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Photos, iCloud Drive, iMessage, other online Apple services hit by slowdowns & outages [u]

A series of Apple's online services suffered slowdowns on Wednesday, and may be completely inaccessible to some users, according to Apple's official system status page. [Updated]

These predominantly include file storage services such as Photos, Mail Drop, iCloud Drive, iCloud Backup, and Documents in the Cloud, the tracking page indicates. Also experiencing problems however are the iWork for iCloud beta, and iMessage, Apple's messaging system for both iOS and OS X devices.

Problems began at approximately 11:30 a.m. Eastern time and are still ongoing, the company said.

Customers have complained about repeated outages of Apple's online services, particularly since iCloud launched in October 2011. One incident in May took some seven hours to resolve.

In March, the iTunes Store and the App Store were brought down for over seven hours by an internal DNS error. In a rare move, the company issued an apology through CNBC.

Update: Services have returned to normal as of about 4 p.m. Eastern.