back to article Hey Apple, what good is a status page if you only update it after the outage?

Shortly before 1100 PT, Apple suffered a momentary lapse of service across several products, including its App Store. Within minutes of the outage, netizens took to social media to complain of errors, failed transactions, and other issues. Downdetector accumulated a few thousand reports in a matter of minutes but its sources …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They could, at least, make it unavailable

    Not being able to get to the status page is a message in itself

    1. Neoc

      Re: They could, at least, make it unavailable

      Doesn't matter - you're obviously reading it wrong.

  2. cipnt

    I've seen this before...

    At Nominet, the "heart of the internet" as they like to call themselves, the status page is almost never updated.

    On three occasions I've had to specifically ask that they put some sort of update on after reporting an issue to them, them not being aware of it initially (at least 1st line of support weren't) then later confirming it was a "wider" issue.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: I've seen this before...

      Putting something on their status page is admitting they have a problem. No company ever wants to admit to that. They will say it, off the record, but never ever officially, it's bad press.

      Also, as everybody knows, ignoring a problem long enough makes it go away eventually.

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: I've seen this before...

      Over 15 years ago, on the ISP I was on had a problem and you called Tech Support, the on-hold recording would (actually) have the nerve to tell you:

      "Having connectivity problems? Log on to our website and get tech assistance!"

      I would, you moron, if your service ACTUALLY WAS WORKING. But then I wouldn't have to because it *would* be working, would I??


      I swear, "Corporate manager" must equate with "School dropout" in level of intelligence.

      1. X5-332960073452

        Re: I've seen this before...

        Now, virtually ALL helplines direct you to look at their totally (un)useful FAQ / Help / Troubleshooting on the Web (I'm calling as I have connection issues, idiots!).

        Even better, call BT (in the UK) from a mobile, they send a text and cut you off (bigger idiots), avoid by prepending 141 to their number.

  3. GoodStuff

    Three reasons

    Tried for years (in a large state-owned bureaucracy) to get an automated, near-real-time status page published to internal users. Nothing but brick walls. Eventually concluded there were three reasons for the lack of support:

    1. It would have cut across silos at far too low a level. In that environment all information it had to go up, across, and THEN down.

    2. Users were considered incapable of making sensible use of the "raw" information. Or maybe techos were considered incapable of explaining things in user language - same net effect.

    3. Non-tech people didn't want to be advised of issues so that they could work around them - they just wanted there to be no issues. Ever. Good luck with that, of course.

    Totally different environments, but I can't help wondering if these same three roadblocks are alive and well in a great many places - even at Apple. And where we'd all be without Downdetector.

  4. Archivist

    The answer is obvious

    Look at Down-detector first.

    1. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

      Re: The answer is obvious

      Perhaps Down-detector should be given some statutory status if none of the companies maintain pages for themselves.

  5. trevorde Silver badge

    What Twitter does

    1. Status page always says service is OK

    2. Respond to all enquiries with poop emoji

    3. Sack all engineering staff

  6. werdsmith Silver badge

    ISP automated answerphone message when calling them about an outage:

    "please check our website for the latest information on the status of this fault...",

  7. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    I've had similar a experience calling my ISP (Virgin Media at the time) to report a fault, and the chirpy call centre person told me 'We have no reported faults in your area!' like that statement would make it all better,.... so I had to point out that when there was a fault, someone would be the first person to report it, and today, that was me. It was a simple fix too, they had a habit of not adding DNS servers back in the DHCP profile of the cable modems when they amended the scope. Of course, they told me to reboot my cable modem before they'd listen to me.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Its better than telling someone to reinstall windows (Ok was in the times of Windows XP, but I won't let it go no-one thought to check cables were connected first)

    2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      VM modem reboot.

      Which, to be fair, can fix things. Just had some "maintenance" on the network that made the packet loss rate appalling. Was about to call, so I rebooted. Issue fixed.

  8. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    So, they are lying, even if "only" by ommision

    "These SLAs create disincentives to proactively update the status... Publishing any indication of downtime has a major and direct financial impact, so automated anomaly detection and reporting is out."

    This is also why there isn't even internal, company wide monitoring and informational status pages for the front line support staff. It's all about plausibly deniability. Clearly the SLA needs updating to force disclosure as no org is going to voluntarily disclose outages.

  9. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Apple page falls behind? I'm shocked!

    An Apple page falls behind? I'm shocked!

    Yeah, I'm not... the macOS release notes and XCode release notes pages also tend to be ridiuclously behind, to the point that a new release will come out, make it to the "Apple enthusiast sites", be out for several days to the point that even Wikipedia's pages are updated with the new release, while there's still no mention on Apple's release notes pages. Sooner or later (well, just later really), it finally shows up on Apple's pages.

  10. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Admitting the problem...

    "Putting something on their status page is admitting they have a problem. No company ever wants to admit to that."

    ESPECIALLY Apple! Back when I was in college, I encountered silliness with this twice. At my student job, I was running a Mac 6100, which (besides my using it for web browsing and such) ran tape backup to a DDS-3 tape drive. So, this department was well-funded so it didn't take too long for someone to have a newer hand-me-down system -- but the tape drive wouldn't work! Turns out (per Google, Apple never acknowledged the issue) the SCSI chip had a bug (I think with synchronous commands?) that affected tape drives (but not hard drives etc.); they actually had a few OS9 versions that worked around the problem, then it quit working again! Apparently, again per Google, the fix got removed -- it wasn't causing anyone else problems (it didn't fix tape drives but break something else), just some coder there saw this kludgey-looking bit of code, and there was no acknowledged bug so the code got removed.

    Second time I had an issue, someone put statistical software on their Mac and it kept crashing! On that one, it turns out Apple installed cache memory that was like 0.5-1ns too slow, so it "usually" worked but if you had like compression, decompression, number crunching in general that would have run in a fast loop and accessed memory nice and fast, it'd crash! This was back when the cache was still in a slot so I just pulled the cache. Again, this came from Google searches, Apple never acknowledged the problem; I wonder how many people just dealt with this model being flakey on them, when it could be fixed for $0 (pull the cache) to $20 or so (replacement cache module) and about 15 seconds labor time?

  11. Vader

    They are usually hogwash. I like when hosted phone systems go down, which according to the sales person, they never would. As you can't ring them because they use their own systems which are dead. Status page just says nothing is wrong.

    Remember 8x8 saying they had all this redundancy and it would never go down, at a London council. Within one month the whole thing when pear shaped two times.

  12. Lost in Cyberspace

    Same with FAQ pages

    "90% of our customers found what they wanted in the online help pages, and didn't need to call us"

    More like 90% of customers failed to find the phone number (or the online chat was closed).

  13. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    Is there any status page that is that up to date? Even using a monitoring system that updates the status one (or more) system(s) stop working? Even if it switched to a page saying something bland and generic like "We are aware of a problem and our engineers are investigating" without giving any details. Or do they all rely (as the one where I work apparently does) on users actually updating the status page?

    The reason I ask. is that, as a user, it's annoying to be told that everything is OK when for whatever reason, I cannot access multiple systems covered by the status page, and I know that everything on my end is OK.

    And yes, this has happened a few times, even with Apple on a few occasions.

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