Nobody likes speaking to an automated phone system — they’re more unreliable than Siri — but a lot of companies use them, including Apple. You don’t necessarily have to speak to them for very long, however. Simply say the F-word next time you phone AppleCare and straight away you’ll be transferred to a human being — though your problem may not get solved any quicker.
You see, Apple’s automated phone system is programmed to listen out for signs of distress. So if you get angry or upset and you start shouting expletives, it won’t bother giving you any more options, it’ll just transfer you to a real person. It’s not exclusive to Apple, either.
The Next Web reports that most automated phone systems, or “Interactive Voice Response systems,” are designed to detect certain keywords that may indicate they are about to lose their customer. When those keywords are heard, they immediately connect the caller to a person who may be able to pacify the customer.
Reddit user “floppybutton” discovered this when mentioning the F-word while on a call to Apple support: “After exploring every option possible in the machine based list, I eventually got frustrated and used a few choice words that triggered something in the computer I was talking to.”
“It cut itself off in mid-sentence, apologized, and in about 10 more seconds I was talking to an Apple tech.”
This doesn’t necessarily make things faster, however.
In response to floppybutton’s thread on Reddit, a person who claims to have worked as a quality assurance representative for AppleCare explained that although you will be connected to a real person, he/she will only be a “call director.” All they can do is apologize before sending you back to the right department.