Dustin Curtis, writing on his blog: About ten days ago, when I went to update a few apps in the App Store on my Mac, I was met with a curious error: “Your account has been disabled in the App Store and iTunes.” The internet is filled with stories from people whose Google accounts were locked for unexplained reasons, causing them to lose all of their data, including years of email, so I was somewhat concerned. But I’d never heard of similar cases involving Apple’s services, and I wouldn’t expect such behavior from a customer-focused company like Apple, so I figured it was a glitch and made a mental note to try again later. The next day, Music.app stopped working: “You cannot login because your account has been locked.”
Now I was genuinely worried. I checked my phone and neither the App Store nor Apple Music would work there, either. A few minutes later, Calendar popped up an error â” it had stopped syncing. I immediately tried to call Apple Support from my Mac, but Apple’s Handoff feature had been disabled as well. 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.
A couple of days later, I became impatient and contacted Apple Support again. This time, the representative mumbled something about Apple Card before saying that he also had no power to help me. Apple ID was a different department, he said, and they could only be contacted by email. He emailed them. I continued to wait. 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. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, which is fighting a legal battle with Apple, offered some commentary on this: “It’s terrifying how much leverage Apple has over consumers and developers by integrating everything, locking us all in, and exerting total control. Normal companies respect the natural boundaries that exist between platforms and services. Apple does not! For Apple, every choke point they create is both a profit center and a lever to exert control. After blocking Fortnite updates from over a billion iOS users, Apple threatened to block Sign in With Apple — which they forced us to adopt — affecting Fortnite players on 7 platforms.”