Photos stuck uploading to iCloud? Try these fixes

iCloud is an essential part of iOS and a must-have backup and sync service for iPhone and iPad users. Just like the rest of the iOS features, iCloud is well-designed, simplistic, user-friendly, and it just works. At least, most of the time. Namely, some users reported a stall within iCloud Photo Library as the photos got stuck uploading to iCloud.

They were unable to update recent photos or videos for no apparent reason. To help you, we enlisted a few trusted solutions. If you have had the same or similar issues, make sure to check them out below.

Table of contents:

  1. Restart your device
  2. Disable Low Power Mode
  3. Make sure you’re properly connected to the internet
  4. Disable and re-enable iCloud Photo Library
  5. Delete all backed up photos
  6. Reset the device to factory settings

Why is my iPhone stuck uploading photos to iCloud?

1. Restart your device

Always go for the restart first. A soft reboot is miraculous. Even though iOS and iOS-powered devices are praised for overall stability in built-in services, occasionally something goes wrong. So, the first step to take is to follow the instructions below and restart your device. After that, maybe the uploading deadlock ends.

  1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button.
  2. After it appears, use the slider to turn your device Off.
  3. After the device turns off, use the Sleep/Wake button to turn it ON again.

Don’t forget to check if your iCloud storage has enough space for new photos and videos. The cap stands at 5 GB and you can fill it up quickly.

2. Disable Low Power Mode

Perhaps the most common cause of this issue is having the Low Power Mode. As you can tell, this feature disables some more power-consuming features to save the battery when the percentage is low. When this feature is on, Photos won’t upload to iCloud.

Since the phone automatically disables this feature once the battery is full, all you need to do is charge your iPhone. But you can also manually disable it, and the photo sync will continue. To disable Low Power Mode, go to Settings > Battery, and disable Low Power Mode.

You can also put Low Power Mode in the Control Center for even easier access. To do so, head over to Settings > Control Centre > Customise Controls, and choose Low Power Mode.

3. Make sure you’re properly connected to the internet

If you’re not properly connected to the internet, Photos will briefly stop uploading to iCloud. So, before proceeding to other solutions, make sure to check your internet connection.

We’re talking about WiFi, of course, because Photos will only upload to iCloud when you’re connected to a WiFi network. In case you have some Wi-Fi issues on your iPhone and don’t know what to do, we got your back. You can learn how to fix those by following the instructions in this article.

On the other hand, if you want to upload photos using mobile data (flexing with a big data cap, aren’t we?), you can enable this option, too. We don’t recommend it for practical reasons (hint: uploading a lot of photos will eat up huge amounts of data).

If you don’t mind that, here’s how to enable photo upload via mobile data:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Head over to Photos.
  3. Tap Mobile Data, and enable Mobile Data.

4. Disable and re-enable iCloud Photo Library

If just a simple restart isn’t sufficient to address the issue at hand, you can always apply the same medicine to update-related features and restart them. In this case, you should navigate to iCloud and disable the iCloud Photo Library which is a cloud storage part that stores your photos and videos. After that, you can re-enable it and look for changes.

If you’re uncertain how to do it, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap your account name/Apple ID.
  3. Open iCloud.
  4. Tap Photos.
  5. Toggle Off iCloud Photo Library.
  6. Restart your device.
  7. Follow the same path and re-enable the iCloud Photo Library.

If even that fell short and your photos just won’t upload to iCloud Photo Library, there are additional steps you should take into consideration.

5. Delete all backed up photos

This procedure is screaming ”time-consuming annoyance!” but it is what it is. You’re stuck with your iCloud misbehaving like an obnoxious child and previous steps are, obviously, underwhelming. However, don’t worry, your Camera Roll photos are not endangered.

We only need to clear photos and videos stored on iCloud. If you ask yourself ”why?”, the answer is simple: due to corrupted photos or videos, all others suffer. One rotten apple (pun not intended) and everything suddenly goes south.

  1. Make sure that all photos you need are either on phone storage or safely backed up on a PC or Mac.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Tap your account name/Apple ID.
  4. Open iCloud.
  5. Tap Photos.
  6. Toggle Off iCloud Photo Library.
  7. Restart your device.
  8. Use your Safari on your iPhone or computer to access iCloud and delete all photos and videos.
  9. Re-enable iCloud Photo Library.

All photos from your device storage should start uploading and the problem should be gone. Make sure that you are not connected to a metered network since this will eat up your data cap in no time.

6. Reset the device to factory settings

Finally, if Photos are still stuck uploading to iCloud, factory reset is always an option. Yes, it’s the factory reset that all of us dislike but it is what it is. It might take some time to restore everything but, in the end, it’s important to sort things out above else. If the problem somehow surpassed reinitialization, the factory reset should be the way to approach the problem.

Follow the instructions below to perform a factory reset:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Choose General.
  3. Tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  4. Select Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. This will erase all of your data, so be sure to back it up before performing the reset.
  6. Confirm the selection and start the process.
  7. Later on, you should choose Restore from the iCloud Backup feature, and retrieve your data.

In addition, it might be more convenient to run with iTunes:

  1. Download and install the latest version of the iTunes client on your PC.
  2. Connect your device to a PC.
  3. Start iTunes and choose Summary.
  4. Remember to backup your iPhone data.
  5. Select Restore iPhone.
  6. Move on with the restoring process.

That should be it. If you want to discuss this article further, but also find more similar content, make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in July 2020. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

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April Jackson
April Jackson
July 22, 2020 11:10 pm

Thank you for this article! It was very helpful!!!

September 27, 2020 11:44 pm

Thank you so much this website is so good and help me from the problem

Rosie Page
Rosie Page
July 25, 2018 2:21 am

If this type if problem arises with the iCloud then there is one option to off the Toggle for the iCloud Photo Library from the phone settings and restart your device.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ivan Jenic