My iPhone Won’t Backup To iCloud! Here’s The Real Fix.

Every morning, you wake up to find that your iPhone hasn’t been backed up to iCloud in days or weeks, and you don’t know what to do. Or maybe you’re trying to back up your iPhone manually, but you keep getting error messages. Before you yell “My iPhone won’t backup to iCloud!” at the cat, you should know that this is a very common problem on iPhone and the fix is simple. In this article, I’ll show you how to fix the problem when your iPhone won’t backup to iCloud.

Why Won’t My iPhone Backup To iCloud?How to fix iCloud backups.

There are a number of reasons your iPhone may not be able to backup to iCloud. Fortunately, most are relatively easy to fix. For an iCloud backup to work, your iPhone needs to be connected to Wi-Fi and there needs to be enough storage space on iCloud to store your backup — so that’s where we’ll start. I’ll show you how to fix those two most common issues that interfere with iCloud backups: no Wi-Fi connection and not enough iCloud storage space.

Note: For iCloud backups to work overnight, 4 things need to happen: Your iPhone needs to be connected to Wi-Fi, there has to be enough iCloud storage space available, the iPhone needs to be plugged in, and the screen has to be off (meaning that your iPhone is asleep).

1. Make Sure Your iPhone Is Connected To Wi-Fi

iCloud backups only work over a Wi-Fi connection because of the amount of data that can be backed up in a single backup. If your iPhone wasn’t connected to Wi-Fi, you could burn through your entire wireless data plan overnight. Even if you have unlimited data, it’s usually slower than Wi-Fi and the backup could literally take days to complete. Here’s how to make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap the Wi-Fi network you’d like to connect to.
  4. Type in the network password if prompted and press the Join button at the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

check connection to wifi

Now that you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, try performing an iCloud backup by doing the following:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap on your name at the top of the display.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Tap iCloud Backup. Make sure the switch next to iCloud Backup is turned on.
  5. Tap Back Up Now.

how to backup iPhone to icloud iOS 11

2. Make Sure You Have Enough iCloud Storage

Another reason your iCloud backups may be failing is due to a lack of available iCloud storage. To check your available iCloud storage, do the following:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on your name at the top of the display
  3. Tap iCloud.

At the top of this menu, you’ll see the status of your iCloud storage. As you can see, my iCloud storage is full!

manage icloud storage space

To manage your iCloud storage, tap on Manage Storage. You can either tap on an app below to manage its iCloud storage, or you can purchase more iCloud storage space by tapping Upgrade.

upgrade icloud storage space

Once you’ve ensured you have enough iCloud storage, try backing up your iPhone again by following the steps above.

Sign Out Of And Back Into Your iCloud Account

Another possible solution when your iPhone won’t backup to iCloud is to sign out of and back into iCloud on your iPhone. This can fix any verification issues that may be preventing iCloud backups from working.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap Accounts & Passwords.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Sign Out.
  4. Confirm that you want to erase all settings and you’ll be signed out and redirected to an iCloud sign-in page.
  5. Enter your iCloud username and password and follow the on-screen prompts. Once you’re signed back in, try backing up your iPhone again.

sign out of icloud account on iphone

Does Signing Out Of iCloud Permanently Delete The Files On My iPhone?

A few readers have asked about the pop-up that appears on your iPhone when you sign out of iCloud. The message says that you’ll be removing (or deleting) data from your iPhone. I completely understand the apprehension a lot of people feel when they see it, but there’s nothing to worry about.

Think of iCloud like a record building that keeps copies of all of the files on your iPhone. Even though you’re removing them from your iPhone, all of your files are stored in iCloud Drive for safe keeping. When you sign back in with your iPhone, all of your data will automatically redownload to your iPhone. You won’t lose anything in the process.

4. Reset All Settings

If you’re still having issues backing up your iPhone to iCloud, it’s time to reset your iPhone’s settings. This process won’t wipe any content from your phone — only the system settings like Wi-Fi network passwords, Accessibility settings, etc. In turn, this reset may erase any settings interfering with your iCloud backups.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the menu and tap Reset.
  4. Select Reset All Settings and confirm that you’d like to proceed. After your iPhone restarts, test your it by performing another iCloud backup. If it doesn’t backup, read on.

how to reset all the settings on your iphone

5. Backup Your iPhone In iTunes Or Finder

If the fixes above didn’t work, you may need to restore your device. Before doing this, however, connect your iPhone to your computer and back it up using iTunes or Finder (on Macs running macOS Catalina 10.15 or newer). To perform an iTunes backup, follow these steps:

iPhone button in iTunes.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer using the provided USB cable and open iTunes. 
  2. Click the iPhone button at the top of the iTunes window.
  3. Look towards the center of the screen under the Backups heading. Click the button labeled This
    computer 
    under the Automatically Back Up header. Then, click the Back Up Now button on the right-hand side of the screen to backup your iPhone to iTunes.

Back up to iTunes.

To backup up your iPhone using Finder, connect it to a Lightning cable. Then, click on your iPhone under Locations.

In the Backups section, click the circle next to Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac. Finally, click Back Up Now.

back up iphone to finder

6. DFU Restore Your iPhone

After your backup has completed, follow our tutorial on how to DFU restore your iPhone. A DFU restore is different from a traditional iPhone restore as it erases both your iPhone’s software and hardware settings, clearing your iPhone of any potential issues and bugs. This type of restore is often seen as the end-all-be-all solution for iOS software glitches.

iPhone Backing Up To iCloud Again

And there you have it: Your data is safe because you iPhone is backing up to iCloud once again. Make sure to share this article on social media to teach your friends and family what to do when their iPhone won’t backup to iCloud. If you have any other iCloud issues, let us know in the comments section below!

About Author

I'm Andrew Kunesh, a technology writer and IT professional from Chicago. My goal is to help you fix the many errors and problems your Apple devices may face. Thanks for checking out our work!

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Danielle
10 days ago

Hey Andrew, HELP! I have two problems that I can’t resolve, despite trying all of your suggestions. First, All of my contacts, 200+, have miraculously disappeared, and I absolutely cannot retrieve them. Second, I’ve tried a gazillion times to “backup to iCloud” with no success. Please help!!!! I’m trying my best, and don’t have the time to f🤬around with this thing all day, everyday. Thank You!!!

Jvw
1 month ago

I’ve done all you’ve suggested and my iPhone still won’t backup. Suggestions?

smurfette
2 months ago

i cannot charge it my ipad

Editor
Liam Shotwell
2 months ago
Reply to  smurfette

This article I’ve linked might be able to help.

Jenee Burton
2 months ago

I PRINTED THIS OFF and put it in my safe and forwarded it to my daughter and told her to save every article you’ve written because we all have iPhones and IPads and laptops. Your articles have saved my bacon several times, and if I have issues in the future you are the first and last place I go for help. Even though my son who has a degree in information technology can fix anything, he lives 50 miles away from me and he is very busy with his business so I look for help elsewhere first! All this to… Read more »

smule
3 months ago

Had to get to the part about a settings reset. This did it. Scary.
However, this also fixed the original problem, which was “please unlock your iPhone” message in Photos. It also allowed computer backups of the phone.
So thanks. But deleting settings is nerve wracking, and you have to set things up again, and some websites. Know you iCloud name and password.

Jocelyn
3 months ago

Thanks so much! Life saver!

Sandi Reysaputra
4 months ago

Sign out and sign in again to iCloud, works good! Thanks mate.

Kyla Renae Satterfield-Bailey
8 months ago

That’s the most helpful explanations I have gotten on what to do!! Thank you I hope it works!! At least I understand the directions that’s a start!

Admin
David Lynch
8 months ago

Glad we were able to help you fix the problem with iCloud backups!

anonymous
8 months ago

My wife and I were not able to backup our iPads and iPhones to the cloud. I read all the various posts about how to fix this problem and tried most of the suggestions. However none of them worked. I finally figured out our problem. It was the internet speed from our internet provider. We had the gold service which was 20 down and 2 up. I changed our service to 40 down and 4 up speed. After installing the new modem and resetting my wifi router immediately we could backup our devices! After many hours trying all the various… Read more »

Anonymous
1 year ago

just spins and spins and spins and never backs up. then it tells me – its not backed up. duh. I refuse to reset. guess when it crashes i won’t have my data.

Anonymous
2 years ago

I’m on the wifi, already signed out of Icould and singed back in. I’ve plenty space in Icloud but when I want to make a back up it says:
“The last backup could not be completed.
Icloud backup will occur later when connected to power, locked and on WIFI.”

The only thing I don’t no/understand what to do is “locked”
Please help! I want tp buy a new iphone but need to back up this one first…
Thanks,
Ester

Anonymous
2 years ago

Do not attempt this, this is written by someone who does not understand IT. The process will loose all data on the iphone not backed up to the icloud, the process is for recovering from a situation where the iphone will not backup, all files on the iphone since last succesful update to the icloud will be lost.

Anonymous
2 years ago

when i was trying to back up my iphone in icloud but it doesnot work. even from phone and itunes as well. when iam trying time and again from phone the pop up message been occurs “The Last backup could not be completed because icloud contains a backup from a newer iOS version”
how can i solve it
please help

Krista
2 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Sounds like you may need to update iTunes and Make sure your iOS is updated to the latest version

Anonymous
2 years ago

So what if you have never had a backup to iCloud and there is not enough space on your computer to backup to iTunes?

Anonymous
2 years ago

Your guide did not cover the promised solution to when iCloud do not automatically back. “Every morning you wake up to iCloud not having backed up”. Yes, that is the problem I have. I have to tap on “Back Up Now” everytime. It never does it automatically. And your guide mentioned nothing on how to solve this. And I even tried all of the suggestions you did write about, they didn’t help either.

Anonymous
2 years ago

My last 2 iPhones have never been able to backup to iCloud. I brought them to the Apple store and they said they had done it for me but when I checked there was nothing on my iCloud. I pay extra for 200GB but theres nothing on it. I thought that if my DSL internet was cutting in and out at all during the night maybe that did it. I have 127GB on my phone

Anonymous
2 years ago

thanks that worked

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank you.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Sign Out Of And Back Into iCloud Account helped 🙂

Anonymous
3 years ago

I reset all settings and it still didn’t help. When I go to icloud it says “Zero KB of Zero KB used”. What does that mean?

Anonymous
3 years ago

before proceeding with steps 4 and 5, try to delete the latest iphone backup from icloud. Restart the phone and try to Back Up manually (step 1 of this guide). This helped me.

Anonymous
3 years ago

this article very helpful thank you

Anonymous
3 years ago

Before you had the explanations of how to go around icloud storage so not having to buy additional storage. Where is that now that I need to follow the steps. It had to do with library and photos being double backups. Please send me the steps you have changed the instructions. thanks

Anonymous
3 years ago

did everything, last thing tried was the “reset all settings” and it worked! Thanks!

Anonymous
3 years ago

I hate these s***ty i-phones !! This has got to be the most user Unfriendly platform for anything I have ever seen

Anonymous
3 years ago

WHAT! THE! HECK!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m about to go to android because of all these stupid steps in order to get things over to a new phone!!!!!! Everything on my old Iphone is all backed up already, but on the new Iphone 7, its saying that the iphone 7 “Cannot Restore Backup.” Its already been 7 days and still this stupid Iphone cannot restore backup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bought 200 GB of storages so that cannot be the sticking problem!!!!!!! YA’LL DONT KNOW HOW MUCH I WANT TO PUT SOME MOTHER CUS WORDS IN THIS LITTLE MOTHER LITTLE MOTHER DEAL HERE!!!!!!!!!! Give me a Simple… Read more »

Anonymous
3 years ago

I’m on wifi, plugged in, and have plenty of storage in iCloud.
When I click on ‘sign out’, screen message is “… data stored in iCloud Drive will be removed from this iPhone”.
Scared to hit okay to that, please help!