Sudden Unexplained iCloud Connection Problems

Every once in a while either my Gmail stops loading or I get an alert that my iMac can’t connect with iCloud. If I try to reconnect using the official method “forgot your password?” etc. nothing works. No gmail or Apple passwords are recognized and there’s an endless round of alerts.

What works: restarting the computer. I learned this after a lengthy session with Apple support the last time. When it happened again I didn’t remember it right away and dived into the usual morass of attempted sign-ins, until finally I remembered: restart the computer.

And after a few hiccups, everything is back to normal and my new mail loaded.

Always worth trying the simplest thing. Now if only knew what was causing these disconnects in the first place. . . .

Does this happen randomly while the Mac has been running for some time, or only after you install a macOS update? I see something a little like this when I install a new version of macOS without first switching to an admin account with no apps running. See

Good tip - thanks Adam. I will create a bare admin account on my main iMac to use for updates. A pity that we can’t set a reminder to use that account before starting an update.
BTW - The iMac suffers the reverse problem to you and sometimes won’t shutdown so I have to turn the power off. Like you, this is likely a carryover from some settings many OS ago.

This prompts a reminder of a Best Practice in macOS setup:

  • Always create an administrative account to be used only for recovery or update purposes.
  • Don’t customize it because you will not use it for daily activities. This provides a baseline to determine if a problem is user-account related.
  • Keep a record of the login credentials in a secure place not on the system itself.

I’ve never run Macs this way. I always felt, although common advice in the Windows world, the Mac wasn’t designed to be used this way. When I—even as an admin user—try to modify stuff within /System or /Library, I am always asked for my credentials. That should serve as a reminder to be careful.

You can always set up an ad-hoc user account to check if an issue is related to a specific user setting or not. But running permanently as non-admin just strikes me as a something that makes work more cumbersome, while not really adding any substantial value.

Of course that’s just my 2¢.

  • Mentions of recovery from mistyped passwords subsequently forgotten, other account corruption, and the like were omitted from my previous posts in the interest of brevity.
  • Ad-hoc account creation may not be possible if the single user account is corrupted.
  • The existence of an additional administrative account in no way dictates or encumbers the configuration of your primary user account.