iTunes & App Store suffer fourth outage in one week, joined by iBooks, VPP & Apple TV issues [u]

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited October 2015
Several of Apple's online services suffered a major outage on Thursday morning, marking the fourth such incident in less than a week. [Updated]




The latest problem appears more severe than one from Tuesday, affecting a wider range of services. On top of the iTunes Store and the iOS App Store, the iBooks Store and the Mac App Store are currently down for some users, as are Apple TV functions and the Volume Purchase Program.

Difficulties began around 6:30 a.m. Eastern time, and are still ongoing, according to Apple's system status page.

The week's third downtime incident actually occurred overnight, starting at 11:30 p.m. and resolving shortly after 4 in the morning.

Online outages are a semi-regular problem for Apple, but the company rarely experiences more than one or two in a single week, much less four impacting the same set of services. Apple has yet to make any official comment on the matter outside of its status tracker.

People encountering trouble with iTunes, iBooks, or the App Store may be unable to visit those storefronts, or download files such as app updates.

Update: All services were restored at approximately 9 a.m.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    iTunes Connect is a total mess at the moment too. Newly uploaded builds are sitting at "processing" for 10+ hours.

  • Reply 2 of 19
    Yesterday, I was experiencing iMessage problems ("not delivered"), and this morning (6:15CDT), Photos on my iMac wouldn't upload pictures from my iPhone.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,314member

    Interstingly, I get notifications that updates are available, but it won't download the updates.

  • Reply 4 of 19
    "The week's third downtime incident actually occurred overnight, starting at 11:30 p.m. and resolving shortly after 4 in the morning."

    11:30 to 4pm of what time zone? Or, perhaps, you should start using GMT. And don't say that PT is understood as your byline shows 2 timezones.

    As for Apple's troubles, I wonder if this has anything to do with the rapid expansions of their data centers?

    Also, was this only for the US stores or were other stores (Canada, Mexico, S.A., Chine, etc.) affected. Doesn't appear that a lot of research went into this article.
  • Reply 5 of 19

    I'm not trying to make excuses for Apple here, as I've personally experienced some of these outages recently and it's definitely frustrating when the issues prevent even simple, everyday tasks from being performed.  That said, I think what may be happening is that Apple could be transitioning to newer and better technologies to support many of their cloud services (which include pretty much everything at this point).  It's not easy to do that stuff seamlessly -- even for a small environment, let alone a global infrastructure supporting hundreds of millions of active devices/users.  So that's what I'm hoping is the problem and not some general incompetence and/or poorly designed environment.  Considering their plans for overall sales growth coupled with new and expanded streaming services, I tend to think it is more of scaling issue.

  • Reply 6 of 19
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member

    "Online outages are a semi-regular problem for Apple, but the company rarely experiences more than one or two in a single week"

     

    One or two a week is still a pretty dismal track record. Yes, they have a huge, complex infrastructure with hundreds of millions of users. But they also have hundreds of billions of dollars in cash. Obviously, money can't solve everything. But it should at least get you a better track record than that.

     

  • Reply 7 of 19
    richl wrote: »
    iTunes Connect is a total mess at the moment too. Newly uploaded builds are sitting at "processing" for 10+ hours.
    10+ hours? I should be so lucky. I'm seeing days and weeks.

    I don't know what's plaguing Eddie Cue's organization, but pretty much all of it is a disaster recently.
  • Reply 8 of 19
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,481member
    The big difference is that Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have frequent outages that go mostly unreported by mass media. Some are huge and go on for hour or days. For instance when all Google Apps went dark for hours last week shutting down millions of business users who depend on it to do their jobs (stupid idea if you ask me), there was barely a mention. Mostly jokes about people posting on social media about how the good part about when ever Google apps goes they get to play online at work, instead of having to work.
    Where is the outrage like when someone can't buy an app from Apple's store?
  • Reply 9 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,354member
    genovelle wrote: »
    The big difference is that Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have frequent outages
    How frequent? Daily? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Most of the others report longer historical data than Apple does so it's easier to track. Apple still only shows three days worth for whatever reason so nigh impossible to spot-compare unless some company keeps logs outside of them.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ApplesWay View Post

     

    I'm not trying to make excuses for Apple here, as I've personally experienced some of these outages recently and it's definitely frustrating when the issues prevent even simple, everyday tasks from being performed.  That said, I think what may be happening is that Apple could be transitioning to newer and better technologies to support many of their cloud services (which include pretty much everything at this point).  It's not easy to do that stuff seamlessly -- even for a small environment, let alone a global infrastructure supporting hundreds of millions of active devices/users.  So that's what I'm hoping is the problem and not some general incompetence and/or poorly designed environment.  Considering their plans for overall sales growth coupled with new and expanded streaming services, I tend to think it is more of scaling issue.


    Yeah, I wonder, too, if this has to do with some transition. Maybe this has something to do with preparation for the new ?TV?

  • Reply 11 of 19
    moxommoxom Posts: 326member

    Currently 4pm in the UK and I still can't update my iPhone Apps... :\

     

  • Reply 12 of 19
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,655member

    From the outside looking in with no facts to back me up other than outside observation, I think Apple has simply gotten too big and they don't have the same kind of careful management oversight over anything anymore that they used to have, because there's simply too much to manage.    Apple used to almost get everything right within the constraints of what they were trying to achieve:  every instruction to the user had perfect syntax and was informative, installations and updates went smoothly, etc.   That was far easier when they were smaller.    

     

    About 15 years ago, I took over responsibility for software development for an e-commerce venture.  Little was getting accomplished with a team of about 100 programmers (the team was directly managed by someone else in another division of the company) and we were grossly over budget.   I knocked the team down to 20 programmers and we became highly productive again.  Why?  Because they couldn't manage 100 programmers, but they could easily manage 20.   Every morning we sat with the 20 and determined what was going to be accomplished that day.   With 100 programmers, management had no idea what each person was doing and there was little oversight of the programmers.  

     

    I installed El Capitan the other day and while it went smoothly, it took over an hour to download and I believe the install also took close to two hours - it's now like those terrible Windows updates.   And while performance does indeed seem better (although how much of this is specifically related to El Capitan and how much is related to the installation of a new OS simply cleaning up a lot of junk and/or damaged files is unknown), I see few useful new functions and several bugs.   For example, the icons in the dock that link to files are now blank instead of proper file extension icons.  I tried removing and replacing them and but they're still just white blanks.    And the new Spotlight is completely useless unless I'm misinterpreting what it's now supposed to be capable of.    I opened a spreadsheet that contained music discographies.    I then went to Spotlight and typed something like, "Give me the weather forecast".   Instead of giving me the forecast, it kept re-opening that spreadsheet.  Why?   Because I think the band "Weather Report" was listed.  It did not give me any choices, but if I go back and click on the Spotlight icon again, I do get a list of choices (but a weather report was not among them).    I asked the score of the Mets game and it directly opened a spreadsheet from 2008 that happened to have the word "mets" in it.   Not good.   

     

    While I haven't upgraded iOS yet to the latest, the last few updates proved very problematic.   I'm holding off until 9.1 and I never update anymore until at least a week after the release.  I can no longer trust Apple to get it right the first time. 

     

    As for the server problems, this is why I really don't like depending upon an online connection and/or using iCloud for anything but sync.   Apple is supposed to be the best at execution - a completely transparent user experience.   IMO, they've got to do better.   It's a good thing that the only real competition is Android or Windows.    

     

    OK, now the Apple Fanboys who can't stand any criticism of their beloved company can get all defensive and tell me why I'm wrong.     

  • Reply 13 of 19
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Can this have anything to do with high iPhone sales and millions of new users?
  • Reply 14 of 19
    If Apple won't hand over a backdoor key to the NSA, I guess the NSA makes their own keys.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ApplesWay View Post

     

    I'm not trying to make excuses for Apple here, as I've personally experienced some of these outages recently and it's definitely frustrating when the issues prevent even simple, everyday tasks from being performed.  That said, I think what may be happening is that Apple could be transitioning to newer and better technologies to support many of their cloud services (which include pretty much everything at this point).  It's not easy to do that stuff seamlessly -- even for a small environment, let alone a global infrastructure supporting hundreds of millions of active devices/users.  So that's what I'm hoping is the problem and not some general incompetence and/or poorly designed environment.  Considering their plans for overall sales growth coupled with new and expanded streaming services, I tend to think it is more of scaling issue.




    Given the company touts it's cloud services quite strongly as an adjunct to onboard storage on iOS devices, wouldn't you think it reasonable of them to make an announcement of an impending outage due to a system upgrade if what you suggested were the case?  My bank advertises days in advance if their online sevices are scheduled to be unavailable due to maintainance or system upgrades.

  • Reply 16 of 19
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,120member
    Yea, I had problems too, but thanks to the fine folks that frequent the Apple Support Communities I found out about this web site: https://www.apple.com/support/systemstatus/ where you can check the status of the various Apple servers and services.

    Now I know what do check the next time I have a problem (and before I try to upgrade iOS.)
  • Reply 17 of 19
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    iTunes is down for me right now :(
  • Reply 18 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ApplesWay View Post

     

    I'm not trying to make excuses for Apple here, as I've personally experienced some of these outages recently and it's definitely frustrating when the issues prevent even simple, everyday tasks from being performed.  That said, I think what may be happening is that Apple could be transitioning to newer and better technologies to support many of their cloud services (which include pretty much everything at this point).  It's not easy to do that stuff seamlessly -- even for a small environment, let alone a global infrastructure supporting hundreds of millions of active devices/users.  So that's what I'm hoping is the problem and not some general incompetence and/or poorly designed environment.  Considering their plans for overall sales growth coupled with new and expanded streaming services, I tend to think it is more of scaling issue.




    Given the company touts it's cloud services quite strongly as an adjunct to onboard storage on iOS devices, wouldn't you think it reasonable of them to make an announcement of an impending outage due to a system upgrade if what you suggested were the case?  My bank advertises days in advance if their online sevices are scheduled to be unavailable due to maintainance or system upgrades.




    It's quite possible that these changes are ongoing, involve numerous Apple services and are probably undergoing vast hardware and software changes.  To expect Apple to pre-announce these isn't very practical IMO, as many of them may be unplanned outages.  I work for a Silicon Valley tech company and this stuff they're doing is bleeding edge and no company I'm aware of pulls these things off smoothly all the time.  I can only imagine the incredible scale that's required to support Apple's infrastructure.  Sometimes I think we expect a little too much from the company.  Overall they do an amazing job.  We also sometimes take for granted the hyper-growth they're experiencing and think everyone does that.  Well, not everyone does that -- Apple is quite unique in that regard.  Just my 2 cents.

  • Reply 19 of 19
    applesway wrote: »
    I'm not trying to make excuses for Apple here, as I've personally experienced some of these outages recently and it's definitely frustrating when the issues prevent even simple, everyday tasks from being performed.  That said, I think what may be happening is that Apple could be transitioning to newer and better technologies to support many of their cloud services (which include pretty much everything at this point).  It's not easy to do that stuff seamlessly -- even for a small environment, let alone a global infrastructure supporting hundreds of millions of active devices/users.  So that's what I'm hoping is the problem and not some general incompetence and/or poorly designed environment.  Considering their plans for overall sales growth coupled with new and expanded streaming services, I tend to think it is more of scaling issue.

    At least they not as worse as what happen to sony PlayStation network that was down for months before it recovered.
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