Apple Support Experience

My primary home computer is an Apple 27″ iMac (self contained monitor and system), which has worked flawlessly since 2010. However, over the past three days I’ve noticed at times a rather loud clicking sound coming from the back of my iMac. It’s somewhat random, and may last for 3 seconds one time and 12 seconds another. I know from past experience that such sounds aren’t good, as they probably mean my hard drive is about to go bad. Since I purchased AppleCare (Apple’s hardware warranty) when I bought my iMac, I decided to find out what could be done about this annoying clicking noise. I checked and from their support page initiated an “Apple Express” service request, which resulted in a live person calling me about 2 minutes later. Mind you, it was Sunday morning when did all this, so I was surprised to get a live call so quickly.

The Apple support rep was very helpful and asked a few questions, and had me do some checking on my iMac. I rebooted a few times, ran the Disk Utility Check (which didn’t reveal anything bad), and ultimate determined that I should take my iMac into my local Apple store to have one of their “Geniuses” take a look at it. So, the rep made an appointment for 11:15 am and packed up my iMac and drove down to the store.

After lugging my big iMac through the mall, I arrive at the Apple Store to find it packed full of customers. I had never seen it so full, and this was on a Sunday 15 minutes after it first opened for the day. In contrast, I walked by the Microsoft Store which was twice the size of the Apple Store and had virtually no one in it. Hmm, what does that tell you?

The Apple Genius took my iMac in the back room and after about 10 minutes reported that he didn’t hear any clicking (of course). So I asked if he could wait another 15 minutes and keep listening for it and he said he would, although they were getting really busy and he couldn’t spend too much time with it. So after another 15 minutes he said he still didn’t hear anything, and offered some possible reasons: (1) I may have knocked something loose or back in place which stopped the clicking, (2) Unplugging the iMac for so long when I brought it to the store may have reset something in the machine, etc). I was told that the iMac only had a few moving parts, those being the hard drive, CPU fan, and DVD ROM Drive. But most probably based on the noise I heard, the issue was the hard drive (in my opinion).

So, reluctantly I lugged my iMac from the store back through the mall to my car knowing that I would most likely be hearing the same clicking sound again once I set it up at home. And sure enough, the clicking began within 5 minutes of plugging it all back together.

I think the Apple technician must have ran some utility to exercise the hard drive in hopes of triggering the clicking noise, but I now think that may have prevented the clicking from  occuring. In any case, I’m hoping the clicking either stops or gets worse so I can have it heard by the Apple Techs and get it fixed.

But in all, it was a good experience. Apple provided top-notch customer service, called me back within minutes of when I initiated the service request (and on Sunday morning, no doubt), and the local Apple Store dealt with the issue as best as they could. No long lines or wait times for me.

Update: Well, that strange clicking noise from my iMac seemed to have stopped. I’m not sure why, but I’m happy it’s gone!

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