After nearly three years, this will be the last post on AlliOSNews. This weekend I experienced customer service so shockingly poor – so utterly unacceptable that I can no longer support Apple. It is disappointing but having spent the last two days in a red mist of anger, it is time to kiss them off pretty much the same way they have kissed me off.
It started with me waking up and checking my email. at 4:44 AM someone changed my password on my iCloud account. Now I have enabled two-factor authentication on the account and, logic dictates, that even if someone managed to get the password, they would have to have my other information (recovery key, the physical devices in hand) to get into my account. Clearly that was not the case.
With a bit of a panic I went to AppleID.Apple.Com to find out what was going on. I tried to log in and failed and then was prompted for my recovery key. I entered that assuming all was well. No. The Recovery Key was wrong. Now I’m in a formal panic. I call Apple and I’m informed that my account has been compromised. How was this even possible with two-factor authentication?
I spend the next few hours trying to sort out what’s going on and speaking to Apple all the time. The nutshell of it was that my account had been compromised, the Recovery Key had been changed, and the account was fully locked and encrypted. There was no way to get any of my data back.
Now I know this is the case with data. I get it. I signed up for two-factor Authentication for a reason. To prevent this very scenario. But clearly there is something not right with how Apple has implemented it. Somehow, some way, my account was compromised despite it being enabled. I was okay with losing the data. To be honest, aside from some contacts, most of what I have was in other services. Something in the back of my head told me not to fully trust iCloud.
Here is the really bad part of the story. Actually, it’s the shitty part of the story.
Because my Apple ID was tied to my iPhone, iPad Air and iPad Mini, they are, in Apple’s words, bricked. Without being able to get into the account, these devices are tied to my Apple ID (which is now completely locked down and unavailable to anyone including, apparently, Apple) and cannot be tied to any other Apple ID. The Apple support persons exact – and completely careless comment to me: “Yeah, you are pretty much cooked”.
So let me get this straight Apple. I’ve spent thousands of dollars with you. I’ve done what you have suggested (or forced me to do) by tying my devices to my Apple ID. I’ve then enabled two-factor authentication – which you say can’t be broken – and because of your issue, I am no longer able to use any of my devices? Thanks for that.
The only way I’m told by Apple to get all of my devices back and register them with another Apple ID is to show proof of purchase. Despite the fact that the Apple support people could see the devices I had and I repeatedly told them I had them in my possession, they said because of security they would have to have proof of purchase and engineering may decide to let me back into them in 6-8 weeks.
Awesome. Pure Awesome.
The data is one thing but to render my devices useless is unacceptable. This was not my fault Apple. Even if it was, your poor security is pretty draconian when it comes to paying for a mistake. Seriously – I forget my password and you lock me out of everything? Including my iPad and Mac? Wow. Just. Wow.
The moral of the story is two fold peeps. First, if you are going to use Apple products I would not enable two-factor authentication. It’s clearly broken and clearly able to be compromised. Run the risk of single-factor and come up with a really, really, really good password and hope for the best.
Second, if you can avoid Apple products, do it. Clearly no matter how much you spend with them they do not care. Their lack of a back door to prevent this kind of thing from happening is simply unacceptable. Their poor security implementation has rendered my devices constantly nagging me for a password I can never hope to know or unable to activate.
As for me, I’m composing this on my re-formatted MacBook Pro running Windows 8. Next to me is my Lumia 1320 Windows Phone. My data is safe and secure in services other than iCloud. And on the book case in front of me sits an effectively dead iPad Air, iPhone 5S and iPad Mini.
I’ll let you know if engineering decides to be nice and let me have my devices again. Regardless of the outcome, I’m done with Apple.