Millions Of iCloud Users Affected By Apple Service Outage
August 22, 2013

Millions Of iCloud Users Affected By Apple Service Outage

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Several of Apple’s iCloud services are down for some users this morning, including iMessage and Photo Stream. Apple’s system status page lists these services as having an issue, but also mentions that only one percent of users should notice any difficulty when accessing these cloud offerings. Those who are affected are having difficulty downloading attachments from iMessages and are also unable to use some other iCloud documents, such as iPhoto Journal and Backup.

Early this morning iTunes users were affected by a separate outage, which left them unable to make purchases for less than an hour. According to Apple’s page, 16.6 percent of users were affected by this outage. The iCloud outage has been affecting users since a little after midnight EST this morning and continues to affect users.

This small outage occurs just days after Apple finally brought its developer center online. Last month a security breach by a seemingly innocent security researcher prompted Apple to take the developer center down for over three weeks to tighten its security. The site came back online on August 10.

Apple’s iMessage text messaging feature has been prone to outages since its release with iOS 5 in 2011. When users noticed an outage last November, for instance, the Apple-centric website tweeted: “Yes, iMessage is down again. You guys want a post for something that happens a few times a week?”

Recently, iMessage outages have affected varying amounts of users in April and July. Today’s outage is much smaller, affecting only one percent of users and only prohibiting them from sending or downloading attachments.

According to Apple, users will simply be “unable to use” some services during the latest disruption.

Photo Stream is Apple’s cloud offering for users’ pictures, automatically syncing pictures taken with iPads, iPhones or iPod Touch devices. The photos can also be viewed online or with iPhoto on Macs.

iPhoto Journals allow users to create diaries of photos in the iOS version of the iPhoto app.

iCloud’s documents in the cloud keeps users’ Keynote, Numbers and Pages documents synced together in the cloud, allowing changes made on iOS devices and Macs to appear almost instantly on all other devices. For example, a Pages document could be created on a Mac at home one evening and edited the next morning on an iPad at a coffee shop.

One of the key features of iCloud is ‘Backup and Restore.’ This feature backs up changes made to iOS devices automatically when plugged in and connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Though this outage is only affecting a small number of users, it has been going on longer than most outages, possibly suggesting a deeper issue with the service.