Apple fixes iCloud outage, but problems linger

While iCloud is now fully operational, affected users may still be experiencing missing or garbled e-mails sent during the outage.

Apple's iCloud services are now fully operational again according to the iCloud status page, but some problems may linger for users.

For the past few days, a large number of iCloud users had been hit with an outage that prevented them from using their e-mail accounts. In some cases the problem resulted in delayed e-mail messages that would arrive hours after being sent, but in other cases no mail would get through at all.

When the problem happened Apple did not offer much information on what was causing the outage, and only mentioned in a terse status update on its Web site that about 1-2 percent of users were affected and that the company would be fixing the problem ASAP.

Apple's lack of information about the issue also trickled to its support staff, where affected users who had contacted Apple support about it were sometimes given incorrect steps to take regarding the issue and were instructed to troubleshoot their Mail application settings, removing their accounts and re-adding them, which caused them to lose settings and some messages.

MacFixIt reader Paul writes:

The Apple tech I spoke with had me delete my account on my iPad and then reinstall it which did nothing more than make me lose all my previous emails that I had already received. I have a case number and a direct contact to that technician but he is allowing all his calls go to voicemail and not returning any calls. I am so deeply disappointed in the service they are providing. Their lack of communication is seriously hurting my business.

Even for those who did not touch their computer's settings, Apple has claimed e-mails that did not arrive over the past few days should begin to do so once the problems were addressed. However, even though messages are beginning to arrive, some users are noticing other problems such as garbled messages in their e-mail inboxes that have dates of 12/31/1969 and illegible subject lines or no apparent content to them at all.

These issues have a number of the approximate 2-3 million affected users concerned that they may not be properly receiving messages sent to them during the outage.

Apple's Mail directory in the hidden user library
Restoring the Mail folder in the user library to that before you made any changes to your account should restore your account as it was, allowing it to receive messages sent over the past few days during the iCloud outage (click for larger view). Screenshot by Topher Kessler/CNET

If when you first noticed this problem you attempted to correct it by deleting your previous e-mail settings and have lost messages from doing so, you might be able to retrieve them from a Time Machine backup. To do this, quit Mail if it is running and then in the Finder choose "Go to Folder" from the Go menu. Enter ~/Library in the path field that appears, and when the library folder opens, invoke the Time Machine interface. Locate the backup from before you made your modifications, and then restore the Mail folder from this backup instance. After doing this, exit Time Machine and re-launch Mail, and both your previous messages should be in your inbox along with new ones received now that the outage has been addressed.

If you are concerned about not having received e-mails sent to you during the outage, then you might consider sending an e-mail to your contacts informing them of the outage and requesting they re-send any messages from the past few days. The service being online and operational means once users tackle any residual problems on their end they should be able to continue using the e-mail service without problems.



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About the author

    Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.

     

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