package

Not Being Able to Sign for UPS Apple Deliveries

I ran into a very strange situation a few weeks ago I thought I should share so others can avoid the frustration. Like every other hopeless Apple geek I ordered my new Apple TV and it was set for a Tuesday delivery to my house. Both my wife and I work so we knew we wouldn't be home to sign for the delivery. So, like I always do, I checked the Apple shipment status page it showed that this particular package didn't not require a signature. Good, no action required. So I get home on Tuesday night only to find that UPS had left a note on my door saying they couldn't leave the package because there was nobody home at the time of delivery to sign for the package. Huh?

The first thing I did was visit the UPS website to see if I could provide some kind of digital signature or permission for them to leave the package. No such luck. The only option I had was to have my package delivered to a UPS store and then go pick up my package after work. The only issue I had with this option is that UPS was going to charge me $5 for this service. So I called up UPS and apparently UPS drivers have the discretion to NOT leave a package they perceive as "high value" even if that package doesn't require a signature. So I explained the situation to the UPS representative and they recommended I go to the Apple website and print out a package delivery waiver form, sign it and leave it for the UPS driver the next day. The only problem with this is that because Apple didn't categorize this package as needing a signature there was no way for me to do this. Delivery waiver forms from Apple are linked to each individual package so the only way to get a form is to click on a link to the form from the package status page. Since this package didn't require a signature there was no link. No link, no form and no package for me. So I explained to UPS that there was no way for me to do this. I then asked about why I was being charged to change my delivery to a UPS store. UPS told me that this was an Apple processing fee and had nothing to do with UPS. After all of this the UPS person told me they would leave a note for the driver and give him permission to leave the package. Problem solved.

Ok, not really. An hour later I got a call from UPS at home and they told me that they couldn't tell the driver to leave the package. Leaving a high value package puts the driver at risk and they said ultimately the driver is responsible for the delivery of the package. Time to contact Apple. So I initiated a chat session with an Apple representative and I learned the following:

  1. The $5 charge to change the delivery location to a UPS store WAS NOT AN APPLE CHARGE. The UPS representative did not give me good information. UPS us supposed to direct any customer questions like mine to Apple and UPS should not be charging people for services like this.
  2. I was correct that there was no way via the Apple website to download, print and sign a delivery authorization form. However, Apple was able to generate one for me and email it to me.
  3. Apple gave me several other options as well, including the option to change the delivery location to a UPS store free of charge. The only issue I had with this is that all of these options were going to delay my package delivery by another 1-2 business days. This included the option of having Apple email me a delivery authorization form to sign and leave at my front door for UPS.

In the end I opted to have Apple email me a delivery authorization form I ended up getting that form emailed to me within minutes (not the 24 hours Apple said it might take). I left the signed form on my front door and the next night I had my new Apple TV.

Apple acknowledged that this was a large hole in their delivery system and that it needed to be fixed. It was very frustrating to be in a situation where I was being told no signature was required and even proactively planned to pre-authorize for the package if needed and still NOT be able to get my package on time. It took me several hours of my time between talking with 2 different UPS agents on the phone and Apple over a chat session to resolve the issue and have my package delivered.

Bottom line, if you expecting a package from Apple and you absolutely want it delivered on time then you need to either pre-sign for the delivery, if a signature is required, or if a signature is not required contact Apple anyway and have them email you a pre-authorization form to leave on your door just in case. Otherwise your delivery person may choose to NOT leave the package anyway.

Preventing Application Data Loss When Switching Macs

Last year I wrote a post about how to do a complete erase of your Mac's hard drive (as opposed to just installing the new operating system on top of the old). In that post I also briefly talk about the kind of data you need to ensure is backed up before you "nuke and pave" your Mac. I am getting ready to perform a "nuke and pave" on one of my Macs, and as luck would have it, I realized I was missing a piece of data on my Mac Mini that was on the Mac I was getting ready to "nuke and pave." I was getting ready to do my 2013 taxes using TurboTax and I couldn't find my last several years worth of TurboTax data files. It turns out that TurboTax on the Mac automatically saves all of the tax return files in a "package" folder within the main application file itself. A package on the Mac is a file that is normally displayed to the user as a single file (like the application file shown in the screenshot below for TurboTax 2013) but instead of it being a single file it actually has a nested folder structure "hidden" within the "TurboTax 2013" application file. In order to reveal all of the files nested within a package file simple "control-click" the file and it will bring up a dialog window like the one in the screenshot below that gives you the option to "Show Package Contents." Most application files on the Mac are like this and contain saved information, user preferences and support files that the application needs in order to function. Most of the time the type of information that is inside the application package file is NOT something that the user needs to ever access or even know that it exists. However, in this case it is rather important. In order to do my taxes I like to be able to point TurboTax to last year's return so I can compare last year's values to this year's values (something I'm sure most people will want to do).

(How to reveal "Package Contents" in Mac OS X)

(How to reveal "Package Contents" in Mac OS X)

So what does this mean to the average user? It means you need to take inventory of all the applications stored on your Mac. I suggest you do two things:

  1. Make sure whatever backup strategy you are using is backing up your application files. Some online services like Backblaze (which I use and love) and Crashplan will not by default backup your applications. This is because in this day and age you can almost always re-download an application, so taking up precious online storage space for application data doesn't make sense. Except when it does make sense, like in this case. So you can either configure your online backup service to backup the applications folder on your Mac, or you can do like I do and use Time Machine. The built-in backup solution from Apple that comes with every Mac called Time Machine will automatically backup all of your applications. So I was covered because I do both an online backup (with Backblaze) and a local back (with Time Machine) to an external hard drive attached to my Mac.
  2. The other thing you should do is that even before you ever think about wiping your Mac you should take inventory of all of the applications currently installed on your computer. What if your Mac died today and you had to go and re-download all of your applications from memory? Would you be able to remember all of the applications you had installed?

If you have a very limited number of applications installed on your Mac then it is quite possible that there won't be any important data within the package file of your applications. But I'm a firm believer that it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. Hopefully this tip will keep some of you from losing data you don't want or can't afford to lose.

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