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Fix: iPhone not backing up to iCloud

icloud wont backup iphone

iCloud is an incremental part of the ecosystem for every iPhone user. It provides that much-needed sense of security by safely backing up your stuff, so you don’t have to worry even if it comes to worst.

But what if your iPhone stops backing up your files, photos, notes, contacts, and everything else to iCloud? Well, you’ll want to deal with that problem as soon as possible. You never know when you’re going to need a ready backup.

So, if you got up on the wrong foot today, and your iPhone stopped backing up your data to iCloud, I’ll try to resolve the problem with this article. Stay tuned.

Table of contacts:

  1. Check the storage
  2. Bonus: Manage your backup
  3. Make sure you’re connected to the internet
  4. Disable Low Power Mode
  5. Make sure backups are enabled
  6. Sign out of iCloud, then back in again
  7. Reset your settings
  8. Check the iCloud service status
  9. Check for updates
  10. Reset your iPhone

Steps to Fix iPhone not backing up to iCloud Issue

(1) Check the storage

One of the main reasons the iPhone won’t sync to iCloud is insufficient storage. You can’t put more stuff in your iCloud if there’s simply no room for it. In case the lack of storage is indeed the cause of your problem, you’ll probably get the message saying “Not enough storage”.

If you indeed received this message, you already know what to do. Either free up some storage or expand iCloud capacity. Now, if you’re not sure how to do that, don’t worry. I got you covered.

Bonus: Manage your iCloud storage

As I said, if you don’t have enough space in your iCloud account for fresh backups, you have two options. You either buy additional space or free up the existing storage.

Now, I know you’d rather not pay for the expansion, but the initial 5GB you get for free won’t get you too far. As a matter of fact, I filled out the original 5GB plan just a few days after getting my iPhone, with pictures taking most of it.

Apple offers iCloud storage plans that are billed monthly. The bad news is that it’s not a one-time purchase, but it’s not too expensive either, depending on your location and the monthly plan you choose.

iphone wont backup icloud

For example, if you live in the US, an additional 50GB/200GB/2TB of storage space will set you back $0.99/$2.99/$9.99 per month respectively. If you live outside the United States, your price may vary. Check out Apple’s support page to see how much iCloud storage costs in your country.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to pay for additional storage, you’ll have to make the most out of what you’ve already got. That means, going to the iCloud storage management section and deleting some existing backups or disabling further sync for some of the apps that take up too much space.

To manage your iCloud storage, go to Settings > tap your name > iCloud. Here you can choose which apps are backing up their data to iCloud, and you can easily disable backup for each app.

To see existing backups, tap Manage Storage. Just go through the list of apps, and hopefully, you’ll find a backup that you don’t really need but takes up too much space. For example, while writing this article, I noticed that the Lightroom backup takes like 2GB of storage, which is something I had to deal with.

Photos are perhaps the biggest “eater” of storage, and deleting them would certainly free up a huge chunk of space. However, you probably don’t want to do that and leave your precious photos unprotected. If this dilemma bothers you, and you still don’t want to pay for additional storage space, I suggest turning to Google Photos. In fact, many people prefer Google Photos over iCloud, because the app and service are more convenient. And it’s free.

(2) Make sure you’re connected to WiFi

Although this one looks obvious, you’d be surprised if I tell you how many times my iPhone disconnected from my home WiFi network, and either switched to data or my neighbour’s WiFi. The same thing can happen to you.

So, before taking some more serious steps, just make sure you’re properly connected to WiFi, maybe Wi-Fi forgetting networks. I should also point out that your phone only backs up your files while you’re connected to WiFi, it won’t do anything on mobile data. And that’s a good thing. Trust me, you don’t want to use mobile data for backing up, because you’ll lose it in a matter of minutes.

(3) Disable Low Power Mode

My educated guess is that the Low Power Mode is exactly the cause of your problem. So, I’m confident you’ll solve your problem after dealing with the Lowe Power Mode.

In case you don’t know what this feature does, it puts your phone in a state where it uses less power to preserve the battery (hence the name). When your phone uses less power, it can’t perform some of the more power-consuming operations, with backing up being one of them.

The Low Power Mode usually activates when your battery percentage is below 20%. All you need to do in this case is simply charge your phone. It will disable the Low Power Mode and the backup process will continue as usual.

But if you don’t want to wait for your phone to fully charge, you can also disable this feature manually. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to Settings.
    icloud wont backup iphone
  2. Head over to Battery, and disable Low Power Mode.

On the other hand, if I was wrong, and your iPhone still won’t back up to iCloud, well, I guess you should try another solution.

(4) Make sure backups are enabled

So far, we’ve been talking about backups in general. But if a certain app won’t back up to iCloud, while others are working fine, you should go and see what’s wrong with that particular app.

Since I can’t predict which app won’t back up for you, I can’t lay down all of the possible solutions for your problem. However, I can tell you where to start. And that’s making sure backup is enabled for that specific app in the first place.

Anyway, here’s how to manage individual app backups on your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap your name, and head over to iCloud.
    icloud not syncing iphone 1
  3. Here you’ll find a list of apps that are compatible with backing up to iCloud. Scroll down and just make sure the app you’re looking for is enabled.

(5) Check the iCloud service status

Maybe the problem isn’t coming from your side. There’s a chance you’re unlucky today and that Apple’s servers that handle iCloud are temporarily down. It’s a real thing that could easily happen, believe me.

So, just in case, head over to Apple’s website and check if the servers are online. You can check the server status of iCloud, along with all other Apple services.

If the server’s indeed down, you shouldn’t worry too much. It will probably stay down for a brief period only, as Apple probably has the best infrastructure in the world. Once the servers go back online, you’ll be able to normally back up your files to your iCloud account. Of course, if there are no other problems.

(6) Check for updates

iOS updates are a real amusement park. Or more precisely, a rollercoaster in an amusement park. At one moment you’re on top of the world, enjoying all the beautiful features Apple has given you. But at the very next moment, with the very next update, you’re terrified by all the issues that seemingly small update has caused you.

Depending on when you’re reading this article, iOS may be going through a downward spiral of the current update, with iCloud backup being among the problems. To make sure that’s indeed the case, do a little research to see if others are complaining about the same issue in the very iOS version you have on your phone.

icloud wont sync iphone

If the problem was indeed caused by an update, there’s probably not much you can do. You’ll have to wait for the next update and hope for the best.

(7) Sign out of iCloud, and then back in again

As generic and cliche as this is, and as much as I hate recommending this to my readers, I had to put it in the article. Just to make sure I included everything there is. And to beef up the word count a little bit. That’s important in today’s content marketing, you know.

All jokes aside, there’s still a slight chance this one will work. So if you’ve already tried everything else, you might as well sign out and into iCloud, just to be sure.

If you’re not sure how it’s done, here’s a quick set of instructions:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap your name, and go to Sign out.
  3. Type your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.
  4. A window asking you which data you want to copy from your iCloud account to your phone will appear. Keep in mind that this might delete some data from your phone, so you’ll want to carefully read the instructions on this page.icloud not backing up iphone
  5. Once you’ve decided what you want to keep, tap Sign Out.
  6. Now that you’re signed out, head back to Settings, and go Sign in to your iPhone.
  7. Enter your credentials, tap Next, enter your passcode, and you’re back in.

(8) Reset your settings

And finally, if none of the solutions presented above resolved the iCloud backup problem, let’s turn to the last resort. And that’s resetting all settings. Now, you might want to think this one through, because it will, as you would’ve guessed, reset all your settings, but it may not resolve the problem at hand. And I’m sure you know how annoying will be to get all your settings back in order.

Nevertheless, if you can’t find any other solution, and you’re willing to risk, you might give this a shot. What’s positive about this method is that only resets your preferences, but keeps your content and personal data.

Here’s how to reset your iPhone settings:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Head over to General > Reset.
  3. Tap Reset All Settings.iphone not backing up icloud
  4. Confirm that you want to reset all your settings.

That’s it, all your settings are now reset. I surely hope this solution resolves the iCloud issue because the annoying task of re-adjusting your settings is now ahead of you.

I didn’t want to recommend factory resetting your phone because I simply don’t think it’s worth the risk. And you can easily lose something you don’t want to if you’re not careful enough.

That’s about it. I hope at least one of these solutions or “solutions” helped you resolve the problem of backing up your iPhone to iCloud. If you have any comments, questions, or maybe a better solution, feel free to write them down in the comments below.

Picture of Ivan Jenic

Ivan Jenic

Editor-in-chief at Mobile Internist. @ivan_jenic I founded Mobile Internist to help people understand technology better. And maybe solve some annoying problems. That's about it, cheers!
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