Featured Article from Conferencing

Service Outage Hits FaceTime and Apple's iMessage

November 20, 2012

Many on Sunday were wondering whether or not Apple's servers for iMessage and FaceTime were working, as many disgruntled iOS users poured onto Twitter to express their frustration that their favorite Apple messaging services were not working properly.

A number of AppleInsider readers reported that they could not send or receive iMessages from their iPhones and iPads, a problem that is becoming more common since the company's newest iOS 6 was released in September. The outage meant that an unknown number of iPad, iPhone and iMac users were left having to find alternate methods to keep in touch with friends and family.

As it turns out, users were not just imagining things as the iCloud outage was widespread on Sunday and affected many of Apple's most-used services. Apple’s iCloud Support page shows that iMessage and FaceTime both went under at 11:45 PT and remained down for some users for roughly five hours.

Apple formally acknowledged the issues with iMessage and FaceTime on the company's iCloud status page. Apple says users were "unable to use iMessage," "may have been unable to place FaceTime calls" and "may have been unable to complete storage upgrade payment transactions." According to Apple's iCloud system status webpage, "some" users unable to use iMessage or place FaceTime calls, with the error coming less than two days after an issue appeared with iCloud storage upgrade payment transactions. Apple said service will return to normal "ASAP."

According to Apple Insider, this is the fourth downtime to hit iMessage over the past few months. There were a series of outages in September, a three hour outage late last month and another brief bit of downtime on October 30.

iMessage was introduced as part of iOS 5 in October 2011. The service works much like BlackBerry Messenger in that it allows users to circumvent traditional SMS text messaging provided by wireless carriers. It includes traditional SMS / MMS functionality in addition to allowing for read and delivery receipts as well as user typing notifications.

It’s not unclear exactly how many users were affected by Sunday’s downtime nor does anyone know what caused the outage.

In the future, if your iMessages won't send, FaceTime won't connect or you can't back up your iPhone or iPad information to iCloud, be sure to check out Apple's always-up-to-date iCloud status page to see if it's a widespread problem or a specific issue with your iOS device.

If others aren't experiencing your problem, Apple recommends you power down your iPhone, iPad or iPad, wait one minute, then turn on the device one minute later. This usually fixes any network configuration issues, particularly with connecting to the Internet or iCloud.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman