Apple Admits Losing Customer E-Mails

Dennis Faas's picture

Apple has admitted that problems with its MobileMe service may mean 10% of emails have been lost for good. The service, aimed at users of mobile devices such as the new iPhone, gives access to features such as online data storage, an address book and calendar, and email, with data and setting accessible from all the user's devices.

While the launch last month at first appeared to have gone without a hitch, some customers soon after reported problems accessing their emails (both new and old). According to a company blog, this issue only affected 1% of users -- however, Apple now says, "We particularly regret to report the loss in the affected accounts of approximately 10% of the messages received between July 16 and July 18."

The company says the problem was a combination of more than 70 software blogs (especially one that affected the synchronicity between email folders) and higher traffic than expected. Apple has now added extra server capacity and while tweaking the system so it can better cope with spikes in demand. (Source:

As of Sunday, 40% of people affected were able to once again see their old messages. Apple is confident everyone else will regain access during this week, though some messages may be permanently deleted.

There's also a slight bug in the restoration process which means any of the recovered messages originally sent between 18 and 22 July will now appear to be dated 23 July. Apple says customers who need to see the correct date should go into the 'Preferences' menu, turn on 'long headers', and look for information in the log which then appears at the start of each message.

Unlike most web-based email services, MobileMe carries a charge of $99/year -- the fact that the service is already failing makes has, unsurprisingly, made that a particularly difficult pill to swallow.  The firm has decided to give customers an extra month free of charge to make up for the problems. (Source:

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