Apple iCloud Account and Sign In issue caused device activation, setup problems

in General Discussion edited December 2020
Apple's iCloud backend suffered from an unknown problem that appears to be causing new device setup and account activation failures for over 32 hours, but the issue seems to be resolved as of the evening of December 26.

iCloud Issue

An unspecified issue with Apple's iCloud Account and Sign In service began to impact a subset of users at around 4:45 a.m. Eastern Time on Christmas morning, according to Apple's System Status webpage.

No information is provided with the advisement and Apple notes the issue is ongoing.

A number of users, many of whom received products like iPhone, Apple Watch and HomePod as Christmas presents, reported device activation troubles on Twitter. Some are noting long wait times for iCloud account creation and new device setup, while others are seeing complete failures.

Apple Support recognized the issue on Twitter.

"We are experiencing a high capacity at this time which is impacting your ability to set up iCloud, please try back in a couple of hours," Apple said in a tweet.

This year's holiday season is anticipated to be especially busy for Apple, which released the latest iPhone 12 series a month later than usual due to manufacturing delays caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the tech giant's HomePod mini and newly released AirPods Max are expected to be popular stocking stuffers this holiday season.

Update December 26, 5:10 PM Eastern Time with Apple reporting resolution of all issues.


  • Reply 1 of 3
    We got my son a cellular Apple Watch SE and had a difficult time setting it up as a stand alone device, not connected to an iPhone.  Took about an hour and six or seven attempts for it to finally go through.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    It's already complicated enough...
    My grandson received an iPhone for Christmas and, since I was not there because his dad had been exposed to the virus, he decided to set it up himself.    He powered on the device and Apple walked him through the setup and he and his family thought it was all done and complete -- he was even texting and face-timing with his friends.

    But, when I sent him a text that he didn't get I began to suspect something wasn't complete.
    I asked him if he had signed on to his dad's Sprint account* to transfer his phone number and, of course he had not.   So, as long as he stays connected to WiFi most things will work fine for him.

    That's one of the drawbacks to the AppleStores being less accessible:   it pushes people to try to do things online on their own.  And, without expert help, they don't always do it correctly.

    I know what would have happened here had I not identified the problem:  He and his mom & dad eventually would have claimed that his new phone was not working and blamed Apple.

    * For T-Mobile all you have to do is transfer the SIM card.   But Sprint customers do not yet have access to those administrative features.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,931member
    We had the same issue last year. I got my wife a new iPad and I couldn't set it up for a couple days because the servers were overloaded. It seems like the same thing happens every year. One would think Apple could anticipate and accommodate the load. nothing like not being able to use your brand new device to wreck the joy.
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