Developers are dissatisfied with the bug that is causing iCloud unreliability

A number of developers are dissatisfied with an increasingly severe iCloud server issue, which is causing several apps with iCloud compatibility to fail to sync properly.

Developers are dissatisfied with the bug that is causing iCloud unreliability

CloudKit connectivity issues have been reported on both the Developer Forums and on Twitter since November. Some iCloud-enabled app users are receiving the following message: “Request failed with http status code 503.”

The developers of the popular note-taking tool GoodNotes have seen the issue so regularly that they created a support manual for users who are encountering the error message. The GoodNotes team claims that the app automatically retries to connect, resolving the issue, but they’re not sure what’s creating the connectivity fault in the first place.

HTTP 503 is a temporary error code (“Service unavailable”) indicating iCloud servers aren’t responding correctly to requests from your devices. The error typically gets resolved as GoodNotes automatically retries, but we’re getting many reports of the error lingering on, causing sync failures.

This issue is not apparent to us and we’ve escalated the case to Apple Technical Support team for investigation. It seems it’s happening to other apps as well.

Some developers have stated that their apps have been working flawlessly for years previous to the unexpected arrival of the iCloud server issue that appears to be producing the error message. According to a developer on Apple’s forums:

I have the same issue with a relatively small percentage of my users. They are getting 503 errors now, but last year did not. My code hasn’t changed. I’m not even sure how to file a bug report because I cannot replicate the issue on my devices and it’s occurring on a relatively small percentage of my users.

A few developers have received assistance from Apple engineering, and one was able to alter their iCloud container for their developer account to resolve the issue, but it appears that many developers are still experiencing difficulties.

Other developers have resorted to building ‌iCloud‌ status dashboard into their apps so customers can see when ‌iCloud‌ is non-functional.

iCloud failures are a huge concern for app developers because the end user is unaware that it is an Apple issue, hence customers blame the app developers for a non-functioning sync functionality over which they have no influence.

Multiple developers have reported the iCloud syncing fault to Apple, but based on the amount of complaints and the fact that the issue appears to have continued for at least a couple of months, it has gone mostly unresolved. It’s likely that the issue arose with the release of iOS 15 and its companion updates, and it’s unclear when a remedy will be available.

Customers experiencing iCloud troubles should be informed that it is most likely an Apple issue rather than a fault that app developers can address at this time.

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