The beta version of the Photos app on iCloud.com has disappeared, several sites are reporting this morning, and we’ve also confirmed through tests. Previously, the app allowed Apple users signed in via the web to access their iCloud Photo Library on their PC or Mac. The app isn’t just missing from the iCloud.com homepage, either – visiting the URL directly also displays an error message “Can’t Load Photos.”
This app first tries to load for a minute before the error appears, which then offers users the option to report the problem to Apple or just click “OK” to dismiss the message.
It’s unclear at this time if the disappearance is related to a glitch, or forthcoming changes to the Photos app itself – possibly in advance of the upcoming Photos app for OS X promised during WWDC 2014. Apple has been developing a new Photos application that will integrate many of the advanced editing features found in Aperture, which is being discontinued. The new Photos app will replace iPhoto on OS X Yosemite, as well. Many are now speculating that the disappearance of the Photos app on iCloud.com is somehow related to this expected transition.
However, others are reporting that they’ve been unable to reach Photos app on the web for several days now. That makes the app’s disappearance seem more like a glitch that’s being corrected, rather than changes related to a new release – because surely a transition to a new service wouldn’t involve a week-long outage, right?
iCloud Photo Library will be amazing when it works. But, I haven’t been able to login to the web app for a week.
— Jason Stoff (@jstoff) January 2, 2015
— Jason Kyle (@jasonkyle) December 29, 2014
We also heard from a few people who say that the Photos app is working now, which also points to this being an outage, not planned downtime.
Apple hasn’t made any official announcement about the app’s disappearance, though we’ve reached out on the off-chance the company is offering a statement or explanation.
Update: 3:20 PM ET – The Photos app has returned, still featuring the “beta” label.