Cloudburst: iCloud problems with iOS 9

There is a gathering storm in iCloud, it appears, as more and more users who back up their iOS devices to it are experiencing problems. Craig Grannell’s account is agonising and worrying: he is clearly not the only user experiencing such problems, but then again there must be many users who are not.

Apple remains silent on these issues, which is also worrying. When any cloud service experiences an outage, we expect there to be news, an apology, and a restoration of service. Now that a lot of users are suffering a loss of service, there are just the agonising words of those affected, filling the support and discussion forums.

Unfortunately this type of problem is classic in remote services. If you are making local backups and something goes wrong, you can usually work out what the problem is, and either solve it, or at least implement a workaround. You may still lose data, but you can pick yourself up, dust off, and carry on.

For a user to even guess what is wrong with a cloud service is impossible: there is nothing that you can guess. You don’t know how the service works, or what has broken between you and it. You cannot try workarounds, beyond the most crude ‘turn it off, and back on again’.

Given that bugs happen, and bugs will continue to affect cloud services like iCloud, on which we are reliant, Apple and other cloud service providers need to think about the workarounds that they should offer us, explain them to us, and keep us better informed as to what the hell is going on.