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Technology irritations

When we want to protect ourselves we often find we are trapped in a global economy.  Yet when we want to exploit a world without frontiers we can find the barriers are still there.  They are imposed, for example, by Amazon and Apple.   

Often I find something I want on the UK Amazon site but not the French.  I get round this by having separate accounts in Amazon France, Germany and UK.  How silly.  I suppose it is because although Amazon may be a global force, many companies using its platform are competing against each other – but that is just conjecture. Still, I go on using Amazon, albeit with much guilt.

Similarly with Apple: your whole shopping via Apple world depends on the location of your Apple ID (and associated bank account).  Well, my main Apple ID is in the UK. I chose this so that I could have access to a wider range of goods (apps, music, films…) in English.  Lazy, I know, but I prefer to read and listen for leisure in English rather than French.       

Every so often I find something I need is only available in the French Apple App Store.  This is usually the case with apps relating to French banks and utilities, such as phones. Managing my electricty account has become almost entirely done online and, irritatingly, the EDF apps for phones are more versatile than using the web on my computer. So yesterday I tried to download the app EDF&MOI, which is only on the French site. 

To be able to download from the French Apple site, I have created a second Apple ID, associated with my French bank account. Using it is annoyingly complicated:  I have to sign out of my main Apple ID (with all sorts of scary messages about the danger of losing data or apps) and log in (temporarily) to my French Apple ID – just long enough to download the app and then reverse the procedure. Yesterday I tried to do this and every time I had entered the details for the French account, I got a message saying I had first to update my iPhone software – which was already updated.

After searching the internet for solutions I rang Apple.This is where paying more for Apple products has an upside: I have always found the user support superb. Daniel, my support person for the day, was very personable, understood immediately my problem, and took about 45 minutes trying to solve it.  Most of the time he was able to remotely observe my phone and guide me as to what to do with a little red arrow. Finally he was equally baffled, admitted defeat and said he would pass me up a level of support.

Unfortunately Sylvia turned out to work for technical support and had none of the interpersonal skills of a user support person.  Despite my many appeals to her to slow down (playing the dumb foreigner) she reverted to mumbling a staccato, robotic French (with heavy Moroccan accent) bearing little resemblance to ordinary speech. Anyhow, what she finally did was to download a new version of the iOS system to my Mac, gave me detailed instructions how to use this to update my iPhone, said this should solve the problem, and left me to sort this out. 

An hour later, fed up, I found the problem was still there.  I hate to be defeated, so this evening after going out to lunch, I will have another go at Apple support.Although maybe first Iwill try another ploy I thought up on my walk this morning.  I will create a third Apple ID, using another of my endless accounts, link it to my French card, and see if it can avoid the bug. No, hang on, that won’t work. I would then have French apps linked to two separate Apple IDs – which would mean yet more complications when they needed updating…

Yesss! It is 5.30pm and everything is working. I have signed out of my UK Apple id, signed into my French Apple id, downloaded the app EDF & Moi , signed out of the French id and back into the UK id. And everything works!

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