience on the iPhone.

Did I run into problems? Yes, but only one.

The iPad battery drained incredibly quickly after the upgrade. I found a post in the Apple Support Community that told me I would improve battery life by doing the following:

    1. Turn on Airplane Mode
    2. Turn off the iPad (fully off, not just the screen)
    3. Restart the iPad
    4. Turn off Airplane Mode

Did it work? Yes, it did. Do I have any idea why or how this worked? Sorry, I don’t.

Bottom line: I am running iOS7 on the oldest devices that Apple says will run iOS7. I have not experienced any performance degradation (over several weeks now). I am enjoying the iOS7 experience and new features (more about the features I like best in an upcoming post). Don’t hesitate. Upgrade your supported device. You will be glad you did.