Problems Backing up an iPhone to iCloud?

Turning on automatic backups of your iPhone to iCloud is super simple to do and very important, because you never know when you are going to need to restore your phone from that backup. But sometimes things go wrong and there is no apparent reason behind the failed backups. I've recently had to fix 2 separate iCloud backup and sync issues and wanted to share these potential fixes with you.

My iPhone a while back stopped syncing with certain aspects of iCloud, specifically reminders. I tried quite a few things, but finally found one that worked...resetting the network settings on the phone. The networking settings controls things like connections to the cellular network and wifi networks. If your iPhone isn't syncing with iCloud or automatically backing up at night while plugged into power and connected to wifi it might be a networking setting corruption. Luckily there is an easy way to reset these settings. Below are the steps:

  1. Make sure you have a recent local backup of your iPhone (like a backup using iTunes on your computer)
  2. Sign out of your iCloud account. That way, after you reset your network connection settings you can sign back into iCloud and any syncing or backup will start again from scratch.
  3. Go into the settings app, under "General" and scroll down to the bottom and select the "Reset" option. There is a long list of options here, make sure you select the "Reset Network Settings" option (see screen capture below)

Your device will reset now and restart. Make sure you sign back into iCloud once your device restarts. Hopefully after logging back into your device the sync or backup error is now resolved. This technique fixed a couple of issues I was having. My iPhone wasn't syncing reminders from the reminders app and my iPad kept dropping its connection with the cellular network. Resetting the network settings fixed both of these issues for me.

If you are still having errors when trying to backup to iCloud there is one more thing that is a likely source of the have run out of space on iCloud. While Apple should give you a warning that you have run out of space, that doesn't always happen. If your last backup attempt was larger than the remaining capacity in your iCloud account then you might get a warning saying just that or you might not. The only way to know for sure is to buy extra iCloud storage. For just 99 cents a month you can increase your iCloud storage for 5 Gb to 50 Gb. I have done this for all of my family's devices and for me it is well worth the couple of bucks a month in cost. It is way too easy to use more than 5 Gb of iCloud storage unless you only use your iPhone for the most basic of tasks. As soon as you start taking photos or videos the size of your backups will go up quickly. If you decide you want to buy more iCloud storage, here is how you do it...

a. Go into the "Settings" app and into "iCloud", then into "Storage" and select the "Change Storage Plan" option.

b. From there you can select one of several storage upgrade options, 50 Gb, 200 Gb or 1 Tb. iCloud actually works a lot like Dropbox with the new iCloud Drive functionality in iOS, so having a bit of extra storage can come in really handy.

c. After you select the storage capacity you want to upgrade to you will need to put in your payment information and you should be all set.

d. You may need to go into your iCloud backup (go into the "Settings" app and into "iCloud", then into "Storage" and then into "Manage Storage" and you should see all the devices that are currently being backed up to your iCloud account. Select the device you are having problems backing up and at the bottom there is an option to "Delete Backup."

e. Then go back and try to manually start an iCloud backup by going into the "Settings" app and into "iCloud" and select "Backup" and then the "Backup Now" option. If storage was your issue then you should now be backing up once again to iCloud.

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