Tech

Name True, iCloud access false: Exceptional problem locks online storage account, stumps Apple customer service

An iCloud customer says she spent more than six hours on the phone to Apple after being locked out of the service because her name is apparently incompatible with the application code.

“Actor, author, artist” Rachel True posted on Twitter about an error with the iCloud application, an unhandled exception with “Type error: cannot set value `true` to property `lastName`.”

It seems that her name was interpreted as a Boolean value instead of a string, a common programming problem especially in dynamic languages which are more flexible about variable types.

True recognised it as a programming problem, saying: “This seems like an Apple coding issue – not hardware.” She implied that she has been locked out of iCloud storage for six months and said that interactions with customer service were not going well.

“3+ hours on phone today w/ customer service + the 2+ hours yesterday + the countless other times I spent 2+ hours on phone… make this my new part time unpaid job @AppleSupport … Make that 4+ hours on phone today & the fun part is they won’t stop charging me for the icloud storage I can’t access….” She added later that she has “tier 2 support and an executive liaison person.”

As so often, social media proved more effective than other channels and her complaint drew a swift response, saying: “Rachel, I work in the iCloud team and help you to get a resolution. Please send me a DM.”

Another user posted the JavaScript code he said caused the issue – though note that this looks for lower case “true”. They may be onto something: it seems that True entered her name in lower case, and a suggestion to fix this by changing true to True seems partially effective.

“Didn’t fix on phone, did on laptop,” she said, admitting today of the problem when you “accidentally input small t for True surname when you update Apple ID form.” Another programmer said: “I actually recently encountered the same thing. API response with ‘true’ and ‘false’. You can’t easily convert it to boolean, since Boolean(“false”) === true, so I ended up checking for the explicit string value.”

Some comments showed related issues faced by others. “One of my former bosses used to automatically filter my email,” said Darrell Root. “My friend did research on using the name Null and found all sorts of problems,” said another.

It seems True has taken it in good spirits, saying: “Today I’ve discerned I am a powerful uncapitalized true boolean code breaker drop table witch of the highest order.” ®




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