iCloud Down: What’s happening and when will it return?

Apple's iCloud service is encountering service disruptions across at least one of its major services, with users expressing their frustration on X (formerly Twitter), with some TechRadar staff being locked out as well.

So what's going on and when will iCloud be back to full service? We've reached out to Apple for answers and are covering the outage so you can find out when you'll be back to business as normal on Apple's popular cloud service.

An Apple iCloud error message

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Apple iCloud services are down for at least some of TechRadar's US staff, with widespread reports online from frustrated users who cannot access Apple's iCloud email server.

Users have taken to X (formerly Twitter) to express their frustration with the iCloud outage, with Downdetector reporting at least 1,499 reports of trouble as of 4:06PM EST.

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A screenshot of downdetector showing an Apple iCloud outage

(Image credit: Downdetector)

The major services that appear to be hit are iCloud mail, which Apple reports as a total outage, with some partial outages being reported for other apps.

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iCloud Down: What’s happening and when will it return?

Apple's iCloud service is encountering service disruptions across at least one of its major services, with users expressing their frustration on X (formerly Twitter), with some TechRadar staff being locked out as well.

So what's going on and when will iCloud be back to full service? We've reached out to Apple for answers and are covering the outage so you can find out when you'll be back to business as normal on Apple's popular cloud service.

An Apple iCloud error message

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Apple iCloud services are down for at least some of TechRadar's US staff, with widespread reports online from frustrated users who cannot access Apple's iCloud email server.

Users have taken to X (formerly Twitter) to express their frustration with the iCloud outage, with Downdetector reporting at least 1,499 reports of trouble as of 4:06PM EST.

See more
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iCloud gets a makeover with a revamped look and quality-of-life upgrades

Following updates to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, it’s now iCloud’s turn as Apple is redesigning the website as well as introducing a variety of new features.

It’s not a complete overhaul for iCloud mind you, as the quick-glance widgets from last year’s update are still here. The difference this time is users will be able to do more with them. You can now “customize what you see in Tiles”, from choosing a specific folder from the Notes app on your iPhone to picking out your favorite photographs. It’s even possible to have multiple layouts of the same tile displayed on the front page. 

ICloud's new layout

(Image credit: Future)

Quality-of-life changes

Next, Quick Actions are being added, allowing you mark reminders as complete or flag a particular email among other things. You can perform these by hovering over your files on iCloud then selecting the three dots that appear to reveal the menu. Apple states “on a touch device” just swipe left. Also, if you’re a PC user, you’re now able to receive Mail and Calendar notifications for incoming emails or event invitations.

Everything described so far has been for the homepage. You see more once you start delving into each of iCloud’s tools.

Most of the changes are nice quality-of-life upgrades that make your life a bit easier. For iCloud Mail, you’re now able to attach files to messages directly from your storage and you can unsend recently sent emails before they reach the recipient’s inbox. 

The Calendar isn’t changing much, but it is getting Identity Control for hiding the email addresses “others see in event invitations”. Additionally, Apple is letting people use their Custom Email Domain to combine their “Calendar and Mail identities” into one.

New image tools

For Photos, you get two new ways to enjoy your pictures. There’s the Memories tool that’ll go through your images in a full-screen view, similar to what Google Photos has on its platform. And you have Slideshow, which, as the name suggests, lets you view a selection of images in a slideshow format.

Finally, Notes is receiving several changes. The more notable two are Shared Folder for collaborating with others on a specific file of notes and Enhanced Search. The latter lets you narrow search results “against categories like shared notes” or tags.

That’s pretty much it for the major upgrades. The update is currently live. All you have to do is sign in, and iCloud will then take you through a brief tour of the revamped layout.

If you’re looking for another service to save important files, we recommend checking out TechRadar’s list of the best cloud storage for 2023.

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Google Takeout update could make transferring photos to iCloud a breeze

Starting next year, Google will be making it easier to transfer your user information to third-party services using its Takeout export tool.

This update comes at the tail end of an investigation by the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM), a market competition regulator. In total, there will be three new changes made to Google’s service. Although we don’t know exactly what the changes will be, the AGCM does mention a few things. Two of them will be “supplementary solutions” to Google Takeout, giving people a way to export their information to “third-party operators.” The third “commitment”, as it’s referred to, will “allow direct data portability from service to service.” That last one specifically relates to moving data generated from a person’s Google Search history and YouTube.

To give some backstory, back in 2022 the AGCM alleged Google had been abusing its dominant position in the tech industry to collect “large amounts of [user] data” and putting up “obstacles to interoperability” in sharing information with third parties. One of the complaints said Takeout was “extremely complicated” to use – something they claim was by design as it “discourages [people] from porting their data elsewhere.” In response, Google proposed the three features that we mentioned earlier as changes it could make to appease regulators; all of which the Authority accepted.

Expanding data portability

Regarding the direct data portability feature, 9to5Google states it sounds a lot like the Data Transfer Initiative (formerly known as the Data Transfer Project). If you don’t know what that is, the Data Transfer Initiative consists of Apple, Meta, and Google coming together to expand data portability to users. The classic example, as given by 9to5Google, is imagine being able to transfer images from Google Photos to iCloud without having to manually do anything. The companies handle all the heavy lifting. This could preserve precious bandwidth while also being much faster than downloading gigabytes of content.

It’s unknown exactly when everything in the Google Takeout update will be released, but we won’t have to wait long for the direct data portability tool. The tech giant told the Authority the feature will officially launch sometime during “the first quarter of 2024.” However, we might see it even sooner as third-party platforms can test an early version of the tool “six months before its actual release.” Possibly by October, at the earliest.

If you don’t want to wait until next year for the Google Takeout upgrade, check out TechRadar’s list of the best data migration tools for 2023

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Are Apple Services down? Users unable to access iCloud, send files through AirDrop

We're getting reports that Apple's online services such as the App Store, iCloud and others are seeing outages across the globe.

Reports of issues with Apple began to surface around 16.55 GMT, with hundreds of users signaled problems on the outage tracker site DownDetector.

The company has yet to confirm that there are problems for now, but it's best to keep track of Apple Status for now.

We're following the story live, so stay tuned and read all our latest updates below…

App Store, iCloud, and Music all look to be down for now, with our writer Rhys Wood reporting that AirDrop isn't working either for him.

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Are Apple Services down? Users unable to access iCloud, send files through AirDrop

We're getting reports that Apple's online services such as the App Store, iCloud and others are seeing outages across the globe.

Reports of issues with Apple began to surface around 16.55 GMT, with hundreds of users signaled problems on the outage tracker site DownDetector.

The company has yet to confirm that there are problems for now, but it's best to keep track of Apple Status for now.

We're following the story live, so stay tuned and read all our latest updates below…

App Store, iCloud, and Music all look to be down for now, with our writer Rhys Wood reporting that AirDrop isn't working either for him.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

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Developers want to know from Apple if an iCloud issue will finally be fixed

If you use an Apple device, there’s a good chance that you use iCloud, its service of syncing your content across multiple devices, alongside streaming files and your tasks in certain apps that also use the service.

However, you may have experienced some issues where your content on one device, isn’t showing on another. This has begun to be known as the 503 error – where iCloud syncing isn’t working properly.

This would have been fine for users and developers if this had been an issue for a few days or a week, but it’s seemingly been since last summer that issues relating to iCloud have remained.

It’s now at the point where developers are venting their frustrations as to whether this issue will be resolved for their apps, and for users.

We speak to developers about their 503 experiences

A Twitter thread on January 25 by Becky Handsmeyer, developer of YarnBuddy and Scribblet, wanted to see if there was another way of reporting the issue to Apple. Soon after, other developers replied to her through a thread.

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We reached out to Handsmeyer to explain the issue further. “My headache with this started with a 2-star review 21 days ago where a user complained of crashes and broken syncing. Since then I’ve gotten 6 more complaints of broken syncing, some through reviews but mostly via email.” 

Handsmeyer continued “No amount of troubleshooting seems to help (reinstalling, making sure iCloud Drive is enabled, etc). I’ve seen multiple developers complaining about iCloud issues and 503 errors including James Thomson, Paul Haddad, and the developer of Streaks. One person said they had used a DTS session and Apple acknowledged the issue but have no timeline for a fix.”

Other developers such as GoodNotes recently published an article regarding the issue, due to users experiencing 503 issues. The article mentions “This issue is not apparent to us and we've escalated the case to Apple Technical Support team for investigation. It seems it's happening to other apps as well.”

But there’s no end in sight for a fix as yet, and users are becoming more frustrated that their content is not syncing properly.

James Thomson, the developer of PCalc, explained to us that it looks as though the issue may be related to the latest updates of iOS 15, macOS 12 Monterey, and others.

“I started seeing some iCloud syncing issues with PCalc with the OS betas during the late summer. It was taking several minutes to sync over settings, rather than the usual seconds, and people assumed the syncing wasn’t actually working.” Thomson explains. “That persisted into the releases, and eventually, I turned things off by default because it was causing problems where people were losing some of the changes they were making due to the long delays. Hopefully, it’s something Apple can fix soon, and I can turn it back on again then.”


Analysis: What’s taking so long?

Looking through the Twitter thread of other experiences from developers, you can place the issue back to when Apple’s software updates were heading toward their final release, just before the iPhone 13 series were announced at September’s event.

When major software releases are pushed out, you can assume services that are hidden to users, are also updated, so that they can work with the new features that have been announced and implemented.

But considering that this is four months since the release of iOS 15 and the other software updates, with no context for developers as to what the issue actually is, and when it will be fixed, is bringing unnecessary frustrations to Apple.

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment as to whether the 503 issue is in the process of being fixed.

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iCloud for Windows now has its own password generator

Apple has released a new version of its cloud storage service for Windows and iCloud for Windows 13 now includes a password generator among other new features.

While the iPhone maker released an update back in August that allowed Windows users to leverage its iCloud Keychain password manager app, at that time they could only access their stored passwords.

Now though with the release of the latest version of iCloud for Windows, Windows users can generate strong and unique passwords for all of their accounts regardless of whether they're currently using Apple or Microsoft's operating system.

Apple also released a Chrome iCloud extension at the beginning of this year to make it easier for its users to access their stored passwords from Google's browser or even on a Chromebook.

ProRaw and ProRes support

In addition to bringing a password generator to iCloud for Windows, Apple has also added support for its ProRaw and ProRes photo and video formats to its cloud storage service.

While the ProRaw photo format was first introduced with the launch of the iPhone 12 Pro last year, ProRes is a new video format that debuted with the launch of the iPhone 13 Pro earlier this year. 

As Apple's latest pro model iPhone support both formats, adding them to iCloud for Windows makes a lot of sense as users will now be able to view and edit photos and videos shot using them on their desktop PCs.

Apple users that want to use iCloud on a Windows machine at home or work can now download iCloud for Windows 13 from the Microsoft Store.

We've also rounded up the best password manager, best password generator and best identity theft protection

Via The Verge

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