The Apple system status page is best known not for displaying the actual status of Apple services, but rather a pageful of green indicators that only change once a problem is so widespread and severe that the company can no longer hide it.

I mean, I get it. There will always be minor and temporary glitches affecting a tiny number of people, and it’s not realistic for Apple to update the page to reflect each one of these. But I think there’s no denying the fact that the page currently has its own reality distortion field …

Yesterday’s iCloud outage was a classic example. Games Center, iCloud Backup, iCloud Mail, iCloud.com, and iCloud Photos were all down for a significant number of people worldwide – but you’d never have known it if you’d visited Apple’s status page. It was showing all-green “nothing to see here” for several hours before the company finally admitted that there were issues affecting “some people.”

This isn’t just annoying in a roll-your-eyes kind of way – it can also waste a lot of people’s time. When I experience a problem that could be down to iCloud or may be local, the first thing I’ll do is check the status page. If that is showing green, and the problem persists, I’ll start troubleshooting.

Tech troubleshooting is time-consuming and annoying even when you can solve the problem, but it can be infuriating when after half an hour of fruitless elimination of possible causes, you’re still no wiser – and it is only hours later that Apple issues a “mea culpa.”

Multiply all that time and frustration by the number of affected users worldwide, and that’s a lot of unnecessary work and irritation.

It’s hard to see why it takes Apple so long to update the page. The company must have automated testing in use on all of its services, and that must be done at a sufficient scale to spot problems that affect a significant number of people. So why delay reporting?

I can only guess that somewhere within Apple there is an uptime/downtime metric that incentivizes staff to minimize the number of times they admit to downtime. I really can’t think of any other explanation that would see one of the world’s largest and most technically sophisticated companies be this incompetent at routine monitoring.

Please, Apple, fix the metric, and switch off the reality distortion field. Thank you.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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