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Apple disabling an entire Apple ID over an Apple Card payment issue is madness

Apple Card physical and virtual
Apple Card physical and virtual (Image credit: Lory Gil / iMore)

Oh boy. This is going to be a strange one. Let's kick things off from the beginning.

As far as I have been able to piece together, Dustin Curtis lost access to their Apple ID and all of the data associated with it because a monthly Apple Card payment failed. That's it. iCloud Photo Library, contacts, email, all the things iCloud offers, gone. The App Store unusable. Curtis couldn't even update apps, apparently. Not because their account had been compromised. They hadn't even missed an iCloud payment.

Instead, their bank account number had changed which, again as far as I can tell, meant that a monthly payment wasn't made when Apple requested it. Because of that, the Apple Card payment was late. So Apple pulled up the drawbridge and that was the end of that.

Curtis explains that Apple support was unable to help, likely because of the oddity that was the issue.

The first person I spoke to at Apple spent a while researching the issue and then told me there was nothing she could do but escalate the issue, and that I should expect a call "hopefully" within the next day. I asked what the problem might be, and she seemed as confused as I was. Although some Apple services were still working, like iMessage (thank God) and Photos, I was terrified that more services would suddenly become inaccessible or that I would lose the considerable amount of data I have stored in iCloud.

After chasing things up with Apple, Curtis was again told that an email needed to be sent. It was, and they waited. And then things got weird.

The next time I tried to use my Apple Card, it was declined. Strange. I checked the Wallet app, and the balance was below the limit. I remembered the Apple support representative mumbling about Apple Card, so I did some digging through my email to see if I could find a connection.As it turns out, my bank account number changed in January, causing Apple Card autopay to fail. Then the Apple Store made a charge on the card. Less than fifteen days after that, my App Store, iCloud, Apple Music, and Apple ID accounts had all been disabled by Apple Card.

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Now, it's important to note at this point that Curtis says all of his Apple hardware was complaining of various Apple ID-related issues. There's been some confusion about whether this situation was related to a recent MacBook Pro purchase or not. I suspect not, but you can read the original blog post to see what Curtis thinks happened. In reality, I believe the failed automated payment caused the issues, but why this happened isn't my issue right now.

My issue is that any sort of Apple Card problem can cause an Apple ID to be locked out. Because locking out an Apple ID causes all kinds of problems. Not least, you might not be able to access photos of your kids. Or send an important email. The number of things that a faulty Apple ID can cause to break is almost limitless. Why is Apple Card in any way linked to what someone can and can't do with their iPhone, Mac, Apple TV, Apple Watch, or anything else? If they aren't trying to buy something with it, Apple Card should be irrelevant.

That fact it isn't, or wasn't in this case, is terrifying and is more than enough to put me off Apple Card if and when it finds its way across the Atlantic and to the UK.

Thankfully, Curtis was able to regain access to all things Apple after Goldman Sachs sent an email to someone else inside Apple to get the situation resolved.

Insanity.

I've reached out to Apple for comment. None had been received at the time of publication.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

5 Comments
  • Let’s be honest, this is 100% Dustin’s fault, not Apple’s. “Forget” to pay your Apple Card bill? The one you just charged a new decide to? Give me a break. Then again this is the person who made a name for themselves by going nuclear on American Airlines’ website when he was a “designer.” So I’m not surprised. Page views must be down on Dustin’s blog or something.
  • That’s a take, not a good one but it’s a take. It’s the same with Google and chargebacks when purchasing from the google store. They both give away a service, it shouldn’t be taken for failure to pay for another service. Sure, block anything that needs to be paid, block extra iCloud storage, block Drive storage, block TV+ or your music subscription, but to block the account at that level is strange and feels anti-consumer. And forgetting to update an autopsy because your account number changed is easy. I know, a few years ago my bank account was compromised and needed to change the number, took a while to get everything reset up.
  • Exactly. Disable whatever hasn't been paid for, which in this case was a credit card. Nothing unrelated, should be taken offline.
  • Turns out it was such a bad take after all. 100% his fault.
  • It's absolutely their fault for not having the payment taken care of. But it's Apple's for the fact that not paying an Apple Card payment took an entire online presence offline. That shouldn't happen like this.