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.
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.
I forgot to update my Apple Card autopay info and discovered this crazy fact: if you manage to miss an Apple Card payment, Apple will disable your Apple ID, iCloud, and App Store accounts as hostage.
Re-enabling them takes 3-5+ business days. I’m surprised this is legal.I forgot to update my Apple Card autopay info and discovered this crazy fact: if you manage to miss an Apple Card payment, Apple will disable your Apple ID, iCloud, and App Store accounts as hostage.
Re-enabling them takes 3-5+ business days. I’m surprised this is legal.— dustin curtis (@dcurtis) March 1, 2021March 1, 2021
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.
I've reached out to Apple for comment. None had been received at the time of publication.
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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.