Apple's FaceTime video chat and iMessage texting application both experienced downtime for the better part of Sunday afternoon. The outage meant that an unknown number of iPad, iPhone and iMac users were left having to find alternate methods to keep in touch with friends and family.
Apple's iCloud Support page shows that iMessage and FaceTime both went under at 11:45 PT and remained down for some users for roughly five hours. Disgruntled users quickly took to Twitter to voice their concerns and judging by the number of complains, the outage appeared to be pretty widespread.
As of writing, however, the support system says normal usage has been restored to both services. iCloud Storage Upgrades were also affected although they were only unavailable for about one hour.
According to Apple Insider, this is the fourth downtime to hit iMessage over the past few months. There were a series of outages in September, a three hour outage late last month and another brief bit of downtime on October 30.
iMessage was introduced as part of iOS 5 in October 2011. The service works much like BlackBerry Messenger in that it allows users to circumvent traditional SMS text messaging provided by wireless carriers. It includes traditional SMS / MMS functionality in addition to allowing for read and delivery receipts as well as user typing notifications.
It's unclear exactly how many users were affected by Sunday's downtime nor do we know what caused the outage.