Update: the iCloud sign in and activation issue has now been fixed, as per the Apple System Status page. Apple hasn't said what happened, or how many people were affected, but the issue was marked as resolved after 36 hours.
Our original story is below...
If you're having trouble setting up and signing into your new Apple devices over this holiday weekend, you're not alone – Apple is currently experiencing an issue with the "iCloud Account & Sign In" part of its cloud system.
That's as per the Apple System Status page early on the morning of December 26. "Some users are affected," reads the pop-up notification alert. "Users may be experiencing a problem with this service."
We haven't heard anything official from Apple at the time of writing but according to AppleInsider the problem has been going on for a few hours now. If Apple does offer an update on the situation then we will add it here.
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It's not clear just how widespread the problem is, which devices are affected, or the sort of issues its causing. Users on Twitter have reported having difficulties with device activation and HomePod minis, which might be related.
The waiting game
One report on social media points to problems with activating an Apple Watch if you already have other Apple devices set up. The advice from Apple Support is to wait out the downtime and try again later.
That seems just about the only option at this point – holding on until Apple is able to fix whatever's gone wrong. At the moment we don't have any estimate about when that will be, but it is the weekend, and the holidays.
As well as the Apple Watch 6, you might have unwrapped a new iPhone 12 or perhaps an iPad Air 4 over the last day or so. It's been a busy few months for new Apple gear, so there are no doubt lots of users busy trying to set up their new devices.
According to Apple's System Status page, there are no issues with other parts of the iCloud network, and it seems as though some users are able to activate their devices successfully. We'll update you as and when we know more.