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Mail server problems cited in MobileMe issues

updated 05:00 pm EDT, Tue July 22, 2008

MobileMe mail, security

Although many problems have been resolved, the MobileMe online service continues to suffer from serious issues, accounts suggest. Apple's status page presently indicates that "1 percent of MobileMe members" do not have proper mail access, an issue which has persisted in some cases for several days. Apple support staff are said to be claiming that the issue is with one of MobileMe's mail servers, but no timeline for a fix has been announced.

The scope of users affected by the mail outage appears to be international, with people reporting problems in the US, Scotland, Australia and Japan. Access may also be inconsistent, with accounts briefly reactivating only to disappear again. One user warns that if an account does reactivate, there is a possibility that it may delete all local e-mail, with little possibility of recovering messages on Apple's end. People are thus encouraged to backup important messages before they attempt to sync Mail with MobileMe.

Probing meanwhile reveals that the service has a security hole in its account information webpage. When clicking on the link, the page normally requires users to re-authenticate; by switching the end of the "authorize=N" string to "Y," however, people can bypass the check and view a person's name, address and e-mail information. Exploiting this effectively requires being on location however, and the victim must also have opted for a two-week login cookie.

by MacNN Staff



  1. scotte75ky

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Fix Mail so that it works with Internet Explorer 6 or I will have to cancel my service.

    I need to be able to access my email from work, and they WILL NOT allow us to install any other browser. It's really starting to PISS me off!

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Billing not working

    Many users (including me) were reporting also that although entering valid credit card information in the Account/Billing Info page, the service kept reporting "There is a problem with the credit card for this account". After emailing Apple a couple of times and NEVER getting help with the issue I did a little research and found out that a few users had success by entering their credit card information with spaces between the groups of 4 digits. It worked for me, but it would have been really nice if APPLE had suggested this solution and even better if they had fixed this issue. My subscription is expiring this Friday and even though it's set to auto-renew, with the credit card issue I was afraid to lose my account.

    I really wish Apple had helped me. What's the point of paying for a service when you can't even get decent support from them? I'm not impressed.

    Hope this tip helps a few other users. Please note that in the forum where I found this some users were reporting it wasn't working for them even with the spaces.

  1. popheader

    Joined: Dec 1969


    At the end of my rope

    Well after 5 or 6 years of wasting my money on .mac and now mobile me I will cancel my subscription and go to google. I really fear for the future of Apple they seem to be slipping on the quality but not the hype!

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Going Down the Tubes

    First they destroy iMovie with that ludicrous '08 version, then they have to delay Leopard because "too many resources" were diverted to the iPhone. Then they royally s**** up the iPhone 3G launch day (ROYALLY), and during that debacle they retire .Mac and fail to get MobileMe properly online.

    Going on THREE weeks now and they still can't manage to get it working properly. I certainly hope that the MobileFAIL project manager has been fired by now, along with most of the people associated with that godawful product.

    Why does it seem that when Apple tries to make something better they muck it up completely?

    MobileME is by far the worst disaster Apple has put out since iMovie 08.

    They should pull the plug and fire up the .Mac servers.

    I will NOT be renewing this subscription, no matter how many "free" days they give out.

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple should look over their shoulders at Google (who they work with closely) and migrate the .mac and .me mess over to a co-branded solution: Google know how to make this stuff work Apple, well, not so much.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tell a Friend

    "Tell a friend" in iPhoto galleries still does not work after today's iLife update!

  1. manleycreative

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I wonder if the MobileMe s**** up is because of the same team that screwed up Aperture 1.0? Looks like MobileMe is headed for the G4 Cube waste bin.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    no email since july 18th

    No email since July 18th 11:19a.m. (GMT -3) No web, no Outlook, no Mail's completing 1 week tomorrow! yesterday i received some delivery notifications from my gmail account that was redirecting my email to MM. I hope Apple give me one week free to my subscription.... (dream)
    Let remove apple staff's mail from one week to look what happens?!

  1. trusted_content

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They've lost data

    Any sysadmin can tell you, from looking at the duration of this outage, that there is data loss.

    Apple's not "fixing a mail server". Problematic servers get replaced immediately so that customers may have service again. In a good shop, that takes 30 minutes, tops.

    Apple has lost the server that contains 1-2% (or more) of their customers' mail. That is why only a certain portion of users are affected (because the users are horizontally partitioned across several different mail stores), and that is why they can't simply replace the server in order to restore service. They are most likely scrambling around trying to recover data, and hopefully firing whoever is responsible for their backup policy, of which this makes it seem they have none.

    I'm really disappointed in the mismanagement, at a systems level, of .Mac/MobileMe. I have no complaints about the design of the service, but if you're going to be operating any customer-facing service, particularly on this scale, you have solid policies in place to ensure availability and retention of data. Either Apple does not have those policies in place, or perhaps they laxed them for a bit during the transition.

    I'm also very peeved that it took Apple 5 days to acknowledge there was a problem with an actual support document, and all it said was things everyone already knows. Clearly they're embarrassed by what's going on, but that doesn't mean they should keep stonewalling.

  1. nativeNYer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    big problem

    Looking at their memo, and reading between the lines it seems they've had a catastrophic failure, perhaps a RAID system that housed 1% of the .Mac accounts got hosed somehow. Although rare, it can happen, but it is completely inexcusable for them to not have a proper backup they could restore from, even if it meant losing one day of emails from those accounts. I'm sure most of those affected would be pissed, but OK with just getting their Mail back and having to piece together one lost day than to have lost access to mail for as long as they have.

    This problem makes me think they have no backups, or have not tested them, which again, is inexcusable for a company like Apple. As a .Mac. now MobileMe subscriber, I don't know how much I really trust Apple to keep my account up and running. This problem has diminished my confidence in them hugely.
    The MS camp in Redmond must be laughing their asses off at Apple right now. Not good Apple, not good at all.

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