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Apple tops Consumer Reports satisfaction survey for computer technical support

Apple once again ranked highest this year on an annual Consumer Reports satisfaction survey for computer support services, the magazine has revealed in its July issue.

Apart from Apple scoring good reviews for its phone and online support options, four out of five Mac owners who used AppleCare said the service was able to solve their problem. Apple has maintained the highest score for overall satisfaction since Consumer Reports began surveying people on computer technical support in 2007.

In comparison, the help desk services for four of out of six Windows PC brands were only able to solve half of the issues they were presented with. The other two companies, Dell and Lenovo, scored a modestly better 61 percent rate.

Apple was also a leader in terms of retail support, though the company was rated "pretty much even" with independent stores, the publication said. Ranking behind those groups were Best Buy's Geek Squad and Staples' EasyTech. Outfits like Geek Squad and EasyTech charge people for any level of service though, whereas Apple will diagnose any of its products for free, even if out-of-warranty repairs can sometimes be expensive.

The survey was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center earlier this year, and polled over 3,200 computer owners.

One area where PC services did surpass Apple was in the length of phone and online coverage. Apple offers just 90 days of remote support with its default one-year warranty, whereas most PC makers provide a full year. Both remote support and warranty coverage can be extended to three years via an AppleCare Protection Plan, but that costs $249.