Apple's multiple iCloud services started showing signs of trouble late Wednesday and continued into Thursday. At the time of this writing, there is no official word from Apple on what caused the problem, but the outage clearly affected a range of popular iCloud services.
How serious was the effect? One can play the numbers and show a glass half-full, as Apple said this service glitch affected less than 1 percent of users, which is true. But here is the glass rather empty: 1 percent could be close to millions, as iCloud users total hundreds of millions, with reports of close to 300 million members.
Those affected by the outage were scrambling unsuccessfully to do their favorite iCloud tasks as they sat down to breakfast on Thursday.
Oh No, Did You Send Me a Cat Pic?
Backup & Restore, Documents in the Cloud, iWork for iCloud, Photo Stream, iPhotoJournals all were affected, as was the ability to send or download iMessage attachments, according to an earlier official status update page from Apple.
For a very brief period, users had been unable to make iTunes purchases (Apple said that 16 percent of users had been affected). Apple also noted a brief period that took place on Wednesday when some users may have been unable to create Apple IDs.
At the time of this writing, according to Apple's official system status page, the company's use of the past tense jumped out into view, as it suggested relief for affected users -- Apple noted that for multiple services less than 1 percent of users "were" affected.
Not for a Minute
iCloud is a popular suite of storage services, a successor to MobileMe. Users can store photos and other types of content using iCloud.
Thursday's service problems were frustrating for affected users in that the problems did not last for just minutes or an hour or so, but rather for over nine hours, with no official details about the cause.
This is not the first time Apple has rolled into a ditch over outages. Apple-watching blogs and news sites today pointed to a recent series of headaches for Apple, such as the developer portal hack last month, causing Apple to take down the site so that it could resolve the issue.
The company also experienced a brief outage of iCloud and iTunes services in June, when Apple's iTunes Store was down. In addition, some iCloud users were unable to use a number of iCloud features at that time.
April also saw outages tied to iCloud-based services and in February, some iCloud services were not working before returning to normal.