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Apple iCloud bug locks user with “True” surname

Many computer software, whether locally or in the cloud, are designed to take into account the ways in which people, intentionally or unintentionally, can break the system. Programmers tend to account for potential errors in human input or intentional methods of manipulating the system, but it is statistically impossible to be prepared for all of them. One strange case, in particular, apparently blocked an Apple iCloud user from his account for months, just because Apple’s cloud storage software was not prepared to deal with someone whose surname is “True”.

In many computer languages, “true” is a keyboard reserved to denote something that is, well, true. Of course, this is also a normal and frequently used word in the English language and may even be someone’s name. Unfortunately, a single capitalization error appears to have made the iCloud software confuse with one another and block Rachel True from her account.

The author accessed Twitter to express her frustration with a months-long problem that had no end in sight. His surname is “True”, but, either because of his own mistake or the system’s, it was changed to “true” at some point in the process. This, in turn, was interpreted by the software as a real piece of code and triggered a bug that blocked it from your iCloud account.

This would have been a funny joke had it not been for the fact that Mrs. True had been trying to fix this situation since September last year, without success. In the meantime, she was still paying for the monthly subscription to Apple iCloud, despite not having access to it, probably just to keep her files intact. According to some programmers, what appears to be a trivial problem may not be so simple to fix, especially if it means tapping into a cloud-based service used by thousands of users worldwide.

The good news is that all the media attention has finally achieved some of its intended results. Apple said it will get in touch with it next week, hopefully with a real and more permanent solution.

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