This should be easier, Apple!

Yesterday my father (84 years old) was writing a text message to his friends. While he composed his message, he complained that the order of the keys on the keyboard made no sense to him.

Of course, he never learned to type and never used a computer. “Why don’t they put the letters in alphabetical order?” I guess he is right. The QWERTY layout makes sense when you type with all fingers, but probably is not the most efficient layout on small screens.

Immediately a thought came up in my head: ”There’s an app for that“. And yes, you can install an alternative keyboard with all letters in alphabetical order for only 0,99€.

To save my father the hassle of purchasing an app, I thought it would be best is I gifted the app. I initiated the process, but quickly ran into a wall, since Apple does not allow me to gift app from my Spanish Apple account to a Dutch Apple account. It surprised me, since we live in a global world…

Up to plan B. I asked my father for his phone and proceeded to purchase the keyboard app. Of course, my father never purchased any app, so I had to set up a payment method for his account. Apple offers several options here:

First there is the credit card/debit card. My father does not have a credit card, but does have a credit card. However, his card number is alphanumerical and the interface only allowed me to enter numbers. So I tried my credit card, but again, Apple won’t allow a Spanish credit card be used for a Dutch account.

Then there was the option to use PayPal, which obviously my father hasn’t got either.

Next in the list was the option to pay be telephone on selected carriers (of course, no mention of which those selected carriers are). I entered my father’s phone number and pressed OK, but nothing happened. I assume that my father’s carrier is not one of the selected carriers, but there was no error message at all.

Finally on the list was iDeal, a protocol developed by the Dutch banks specially for online purchases. My father’s bank account does support iDeal, but he has never activated it. But my mother did, so the next plan is to have her purchase the app and then install it through family sharing.

I took my mother’s phone, and tried to purchase the app, but got an error message telling me that I did not have enough balance on the Apple account. What?

After looking around a little bit, I found out that Apple had not implemented iDeal as a payment method, as most online stores do, but rather as a method to top up the balance on the Apple Account.

So I proceeded to use iDeal to get money on my mother’s account. I transferred the minimum amount (1€), got passed to the banking app, accepted the transaction and got sent back to the App Store, which gave me an erro message. I tried it once more, with the same result. I checked the bank status and effectively saw that I had paid two times an euro to Apple.

5 Minutes later the balance of my mother’s account updated and I could finally purchase the keyboard app.

Now I just have to install it on my father’s phone. They have family sharing activated, but I could not see my mother’s purchases from my father’s phone. For that, I had to activate App sharing in the family sharing settings. And when I did that, I got an error message. In order to activate app sharing, you’ll need a valid payment method…

I tried, and I tried and even though my mother has Apple Pay, iDeal and a positive balance on het Apple account, according to Apple she has no payment method configured, so there is no way to transfer her purchases to my father’s phone.

What seemed a good idea, spend 0,99€ to gift an app to my father, ended up wasting almost an hour of time without being able to purchase the app.

This should not be so difficult Apple!

In the end, I spent another hour to teach my father how to send voice messages s he doesn’t have to search for the keys on the keyboard.

Jeroen Sangers @jeroensangers