Mac owners unable to log in to Messages, FaceTime after OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan update

Posted:
in macOS edited March 2016
A number of Mac owners are experiencing issues with iMessage and FaceTime logins after upgrading to the latest version of OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan released Monday, with evidence suggesting a bug in the apps' account activation system.


Messages error pop-up via Apple Support Communities member "traffsh0w."


Mac owners have taken to Apple's Support Communities forum to report (1, 2, 3, 4) an apparent Messages and FaceTime authentication issue in OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan that prevents users from using either service. AppleInsider has also received multiple reports detailing identical problems. OS X 10.11.4 was released on Monday with various feature additions and improvements.

The issue presents itself after installing the latest version of OS X, with most users reporting a pop-up error dialogues reading, "Could not sign in to iMessage" and "An error occurred during authentication." In other cases, the iMessage setup window seems to send user ID information to Apple's servers, but hangs without timing out.

Since iCloud logins appear unaffected by the bug, the problem might trace back to Apple's iMessage and FaceTime control services. Reports of multiple errors within a single household or business deployment suggest a faulty node might be impacting a geographical subset of users. Circumstantial evidence supports the theory of a server-side issue, as at least one Mac owner saw login trouble persist after downgrading to OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

The percentage of Macs affected by the issue is unknown, though reports are coming in from both users of older model hardware and customers who just purchased their computer.

As for an effective workaround, users have attempted generating app-specific passwords, toggling two-factor authentication on and off, reinstalling the update and performing fresh installs, but a reliable alternative has yet to be discovered.

Some forum members who contacted Apple Support said representatives are aware of the problem and note Apple engineers are working on a fix. AppleInsider reached out for clarification on the matter and will update this article when an answer is received.

El Capitan's login issues come one day after iPad owners reported difficulty installing iOS 9.3 on older hardware. As with Messages and FaceTime on Mac, the issue on iPad appears during the account activation stage. However, the iPad bug prevents iOS from installing altogether, leaving some tablets unusable unless a system restore is performed through iTunes.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Haven't seen this myself, but if such a burg is pervasive, how was this not discovered during testing?
    1983
  • Reply 2 of 28
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    applejeffcnocbuimanfrommars
  • Reply 3 of 28
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,087member
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.

    Not for me. I still live in the good old days. I have not been affected by a single one of these so-called bugs. I have an iMac 14,2 (late 2013), an iPhone 6, an Apple TV 4, and an Watch. All upgraded to the latest software from two days ago. All upgrades went perfectly without issues. All hardware and software is working fine as it did before the upgrades. There are NO issues. I think you live in a different world than the vast majority of users. 
    kevin keejony0wvdirkMacProstevehdjkfishernolamacguy
  • Reply 4 of 28
    robogoborobogobo Posts: 378member
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    Those days never existed. Either you were affected by a bug back then, today or one day you will be.
    kevin keejony0MacProstevehRayz2016
  • Reply 5 of 28
    alduxaldux Posts: 1member
    So happy to read this after wasting hours today on exactly this issue.  Downgraded my iMac to Yosemite, and back to El Cap, tried several Apple ID's, erased keychain entries, reset PRAM and many other crazy detailed failed attempts to connect iMessage and FaceTime.  Everything else works great, but sure hope the engineers fix the authentication issue.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,087member

    pmz said:
    Haven't seen this myself, but if such a burg is pervasive, how was this not discovered during testing?
    That’s because it’s not pervasive at all. What evidence can you present that it is? Counting views on the Apple discussion forums? Counting Google “hits”? All of which are useless indicators of the “pervasiveness” of an issue. With every release of an upgrade we see a flurry of reports of various glitches. These reports come from anonymous users with an unknown skill level and unknown states of stability for their installations. 
    kevin keejony0djkfishernolamacguy
  • Reply 7 of 28
    2oh12oh1 Posts: 501member
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    Whenever I see a comment like that, I assume the poster is either a kid who never knew what those good old days were really like, or it's someone who glorifies the past to the point where they lose touch with reality.

    No company is perfect and no software is either, but I feel sorry for anyone who honestly believes El Capitan has more bugs than Leopard.  Or Tiger.  Or Mac OS 8 & 8.5.
    kevin keechasmjony0djkfishernolamacguy
  • Reply 8 of 28
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,595member
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    'It just works' is marketing and it is funny how marketing slogans have the power to replace memories. I have been using Macs since before OSX and there were always bugs and issues, as h been pointed out above. Relatively speaking I think system stability and reliability is MUCH better now than in the past. There are so many more services running I the background now.
    kevin keeroundaboutnowchasmjony0
  • Reply 9 of 28
    mwhitemwhite Posts: 194member
    I had a problem with mail keeps logging me out of my Yahoo accounts and making me log back into them so I downgraded. Has anyone else had this happen?
  • Reply 10 of 28
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 568member
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    Obviously you have never experienced MacOS 7, 8, or 9. Crashes were quite common. 
    Software always has, and always will have, bugs. An OS is enormously complicated with millions of lines of code. It's a miracle it works at all. 
    nolamacguy
  • Reply 11 of 28
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,543member
    pmz said:
    Haven't seen this myself, but if such a burg is pervasive, how was this not discovered during testing?
    Because, as reading the whole article would have told you, the problem appears to be a server-side issue limited to a geographic area (a faulty node). Nowhere in the article does it say that the problem is pervasive -- "some" users have reported it. It didn't turn up in beta testing because it just happened, or perhaps nobody in that geographic area did any 10.11.4 beta testing. Next time try reading more than the headline (though to be fair to you, the headline is misleading on this point and does suggest the problem affects all owners, but that's another AI "attention-to-detail" issue.
    nolamacguy
  • Reply 12 of 28
    lwiolwio Posts: 87member
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    No problems here. Came through from os 7 right up to now. Some bugs happen but you really don't know what you're talking about after the bombs in classic Mac and the beach balls in the first few iterations of OS X. OS X el cap is by far the best version yet. 
  • Reply 13 of 28
    jony0jony0 Posts: 269member
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    Ah yes, the good old days, when there were also less murders, rapes, pedophiles, wars, and all sorts of troubles in the world. Why are alt of these on the increase ? Is there any common link with all of these ?
    Well yes, yes there is. Communications, the internet mostly as well as other other traditional media, everything has more media coverage simply because there's more media and whether it's really worth reporting or not. Actually, 'more reporting' has been my boiler plate answer for these 'age old' questions for decades. Where and how would you have learned about bugs or other issues back in the good old days of only 3 TV channels and 2 newspapers, the very next day of a release ?
    edited March 2016 nolamacguy
  • Reply 14 of 28
    wvdirkwvdirk Posts: 20member
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    Obviously, you missed Systems 6 & 7...
  • Reply 15 of 28
    djkfisherdjkfisher Posts: 112member
    mwhite said:
    I had a problem with mail keeps logging me out of my Yahoo accounts and making me log back into them so I downgraded. Has anyone else had this happen?
    I think yahoo is your problem :)
  • Reply 16 of 28
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,684member
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    The good old days never existed my friend. People who say things like that about Apple either have not used Apple kit for very long, or they are just haters. I have used Apple computers and devices for 34 years. Bugs and mistakes have always been part of the experience. This is not surprising and not unprecedented.
  • Reply 17 of 28
    jdwjdw Posts: 742member
    I just logged into Messages and FaceTime on my late 2015 5K iMac running 10.11.4.

    And there you have it.
  • Reply 18 of 28
    rob_06rob_06 Posts: 75member
    here is something that may help as I was having the same issue and this allowed me to log in to both facetime/iMessage without issues.

    If your using an old .mac.com on the end of the email try using .me.com instead as it allowed me to log straight in and no further problems.

    icloud.com may also work as yet untested by me

    it looks like .mac.com is no longer being accepted as a viable login.

    hope this helps
  • Reply 19 of 28
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,447member
    2oh1 said:
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    Whenever I see a comment like that, I assume the poster is either a kid who never knew what those good old days were really like, or it's someone who glorifies the past to the point where they lose touch with reality.

    No company is perfect and no software is either, but I feel sorry for anyone who honestly believes El Capitan has more bugs than Leopard.  Or Tiger.  Or Mac OS 8 & 8.5.
    I've been using Apple hardware since 1980 and I have to agree with those who feel that there used to be fewer problems.   During one of the old OS upgrades, I did have a major problem where after the upgrade, Apple's own apps wouldn't work.   I had a G3 or G4 tower at the time and Apple would only help if I removed everything I had added to the machine over the years.   Then they claimed it was bad RAM, even though the RAM was fine the day before.   I finally figured out it was a bad font, although that font was fine with the previous OS.  But aside from that, I remember every OS upgrade going perfectly with no issues. 

    But I have had a fair number of problems more recently.  On both Mac OS and iOS, I've had a number of updates that completely failed and I went through a bit of hell to get things back working again.   I don't really trust Apple's QC anymore, so I generally wait a few weeks before upgrading to see if other people are experiencing major problems. 

    Some of the bugs are minor, but weird.  After one of the recent OS updates, the color of the waveforms in Garage Band changed.   How does that even happen?
  • Reply 20 of 28
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 259member
    wvdirk said:
    Oh, the good old days! When all "Things (Apple) just worked", which, I'm afraid, has become a "Thing" of the past.
    Obviously, you missed Systems 6 & 7...
    Ah, with Font/DA mover and starting up without extensions to tackle a problem. How many hours did that cost?!
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