All too eager to get cut and paste and a few other new features on my iPhone, I downloaded the latest 3.0 upgrade from iTunes not long after it was released.

However, after something like an hour of waiting, and just as the download was about to be completed, I get an error message on iTunes, and my iPhone screen looked like this:

iPhone error

I wasn’t the only one: a quick Twitter search revealed that plenty of other users were experiencing the same problem, and nobody had a clue how to solve it.

The obvious answer was to head for Apple.com to find out what the error message meant, and how it could be fixed. However, Apple had completely failed to anticipate the problem.

A search on the iPhone support page for the specific error message drew a blank, so I searched for the more generic term ‘unknown error occurred’ and got this:

Apple support fail

With thousands of users expected to download the software update, you might think Apple would be ready to provide some online support in case of such problems, but even an hour or so after people starting having these problems, there was nothing on the website.

I was sent this link on Twitter a couple of hours later, from the Apple site, which does address the issue, but why did it not come up as a search result?

Also, though there is a link to the 3.0 software upgrade from the iPhone support page, you just get this list of new features, where it should link to the troubleshooting page.

Apple knew that thousands would be eager to get the latest upgrade, and that there was the potential for problems, so why they could not have anticipated such issues and provided clearer support on their website? Or else it could have had someone monitoring Twitter and responding directly to customer concerns.

This is something a lot of companies could do better, as customers will turn to a website for support and information when there is a major issue, and providing effective support and information online here can reduce pressure on stores and call centres.

In my case, rebooting my laptop and connecting to iTunes again solved
the problem, but I wasted a lot of time looking for support from Apple
when it should have been much easier to find.