Apple iCloud account sign-in, web apps suffer hours-long outage [u]

Posted:
in iCloud edited December 2016
Apple's iCloud was hit with an hours-long downtime on Monday, leaving an unknown number of subscribers without access to account sign-in services and certain web apps normally available through iCloud.com.




Apple acknowledged the disruption of services on its System Status webpage, noting "some users" were impacted by the outage which apparently struck at approximately 11 a.m. Pacific.

According to a brief summary provided by Apple, customers experiencing issues may not be able to sign in to or create iCloud accounts during the downtime. Web apps are also unavailable for some users, restricting web client access to Mail, Calendar and other products.

It is unclear how far the iCloud issue has spread, though some users report iCloud systems are working sporadically in parts of the U.S.

Apple is currently investigating the problem, which is ongoing as of this writing.

Today's issues cropped up just a few hours after Apple enabled iCloud Photo library Touch Bar support and new user interface assets for iCloud.com beta testers. Whether the outage is related to the feature additions is unknown.

Update: Apple has resolved the issue after three hours of downtime.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    Wasn't able to access iCloud calendars via the Calendar app on my Mac or iCloud.com, and my iCloud drive on my Mac was wonky. As of now, I'm back up and running.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 119member
    Just a few minutes ago still having trouble with mail. Calendar seemed OK. Go figure.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    All working now, after an hour of non-connection issues, with iCloud mail and iCloud logins.

    Thought it had something to do with today's macOS Sierra Beta 5, that I had just installed.
    But it turned out it was just just coincidence.


  • Reply 4 of 13
    Still no joy with authenticating my iCloud sign on from OS 10.8.5.  The setup.icloud.com server that it hits (according to Little Snitch) is not online and therefore cannot vend the configuration back to me.  This was all working fine before.  But I signed out and tried to sign back in a few days ago after setting the invitation preference on the web interface to defat the Calendar spams.  Managed to get iCloud mail working by setting up a manually configured IMAP account but cannot so far get CalDAV and CardDAV working although some of the advice from MobileMe configs back in 2012 got me partway there.  Cannot understand why a vital server was taken down.  10.8.5 on another machine is happily communicating with iCloud and syncing just fine.  Health warning to all 10.8.5 users then is to not sign out of iCloud because you won't be able to sign back in until they fix this.  Very likely affects other OS variants too. New users may not see these problems because iCloud authentication is handled quite differently on later OS versions.  Have been examining preferences between the two otherwise identical machines to see if I can clone some plist files across to fix this. Only limited success so far. I have to congratulate the Apple Support team for taking ownership and chasing engineering for a fix.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    lvidallvidal Posts: 155member
    Apple is in a difficult situation trying to offer web services on par with Google and still lacking big time. Meanwhile we as users are not getting the "it just works" philosophy.
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 6 of 13
    These repeated outages make it impossible to migrate from google and dropbox. 
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Snip... "It is unclear how far the iCloud issue has spread, though some users report iCloud systems are working sporadically in parts of the U.S."

    Couldn't sign-in last evening at 20:00 (Paris time)... all working this morning at 04:00.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    appexappex Posts: 485member
    Nothing like a wired standalone system. Whenever possible, of course.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    My iPhone kept popping up asking for authentication sign-in for about 30 minutes yesterday. It's been fine since. 
  • Reply 10 of 13
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 505member
    I think I must be the only person to have never had a problem with iCloud. Photos syncing gets stuck sometimes and requires disabling and re-enabling but that's all and only happened once or twice. 

    I've switched from Dropbox to iCloud Drive - partly due to DB's high CPU usage and partly due to already paying for extra iCloud storage - but the iCloud Drive web interface is terrible and the app not much better. You can't move files into subfolders on the web, and it just fails to work on PC browsers. The deleted file recovery thing has never worked, just timing out after 5 minutes.  Selective sync would be useful too. 
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Huge thanks to the Apple support team for investigating the breakdown in iCloud sign on capabilities with Mountain Lion (10.8.5) for me that I posted about earlier.  They continue to press the iCloud engineers for an answer.  It is hugely reassuring that there are folks like that working for Apple. So far, the only advice from iCloud engineering is to just upgrade to Sierra.  Doh!  I'm not impressed with that as an answer at all.  Its a very typical corporate 'cop out' when faced with an engineering support job that needs to be done and I recognise it for what it is, having worked on help-desks myself.  It looks like the engineers didn't even look at the issue but just knee jerked on the OS 10.8.5 version number without looking at the underlying problem.

    I'm not against upgrading to Sierra but its not right for this particular workstation. I would also have to replace a lot of application software that will cost quite a lot.  Adobe CS6 and MS Office are problematic at the least because this would force me to embrace the rental model for licensing their software which I am not going to do.  If I switch to other apps to replace them, then I have to convert all my business workflows and documents as well.  It is months of work vs. Apple engineers just turning the server back on so the iCloud sign on will work again on a legacy OS.  Never mind the UI functionality changes and muscle memory retaining necessary to cope with different user experiences on Mountain Lion vs. Sierra because I will still need to switch between OS versions.

    So, we wait now for the Apple iCloud engineers to fix the thing they broke or tell me how to work around it.  If I eventually have to figure out a work around for myself it is probably going to be fairly complex. At least I have one working system and one that doesn't to compare for differences.  In theory, then, I should be able to find the files that setup.icloud.com would vend back to me if it were working.  Then clone them across.  So far that hasn't worked but I need to complete the tests.

    The alternative is to go to a non-iCloud solution altogether for CalDAV and CardDAV. Then you lose the integration with iCloud unless you can bridge the two somehow.  I can't convince myself that we won't be visiting this same problem again 5 years down the road if I did upgrade to Sierra.  It is not the first time iCloud has caused me these kinds of issues.  Using iCloud may be the perfect solution if you have exactly 1 iPhone, 1 iPad and a single MacBook Pro laptop.  My setup is way more complex with legacy hardware, different OS versions to keep running and multiple systems and software dependancies that prevent OS upgrades.

    I figure this is worth some effort to find a solution because I surely cannot be the only user out there running Mountain Lion who wants to connect to iCloud.  Maybe there are not as many of us as there are Sierra users but I would wager that there are quite a few. Maybe its worth researching and publishing a book which explains how to solve these kinds of problems for ourselves if we are not going to get answers from Cupertino.  If it were not so frustrating it might even be fun.

    Things are winding down for Christmas now and I'm hopeful that I'll get a more helpful solution from the engineers in due course and thankfully the support team are still on the case.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    OK, there is a work around.  But you need an external CalDAV service available such as FastMail.  It might work with other providers in a similar way.  Here are the steps:

    1. Go to your FastMail control panel.

    2. Navigate to the security settings and create a password for the Calendar app to use on your Mountain Lion workstation.

    3. Go to your Calendar app preferences on Mountain Lion.

    4. Create a new CalDAV account using your FastMail user name but for the password, use the one you just created.  This means your main FastMail account is not used more widely and secures your CalDAV connection discretely from your main FastMail login.  This app password value may be one of the things that setup.icloud.com was supposed to vend to the Calendar app because the login failure when I used my FastMail account password was identical to the one I got when trying to manually set up the iCloud CalDAV account.  FastMAil provide lots of help.  You will need to connect to their CalDAV server at caldav.fastmail.com.

    5. Once the account is created you will see a new calendar in the Mountain Lion Calendar app.  It will be under the FastMail server grouping.

    6. Now go to your FastMail account control panel.  In the Calendar config, you can subscribe to your iCloud calendars.  FastMail will access them and then host them through to your iCal app.  Once you log in to iCloud from FastMail, you should see all your iCloud calendars appear in the FastMail control panel.  Shortly after that they will all then show up in the Calendar app on Mountain Lion.

    This will probably work the same for Contacts but Notes is managed via the IMAP mail services and doesn't seem to work the same.

    Minor issues and observations are:

    - Calendar ordering is not reflected all the way though but you can probably drag them into the right order
    - Any previous sharing is via iCloud and you might not be able to control that from the CAlendar app so easily
    - Some increase in complexity because now you have an intermediate server
    - Possible slight increase in latency from your desktop but hey, at least the calendars are there
    - Calendar colours are reflected through

    OK, so at least as a holding situation, I can use the workstation to view my iCloud calendars until the Apple engineers fix their end.




  • Reply 13 of 13
    In the end, after a lot of time spent diagnosing this and with the help of the support team at Apple, we used the sysdiagnose tools to scan the logs and configs for the engineers.  This yielded some error reports about missing security certificates.  I was able to recover the specific certs from another working machine by exporting them from the keychain app and then importing them on the faulty machine.  They are system root level certs so I couldn't just drop them back into the OS and make them usable for all accounts. I don't need them to be that widely available and since they are owned by the account that needs to connect to iCloud its fine.

    What I cannot figure out is how the certificates went missing.  I hadn't deleted any certificates so something I did, an app that I ran caused this damage.  Likely I will never find out what that is.  They appear to only be used during the sign-on process.

    A useful diagnosis trick to know is to reproduce the problem and then immediately look in syslog to see if there are warnings relating to calling setup.icloud.com and if there are, that will help you narrow things down to what you need to fix.  Should have looked there earlier though.

    So grateful thanks to Apple Support for their help and apologies to the engineers for accusing them of breaking things (this time).

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