Should I send Apple feedback when things go wrong? I'm always asked this when Safari crashes and I wonder if anybody bothers to read the error messages. And what's the best way to send feedback to Apple?

Yes! Sending feedback to Apple is a great way to help a great company get even better. And Apple makes it easy for you to send feedback with its Product Feedback website.

But why should you bother giving feedback to Apple? Well, if you like Apple products you should want them to get even better, and one of the key ways to do that is by letting Apple know what you think.

"Apple strives to bring the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings," says the Apple Product Feedback website. "Apple welcomes your feedback on its products."

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Does Apple listen to customer feedback?

There's a common misconception about Apple: that it tends not to care, or listen to its customers, and its internal design team ploughs its own path regardless of what the public thinks (and is somehow miraculously right). This is absolute bunk. It's based on a common misconception that Steve Jobs was dismissive of focus groups, and this meant that Apple was dismissive of customer feedback in general.

Back in 2007 Jobs said: " You've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology."

Apple listens really carefully to its customers. It doesn't always believe that the suggestions of customers, or journalists, are the best way to solve a problem, but it's very carefully attuned to what people are saying about its products. If you have a problem with a product then letting Apple know is the best way to go about it.

A recent poll found that 36 percent of users sent feedback to Apple.

How to send feedback to Apple

Apple Product Feedback web page

Follow these steps if you want to send feedback to Apple:

  1. Open your web browser of choice and enter into the URL or Smart Search Field. (Or click here.)
  2. Select your Apple product from all the ones displayed on the screen.
  3. Fill out the Name, Email Address and Subject fields.
  4. Use the Feedback Type to select the type of information you are offering.
  5. Enter your feedback into the Comments.
  6. Use the Operating System menu to choose your operating system (you can find this by clicking Apple > About This Mac in OS X and Settings > General > About in iOS - check under Version)
  7. Click Submit Feedback

How to use the Feedback Assistant app

Apple Feedback Assistant app

If you're part of the Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite beta programme then you will get an additional app in the Dock called Feedback Assistant. This is used to send feedback directly to Apple.

This is important: if you're running a beta version of OS X you're more likely to encounter bugs and errors, and you will be doing Apple and other Apple users a favour by reporting the problem to Apple so it can be fixed.

Here's how to use Feedback Assistant.

  1. Click on the Feedback Assistant icon in the Dock.
  2. Enter your Apple ID and Password and click Sign In.
  3. If you want to be able to send feedback quickly, click Save For Automatic Login. Otherwise, click Not Now or Never Save.
  4. Feedback Assistant looks a little like the Mail app. Messages and announcements appear in an inbox. Click through the messages and read the announcements from Apple.
  5. Click the New Feedback icon.
  6. Fill out the Feedback for OS X Yosemite Beta form.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. A window called Attach Files appears running a process called sysdiagnose. Wait for the System Diagnosis to finish running. You can use the Add and Screenshot icons to add files that describe or illustrate the problem.
  9. Click Continue and Submit.

What kind of feedback should I send to Apple?

You should certainly let Apple know if you're having technical issues with its software. Sending feedback is a good way for Apple to know that its software (or hardware) has issues. What you shouldn't believe is that Apple will read your feedback, get in touch with you and help with an individual problem. Remember that stat for the proportion of people sending feedback - Apple couldn't possibly deal with those millions upon of millions of users on an individual basis.

If you believe your Apple product is defective, then you should take your product to an Apple Store or use the Contact Apple Support web page.

Finally, Apple is also at pains to request that people do not send it ideas for new products. Apple's Unsolicited Idea Submission Policy explains this:

"Apple or any of its employees do not accept or consider unsolicited ideas, including ideas for new advertising campaigns, new promotions, new or improved products or technologies, product enhancements, processes, materials, marketing plans or new product names. Please do not submit any unsolicited ideas, original creative artwork, suggestions or other works ("submissions") in any form to Apple or any of its employees. The sole purpose of this policy is to avoid potential misunderstandings or disputes when Apple's products or marketing strategies might seem similar to ideas submitted to Apple."