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New online diagnostic tool could save you a trip to the Apple Store

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Apple (s aapl) is prepping a new online diagnostic tool that will work via mobile Safari on iOS devices, according to a new report from HardMac. The system would work by sending a unique URL to customers having problems that would direct them to web-based software that would be able to gather information from an affected system in order to determine what’s gone wrong.

The report is based on an internal announcement reportedly made by Apple notifying employees that the system is nearing completion. It makes sense for Apple to do this, because one of the first steps in determining what’s wrong with a product brought in by a customer reporting problems is to run a software diagnostic. Doing this remotely could free up time for in-store service technicians, by determining if issues can be fixed at home or should be immediately escalated to a mail-in factory return, and by providing them with crucial info in advance of a customer visit. Obviously, the affected iPhone, iPod touch or iPad has to be in good enough shape that it can access the web and open mobile Safari and Mail, but it could still prove very useful for users with less serious issues.

Information gathered from your device will also be available to staff at service centers, so that if you do have to bring your device in, they can expedite the process of a repair, according to the report. That info will apparently include details about battery health and charge capacity, time since last full charge, the minimum charge level of the device’s battery, what version of iOS was installed, and if it went through a normal shutdown process prior to problems appearing. The only personal information transmitted will be the device name, as well as the device’s unique identifier number, as well as the time spent daily on voice calls if it’s an iPhone.

HardMac says this will be rolling out in the next few months everywhere, so we’ll keep an eye out, and be sure to let us know if Apple directs you to a new diagnostic website as a first step in fixing any iOS-related issues you’re having.

4 Responses to “New online diagnostic tool could save you a trip to the Apple Store”

  1. Michael W. Perry

    Here’s a big question as more iPhones slip into life post-contract. Will these online diagnostics be available to all iPhones or just those still under warranty and a cellular contract.

    Some of the information mentioned, particularly the battery condition, is the sort of thing that users might want to follow up with a visit to a third-party store rather than to more pricey Apple.