This tale of my three phone calls to Apple Support a few days ago has a happy ending. My wife and I are enjoying the iPhone 14 Pro Max devices that we decided to get after using iPhone 8's since 2017.
So we were six freaking iPhone generations old, something that hasn't come close to happening since we joined the iPhone cult way back when. (Too long ago for me to remember.)
When the new phones arrived in the mail after ordering them from Verizon, our cellular carrier, I waited a day before taking the plunge into setting them up. That had gone well the last time we got fresh phones, but like I said, this was over five years ago.
I decided to set up my iPhone 14 first.
It didn't take long for a problem to pop up. All I'd done was choose English for my language and United States for my location. Then a message appeared that said, I'm pretty sure, "It may take a few minutes to activate your iPhone."
OK. No big deal. Except after fifteen minutes I began to get worried. After 45 minutes I was really worried and Googled the message. Various pieces of advice popped up, such as this one.
I was reluctant to restart the iPhone 14, though, in part because while I thought the message meant that the phone was activating my Verizon account, I wasn't absolutely sure about this. Out of an abundance of caution I decided to phone Apple Support.
Having had Apple products since the Apple II+ computer debuted in the 1980s, I've had many encounters with Apple Support, almost always really positive. My wife and I buy AppleCare with every device we get -- computers, iPhones, iPads, AirPods -- because the technical support people solve our problems so easily.
That made what happened when I phoned Apple Support both surprising and disturbing. After I explained that my new iPhone 14 was stuck on the activation screen, the woman I was talking to asked how many apps I had.
"A lot," I told her, adding that I'd deleted quite a few apps before starting the Quick Start process of transferring data and settings from my old phone to the new one. "Well," she said, "that can take a few hours."
Not a great answer, but I assumed that she knew what she was talking about. So I went back to waiting and periodically staring at the message on the phone that activation could take several minutes. After several hours, and some additional Googling, I was convinced that more help was needed.
Calling Apple Support again, this time I got a woman who told me I should restart the iPhone 14. Since the iPhone came with zero instructions, I asked her how to do this. She told me to hold down the top left button while pressing the button on the right side.
That, of course, is not how iPhones restart, ever since the iPhone 10. Actually you hold down either volume button on the right side while pressing the right side button. In fact, the top left "button" isn't a button at all, but a little switch that silences the phone.
When I told the woman that the phone wouldn't restart, she put me on hold to research what every Apple Support person should know: how to restart an iPhone. That gave me time to do my own Googling, so by the time she returned with the correct approach I'd already restarted the phone.
Now it truly did take just a few minutes to activate my iPhone 14, and the rest of the setup process went smoothly.
That evening I decided to setup my wife's iPhone 14.
The activation went fine, but after apps had been transferred to the new phone, after a while I realized that none of them were downloading. That perplexed me, until I noticed that there was no wi-fi symbol at the top of the screen, just one bar showing our crappy Verizon signal strength, since we live in a rural area with no line of sight to a cell tower.
I restarted my wife's phone. I turned wi-fi off and on. Nothing worked to get our Starlink satellite broadband recognized by the iPhone 14. It showed up in Settings, but a spinning ball showed that even though the password was correct, the phone wasn't connecting to Starlink.
This time when I phoned Apple Support, perhaps because it was around 9 pm, I got a woman with an Indian accent, which I viewed as a positive omen.
At first she had me do what I'd already done: restart the phone and turn wi-fi off and on. Then she asked if it would be OK to do the Screen Share thing. Sure, I said. Soon a red arrow appeared on the iPhone 14, but she said that she was unable to view the screen.
That caused her to ask if I could use the camera on my wife's iPhone 8 to show the screen on the iPhone 14. That took some doing, since I had to hold the old phone in one hand while doing things on the new iPhone with my other hand.
At one point I turned the front facing camera on, which briefly showed my face/head, causing the woman to say emphatically, "No, just show the screen on the new iPhone!" I got the impression that in Apple Support it is a no-no for a Screen Share to show the person asking for help, which makes sense, given the potential for weird customer behavior.
Anyway, she also needed to put me on hold and apparently seek help from a higher power in Apple Support. When she came back on the line, she told me to do something that I've forgotten, but am pretty sure was to reset the network settings.
That got the Starlink wi-fi working. I was thrilled. I said, "Thanks so much for solving the problem. Well, thanks to you and whoever you talked with. And for Apple Support in general." So after a bad experience with Apple Support, I had a good experience.
And our phones are a joy to use.