Aleksandar • Vacić

iOS bits and pieces

“(not) supported by Apple”

Several days ago, iPhone 7 became available in Serbia. Offered through all 3 mobile carriers as well as various resellers. Black billboards with the familiar jet black shape can be seen all over the Belgrade, with the tag line: “supported by Apple”

If only.

Here’s (likely) an incomplete list of various ways Apple does not give a crap about their Serbian customers…

  • Serbia was not even mentioned in the press releases by Apple about iPhone 7 availability
  • iPhone is officially sold here for 2+ years but all customers are forced to open their App Store accounts in neighboring countries because…
  • There is no App Store Serbia to be found.1
  • There is no Serbian2 language to be found in the list of iOS UI languages
  • Serbia is not listed on the iCloud Keychain country list
  • Serbia is not listed in the iMessage location country list
  • Serbia is not listed in the iCloud billing address country list (for credit cards)
  • Invoices for developer program fees or WWDC tickets are sent back addressed as Romania, Croatia, USA or even International Waters3
  • iMessage activation through local mobile carriers fails repeatedly because Apple servers fail to send the confirmation message back4. Each such unsuccessful message is then charged to people here as international SMS
  • 2FA is not supported (see Keychain issue above) and thus none of the services or features dependent on it work (like unlocking the Mac with an Apple Watch)

I honestly don’t care who’s really responsible for all of the above: my country’s government with their nonsense legal/accounting laws, local authorized reseller or Apple itself. I’m sure that at least half of the listed issues can easily be fixed if Apple cared just a little bit.

An example: if I choose Croatia as my billing address country but otherwise type in my local Serbian address details then Apple will happily charge my Serbian-issued VISA card for the iCloud storage. Hence it does work and they can process local cards. What’s the excuse then, for not including Serbia as billing country? Other than not giving a f*ck.

Another: Apple has agreements with all local mobile carries to sell the iPhone but can’t offer stable iMessage or 2FA (which is SMS-based)? Pleeeease…

Thus, Apple — if you have found some way to sell the hardware here — it’s your responsibility to find a way to allow us access to (at least) your own software and services as well.

Or at least tell your resellers to stop with this ”supported by” bullshit. It’s insulting.

(Note about the “signaling” language used in this post: You may be reading this and thinking “not sure he will get what he wants with all those fucks and shits”. I know. I have 3+ years old bug reports I filed for essentially all of the above. Most never responded to. If Apple cared to listen, they would have done something long ago. I doubt they would care much about this post either.)

  1. Just look at that lie: “Apps, podcasts, iTunes U, and free books are available everywhere.”

  2. Neither Latin nor Cyrillic.

  3. I’ve bought 100s of items from dozens and dozens of online shops everywhere. Only Apple sends such nonsense as invoice.

  4. Yes – it’s confirmed that it’s Apple’s side that fucks up the process.