DNS Server Error Brings Down iTunes, iCloud for 12 Hours

The outage impacted sales on the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, App Store, and Mac App Store. It also shut down the iCloud.

Apple has had its ups and its downs this week.

Less than 48 hours after the company triumphed with its launch of Apple Watch and two new MacBook notebook PCs on Monday, its all-important Web storefronts were knocked offline for about 12 hours, beginning at 2 a.m. Pacific time on Wednesday.

Apple issued a rare public apology to customers for the long service interruption and blamed it on an "internal DNS [Domain Name System] error."

The outage impacted sales on the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, App Store, and Mac App Store. Users were unable to buy apps or other content, and in some cases they were are prevented from downloading updates and even opening already-purchased apps.

That's not all, apparently. According to Apple's system status dashboard, technical issues also brought down its iCloud mail and account web services at the same time, according to Appleinsider.com.

"We apologize to our customers experiencing problems with iTunes and other services this morning," Apple said in a corporate statement to CNBC. "The cause was an internal DNS error at Apple. We're working to make all of the services available to customers as soon as possible, and we thank everyone for their patience."

Despite the fact that problems started early Wednesday morning, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company did not acknowledge the issue publicly for several hours. Privately, according to the Appleinsider site, Apple representatives told developers that the problem would shortly be resolved, though that did not turn out to be the case.

Apple updated its status page at 2:04 p.m. Pacific time to show that the disrupted services, including the Mac App Store and iBooks, were functioning normally.

The App Store and iTunes form the centerpiece of Apple's mobile user experience. They are a key revenue generator for the company, which takes a cut of app downloads and paid content, including music and videos.

Revenue from Apple services, which includes everything from iTunes and the App Store to licensing, amounted to almost $4.8 billion in its fiscal first quarter, or more than 6 percent of overall sales.

The stock closed down 2 percent at $122.24 on March 11.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...