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Leaked Apple Document Reveals iPhone Repair Secrets | Victorville Computer Repairs

Leaked Apple Document Reveals iPhone Repair Secrets

We live in the age of WikiLeaks and public disclosure of secrets across government and corporate platforms, and thus it is not surprising to learn that an Apple warranty manual for certain iPhone models was anonymously uploaded to a public cloud storage server.

According to a recent news report published by Business Insider, the leaked manual is titled Visual and Mechanical Inspection Guide for the iPhone 6 and later versions all the way to iPhone 7 Plus.

Within the manufacturer warranty limits, there are four repair issues that Apple instructs technicians to repair under warranty and without looking too deep into the possible causes:

  1. Hairline cracks in the touchscreen that do not present an impact point, particularly those near the edge section that curves down into the bezel.
  2. Dead pixels.
  3. Debris visible underneath the glass cover.
  4. Camera lens out of alignment due to improper support from the foam packing material.

Other iPhone issues that will also be repaired by Apple but on an out-of-warranty basis include:

  • Cracked glass screens.
  • Broken connectors.
  • Fractures due to impact.
  • Inoperable camera lenses.
  • iOS issues.
  • Water damage.

What is interesting to note about the leaked guide is that Apple will not repair iPhones if technicians are able to ascertain the following:

  • Severe or catastrophic damage.
  • Evidence of iOS jailbreak.
  • Batteries other than those branded by Apple.
  • Evidence that the iPhone has been opened.
Apple offers an extended warranty coverage plan known as AppleCare+, which is often recommended for users who would like to omit the aforementioned repair criteria. The AppleCare+ plan allows iPhone owners to replace their units if the glass is damaged; they are still expected to pay a $29 replacement fee. This plain works even better when the loss is catastrophic since Apple will replace the iPhone after a $99 payment.

For the most part, the leaked document confirms what is widely known about Apple and its repair service, which many iPhone owners believe is not very friendly. If Apple has turned you down for iPhone repair, bring it to A Plus Computers in Apple Valley. Our technicians can fix the following issues:

  • LCD replacement
  • Cracked or broken glass
  • Water damage
  • Headphone jack issues in older models
  • Battery problems
  • Home button issues in older models
  • iOS optimization and configuration

At A Plus Computers, we will try our best to provide repair services to your iPhone regardless of warranty, model or if its operating system has been patched.

These New PC Games Deserve a Custom Computer Build | Apple Valley Computers

These New PC Games Deserve a Custom Computer Build

Good news for fans of the PC video gaming scene in Apple Valley and across the High Desert: although the console wars are still being waged by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, video game developers seem to have rediscovered the PC thanks to recent advances such as reasonable, attainable virtual reality.

Games To Take Full Advantage of Custom Gaming PCs

The Fullbright Company, developers of the hit immersion narrative adventure “Gone Home,” recently released “Tacoma,” another mysterious narrative adventure that transports players to an advanced and futuristic space station controlled by an enigmatic artificial intelligence program. The crew of the Tacoma Space Station was planning on returning to Earth when they came across a dangerous meteor shower. The player of “Tacoma” will assume the role of a female investigator tasked to figure out what went wrong.

Tacoma” was not developed with custom-built gaming PCs in mind; in fact, the Fullbright Company focuses on making its games available on as many platforms as possible, but you might as well take advantage of an advanced system to get the full immersion treatment and the gorgeous graphics. What happened to the crew of the Tacoma is played by means of highly detailed holographic scenes that will play better on a custom computer build designed for gaming purposes.

Another immersion game that seems to be tailor-made for custom gaming rigs is “Xing: The Land Beyond,” developed by WhiteLotus Interactive. The basis of Xing is the reincarnation belief found in many Asian religions; in the game, the player is guided by spirits through a mystical landscape filled with mysterious puzzles that illustrate the struggle of the soul even after death.

The orchestral arrangements and gorgeous environs of Xing require a virtual reality setup to be experienced in full. Consequently, this means a PC powered by a Nvidia GTX 970 or an AMD Radeon 480 graphics card plus 10 GB storage and 4 GB RAM at the very least.

Yet another exciting title is “Voltron VR Chronicles,” which follows up on the space manga series revived on Netflix last year. Voltron fans will really love this game because it puts them inside the series as long as their PCs can support the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headsets, which are pretty demanding in terms of computing power.

If you would like to own a PC that can play the games mentioned herein, your best bet is to talk to the hardware architects at A Plus Computers in Apple Valley. You would be surprised to learn that a more powerful custom-built gaming rig can be a greater value than a desktop you get off-the-shelf.
The Most Common Computer Repair Issues in 2017 | Apple Valley Laptops

The Most Common Computer Repair Issues in 2017

If you bring a personal computing device to A Plus Computer in Apple Valley this year, chances are that you will require a computer repair service related to the Windows operating system. According to a recent press release published by a national computer repair chain, the most common problem reported by their customers thus far in 2017 has to deal with Windows installations, particularly Windows 10.

Troubleshooting Issues with Windows 10 Operating System

Even though technology giant Microsoft can rightfully boast of its dominance of the operating system market, the company cannot deny that rolling out Windows 10 has not been as smooth as expected. Analysts believe that Microsoft may have been too ambitious with its Windows 10 update strategy, which often causes systems to perform erratically.

While some Windows 10 problems can be temporarily managed by users who are familiar with the system restore utility, quite a few other issues will require intervention by computer repair technicians. Nearly 34 percent of all repair tickets are related to Windows installations.

Problems Arising from Applications & Malware

The next most commonly reported computer repair issues are related to Windows applications, which are often connected to the aforementioned problems emanating from operating system installations and make up 23 percent of all repair tickets.

Malware infections account for 10 percent of reported issues; however, the spectacular ransomware attacks seen this year suggest that these problems will likely increase over the next few years.

Password and data recovery services make up five percent of computer repairs; these are issues that can be prevented by properly setting up cloud storage backups and secure password vaults. The ongoing shift towards mobile computing and cloud services along with greater adoption of biometric features in personal computing devices will likely make these issues less likely to occur in the near future.

Hardware Failure is Uncommon but Serious

Hardware failure currently makes up less than one percent of reported issues; this is not so much a testament to the durability of modern components as much as it is an indication that computer manufacturers are successfully promoting a replacement. By releasing new models that make previous ones obsolete, computer makers drive sales and discourage consumers from trying to hold on to older devices.

Six percent of computer repair issues in 2017 are related to printers ceasing to function or that refuse to be installed. The problem is often found with incompatible network printing protocols or IP addressing conflicts.

If you experience any of the issues listed above this year, contact A Plus Computers and speak to one of our repair specialists.

Summer Laptop Maintenance in the High Desert | Apple Valley Computers

Summer Laptop Maintenance in the High Desert

Compared to desktops, smartphones and tablets, laptops and hybrids such as certain Microsoft Surface devices tend to be more prone to potential damage and failure. The portability and design of laptops somehow elicit rougher handling and exposure to harsh conditions. In Apple Valley and other communities in the High Desert, laptops are often exposed to hot, dry and dusty environments that require preventive maintenance.

Summer Can Have Real Effects on Your Laptops

The warmer summer months of the High Desert can take a toll on laptop systems due to thermal stress. Portable systems with traditional hard drives have gotten slimmer over the last few years, and they tend to operate at higher temperatures than desktop systems because the cramped arrangement of hardware components take away precious space needed for ventilation and air circulation. To this effect, if you plan on purchasing a slim laptop these days, you should ensure that it uses a solid state hard drive that is easier to cool.

Preventive summer maintenance of your laptop means taking steps to protect it. To prevent thermal stress, you should avoid storing your computer in a space where the temperature is higher than 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, you should not expose it to temperatures lower than 40 degrees.

Preparing Laptop Devices for Travel

If you plan to fly away on vacation, you should try to pack your laptop in a padded case that you can bring aboard the aircraft as carry-on luggage. If you must store your laptop as checked luggage, do your best to cushion it all around.

When you travel to new destinations in the summer, you should allow your laptop to go through an acclimatization period. Let’s say you plan a beach vacation in the Caribbean or in Costa Rica; before you rush to check your email and social media feeds, give your laptop about 30 minutes to adjust to room temperature. Air circulation is crucial in hot and humid environments; condensation is the last thing you want happening on a laptop equipped with a spinning hard drive.

Poor ventilation and dust buildup are two factors that can exacerbate thermal stress and cause overheating by limiting air flow. Before going on a beach vacation, you may want to bring your laptop to A Plus Computers so that it can be thoroughly cleaned with compressed air. Our technicians will also make sure that the fans are running smoothly and that the components that generate the most heat are properly insulated.
Windows Fall Creators Update: What to Expect | Apple Valley Computers

Windows Fall Creators Update: What to Expect

Microsoft is planning on releasing another major update to its Windows 10 operating system, which in 2017 is starting to gain traction in terms of enterprise market share.

Over the last couple of years, Microsoft has been concerned about what seemed to be a slow adoption of Windows 10 by enterprise users who seemed to be content with running Windows XP, an operating system that is no longer being supported by the company. Although Windows 7 is the most popular OS in the world, the resilience of Windows XP was a thorn in Microsoft’s side until July, the first month to report more Windows 10 installations than the legacy XP.

What Can Windows 10 Users Look Forward To?

Users who have already upgraded to Windows 10 will be able to apply the Fall Creators Update, which has a few notable developments. One of the most notable changes is related to Microsoft Paint, which is being deprecated after more than three decades as a Windows accessory. MS Paint is almost as popular as the Solitaire and Minesweeper games, but earlier this year it received a major upgrade known as Paint 3D, which was the first indication that the original MS Paint was due for retirement. Once MS Paint is deprecated, it will no longer be supported by Microsoft, but this does not mean that it will go completely go away.

Outlook Express is scheduled to be removed from Windows 10, and this should not come as a surprise since Outlook.com and the Outlook app are far superior. The MS Reader app and the list of topics to read are also being removed since they will be integrated into the Microsoft Edge browser, which is still struggling to keep up with Google Chrome in terms of functionality and performance.

The Syskey.exe utility is also being removed since BitLocker encryption, and file locking are preferred functions. Similar to MS Paint, Windows PowerShell 2.0 is also being deprecated since users can enjoy the more comprehensive PowerShell 5.0.

It is interesting to note that Microsoft has already set a support termination date for Windows 10: October 14, 2025. If you purchased a laptop powered by the Intel Clover Trail processor, you will not be able to apply the Windows 10 Creators Update and may need to roll back your installation since Microsoft will no longer support this chipset.

Windows 10 users in Apple Valley who are not able to install the Creators Update should call A Plus Computers and speak to our technicians to discuss available options.

Options for Speeding Up Your Old PC | Apple Valley Computer Virus Removal

Options for Speeding Up Your Old PC

At some point in the life of a new desktop or laptop PC, its operational speed and overall performance will begin to lag. Inevitably, the operating system and hard drive will become burdened with software applications, games, documents, photographs, music, videos, and background processes that will strip away the original speed of the device in a cumulative manner.

Restoring a PC to its original speed is certainly possible; in many cases, the device can be upgraded and reconfigured to improve upon its original state, thereby making it faster.

When you bring your old PC to A Plus Computers in Apple Valley, you will have a few service options to choose from in relation to improving performance:

Upgrade and Optimization

Depending on the age of your computer and how much longer you plan on using it, you may want to consider a hardware upgrade to increase the physical RAM and improve functionality with a solid state drive instead of a traditional hard drive. This upgrade can be complemented with optimization options that may include a fresh operating system installation.

Resetting or Reinstalling the Operating System

In modern versions of the Windows operating system, Microsoft has made it easier for users to reset their computers to previous and optimal states; such is the case with Windows 8 and Windows 10, which have a Refresh function. Windows 10 goes one step further with its Reset option, which is similar to the reset button found in Android tablets.

If your older computer can only handle Windows 7 even after a hardware upgrade, one option would be to start afresh with a reinstallation and restoring a previous backup. If you are looking for even more speed, you may want to consider a modern and lightweight Linux installation instead of Windows; in this case, however, you will have to get used to a different operating system and install new programs.

Optimization Package

Hardware upgrades and reinstalling Windows are not always necessary. The A Plus Computers Optimization Package consists of an analysis and remediation of startup procedures, background processes, archived files, registry issues, page file configuration, and power management settings. In some cases, your hard drive may need to be defragmented; moreover, you may not realize that malware and adware scripts could be slowing down your system. This optimization service is often chosen by computer owners who want an affordable solution; however, upgrades are highly recommended.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Versus Custom Computer Builds | Victorville PCs

Microsoft Surface Laptop Versus Custom Computer Builds

Tech giant Microsoft used to be known as a company dedicated exclusively to software development. In the late 20th century, the company dabbled in hardware with the introduction of input devices such as keyboards and joysticks, which were highly rated by computer users. By 2001, the company broke with its software-only tradition when it released the acclaimed Xbox video game console; from that moment on, Microsoft jumped headlong into the hardware business.

The History of Microsoft’s Surface Line of Computers

It has been a few years since Microsoft introduced its Surface line of portable computing devices. For the most part, the company has been improving its hardware catalog, particularly with the recent release of the Surface Laptop, which has received great reviews for its design, power and portability factor. This portable computer has enough flair and advanced features to compete against the Apple MacBook Pro; the Surface Laptop is a beautiful piece of hardware that seems to be worth every penny, but there is one thing that may hold you back from getting one.

Limited Repair Options with the Suface Laptop

If something happens to your Surface Laptop once it goes past its warranty period, your repair options will be very limited. If you bring your Surface to A Plus Computers in Apple Valley for a hardware-related repair, it maybe difficult to do much. For some reason, Microsoft has designed the Surface Laptop in a manner that is virtually impossible to repair.

According to iFixIt, a website that often takes apart new hardware devices as soon as they hit the market, the Surface Laptop is not a repair-friendly machine. The iFixIt technicians had a hard time opening the designer case because there are no screws to loosen; everything is glued into place, including the keyboard, memory modules, data storage drive, media processors, and virtually every component. What makes this even more aggravating is that the Surface battery is also glued to the case and cannot be accessed unless quite a few components are unglued and removed first.

It seems as if Microsoft’s strategy for the Surface Laptop is to get you to spend up to $1,600 for a sleek machine that you will not be able to repair or upgrade. If you can do without the portable factor, you could order a custom build from A Plus Computers with even more power than a Surface. A seventh generation Intel chip with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB solid state drive would cost you far less than the Surface Laptop, and it would be a desktop computer that you can keep, repair and upgrade at will for years to come.

Computer Virus Report for July 2017 | Apple Valley PC Repair

Computer Virus Report for July 2017

The year 2017 has been very active in terms of malware. Aside from the spectacular data breaches and cyber attacks such as the WannaCry ransomware scare in May, multiple virus propagations have been reported by security researchers over the last few weeks. Here are some of the most active pieces of malware reported as being very active in July:

Svcvmx.exe

This adware Trojan is usually bundled with freeware downloads for Windows computers. One instance of svcvmx.exe is packaged along with what is supposed to be a modified version of WinMX, a file sharing program that was popular in the wake of the original Napster craze. Once this adware is installed, it will run in the background and will proceed to generate ad revenue for the developer whenever a browser is active. In the Processes tab of the Windows Task Manager, users may see several entries labeled as “Winvmx Client;” this is designed to trick users into believing that the music sharing program is active.

Diegocosta.stream

This is one of the many video streaming websites that purportedly feature international soccer matches and concerts. In reality, this is a malicious site that executes JavaScript code for the purpose of installing a plugin or an extension that ultimately hijacks Chrome, Edge and Firefox browsers. Unfortunately, the new .stream top-level domain, which was designed to host video streaming service, has attracted quite a few malicious actors.

PrimeUpd

Torrent tracker websites such as The Pirate Bay are filled with movies, music and software packages that computer users agree to share. The problem with these sites is that users put themselves at great risk of installing software bundled with malware such as PrimeUpd, a Trojan that collects browsing behavior for the purpose of surreptitiously serving banner ads and pop-up advertising. Aside from hiding in torrent downloads, PrimeUpd has been spotted in spam email messages.

Jaff Ransomware

This malware variant spread across the United States a few months ago; it was a clumsy attempt at demanding ransom payments from infected users whose files were encrypted and turned into files locked with .jaff, .svn, and .wlu extensions. Many versions of this ransomware featured faulty payment systems, and the decryption key was eventually released by information security firm Kaspersky Labs.

The malware listed herein should be detected and handled by most antivirus programs; however, if you are not able to cleanse your system for any reason, you can contact A Plus Computers in Apple Valley to schedule a virus removal service.
Major Computer Repair Lawsuit Filed Against U.S. Government | Apple Valley PCs

Major Computer Repair Lawsuit Filed Against U.S. Government

According to a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the United States Department of Justice systematically violated the Fourth Amendments when it allowed the FBI to recruit computer repair technicians to act as informants and turn over data to agents.

The Discovery of Invasive Forensic Searches of Computers

A 2016 investigative report by the Washington Post revealed that Geek Squad, the computer repair division of retail giant Best Buy, the FBI trained and paid technicians and their supervisors to look for certain data stored in the computers of customers who took their devices to be repaired. Geek Squad technicians developed a program to conduct a forensic search of information, which was invasive and inquisitive to the point of looking for deleted files.

What makes the acts committed by the FBI and the electronics chain even more egregious is that they targeted computers that were sent to a central facility in Kentucky for data recovery services; in other words, the FBI felt that customers who wanted to recover deleted files or information stored on a failed hard drive perhaps had something to hide.

A+ Plus Computers Work to Protect Your Data Privacy

At A Plus Computers, respecting data privacy is a must. Computer repair technicians know that information is very valuable for customers; to this effect, data and password recovery services are conducted with a high degree of care and respect. Unless there is an absolute need to verify data integrity in case files have become corrupted, technicians will not open files; in fact, it is not uncommon to call device owners to the shop and ask them to open their own recovered files for validation purposes.

The problem with the Geek Squad and FBI scandal is that computer technicians were snooping on behalf of a government agency, something that is prohibited and can only be done by means of a search warrant. Adding insult to injury is the development of utility software used to search for specific types of data. In other words, the FBI was using Best Buy to conduct fishing expeditions instead of doing police work.
In the end, computer owners do not have to surrender their Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches and seizures when they visit a computer repair shop.

Apple Discontinues Repair Support for Many Devices | Victorville Virus Removal

Apple Discontinues Repair Support for Many Devices

If you own certain older models of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or iPhone 3G, Apple will no longer give you repair, service or support. According to an internal document made public in late May 2017, Apple is moving nine hardware devices to its obsolete list, which means that owners of these products will be turned away at the Apple Store and other authorized service providers.

Devices No Longer Receiving Support from Apple

The list includes two MacBook Air models from 2011: the 11-inch and 13-inch versions. Three MacBook Pros from 2011 are now obsolete: the 13, 15 and 17-inch models. Additionally, the 2009 MacBook Pro, which was a very expensive and popular model, is being placed on Apple’s vintage list, which means that a minimal level of support and repairs will be offered for a limited time before that device is also labeled obsolete.

The iPhone 3GS is another device that technicians at the Apple Store and other repair centers affiliated with Apple will no longer touch. It is interesting to note that some exceptions will be made to this obsolete policy; in California, owners of the aforementioned MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models will get limited support over the next two years, and this is some consolation for device owners living in Apple Valley.

Growing Frustration at Apple’s Service Policies

In recent years, there has been consternation among computer users who are fans of Apple, a California brand that evokes a sense of pride among residents of the Golden State. Although the company’s products are acclaimed for their design, performance, flair, and functionality, the same cannot be said about its service and repairs policies.

As previously discussed in this blog, Apple has been engaged in lobbying activity against legislation proposed in various states in relation to technical service and repairs. Apple is concerned that new laws may compel the company to provide manual and special tools to independent computer repair shops; this is something that Apple has always been opposed to.

Apple likes to exert total control over service and repairs of its products because this is an excellent revenue stream and marketing strategy; however, when the company makes its own products obsolete, this desire for total control becomes draconian and inconvenient for owners of vintage devices such as MacBook Pros.

If you own older Apple products in need of repair, feel free to bring them to A Plus Computers in Apple Valley for diagnostics and service. Unlike the Apple Store or Best Buy, our technicians will not turn you away; instead, they will assess the problem and will do everything possible to fix your devices. Being the owner of a vintage Apple product is a neat experience, and we will do everything possible to help you hold on to your iOS or Mac OSX devices a little longer.

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