iCloud Backup Failed, Fix

This article explains the solutions when your iPhone or iPad iCloud backup failed. Backups are important and you should be backing up your device regularly. If iCloud won’t let you do so, then this article is for you. iCloud provides storage for your photos, videos, files, and more.

Not enough storage?

Are you getting an alert message saying ” iPhone (or iPad) backup failed. You do not have enough space in iCloud to back up this device”?

iCloud backup failed
If this is the case, there are basically three things you can do, we will cover them:

  1. Upgrade your iCloud plan.
  2. Reduce the size of your backup.

Before continue, you should know two things and check:

  1. Your next iCloud backup size: You can know this by going to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups > your device.  Wait until your iCloud info loads. iCloud next backup size
  2. Current available iCloud storage size. You can do so by going to Settings > [your name] > iCloud. Tap iCloud Storage or Manage Storage.iCloud available storage

Upgrade your iCloud plan

Apple gives you 5GB of free iCloud storage. If 5GB is not enough, you can easily upgrade (if you want you can downgrade later if you want). You can choose from a total of 50GB ($0.99), 200GB ($2.99), or 2TB ($9.99). To upgrade your plan, on your device, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage or iCloud Storage > Buy More Storage or Change Storage Plan. Choose a plan and follow the onscreen instructions. This will be billed to the Apple ID that you use.

Adjust the size of your iCloud backup

Is your iCloud almost full? If you do not want to upgrade, this is a few alternative options you may want to try. There are a few ways to do so:

  • You can do so by choosing which apps to back up. You do not have to back up all of your apps.  Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups > your device  (iPhone or iPad). Under the Choose Data to Back Up section, you will see a list of your apps. Choose which ones you think you do not need to back up and toggle them off.  When you toggle, you will be asked to confirm. Tap Turn Off and Delete. Now, this app will not be backed up. Turn off and delete apps
  • Another option is that you may want to try to reduce the size of your iCloud photos. You can delete the movies, photos that you do not want. On your iPhone or iPad, open Photos, tap the Photos tab, and then tap Select and tap the Trash icon and Delete Photo. You may also want to save these photos on your computer etc.
  • You can turn off iCloud Photos. You can do so by going to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > manage Storage > Photos > and tap Disable & Delete. If you choose this option, you will have 30 days to download your photos and videos. Then go to Deleted Albums and tap Delete.
  • You can remove files in iCloud Drive. To do this the open the Files app on your device. Then go to Browse > iCloud Drive > Select and select the files that you want to remove and then tap the trash icon. Note that deleted files will remain for 30 days so if you want to remove them now, go to Locations > Recently Deleted > Select and tap Delete.
  • You can free up iCloud space by removing email messages from your iCloud email account. Open Mail and delete your messages that you do not want to. And then open the Trash folder and delete them. You can also access iCloud on your iPad or computer by signing in to iCloud.com.

See also: How to delete iCloud backups

The last backup could not be completed

If you see this message, you can fix this problem as well. iCloud backups are automatic. But sometimes you may see this ‘the last backup could not be completed’ error. Please try the steps below to resolve this problem:

The last backup could not be completed

  • Restart your iPhone or iPad. Simply restart your device and then retry again.
  • Update your iPhone or iPad. You can update your device easily by going to Settings > General > Software Update. This will check for updates and if there is an update available, tap Download to install the update.
  • Make sure that you have a strong Wi-Fi connection. You can try the followings to troubleshoot:
    • Enable Airplane Mode and wait for about a minute and then turn it off by going to Settings > Airplane Mode.
    • Restart your modem and router. You can do so by unplugging the router and modem’s power cords from the power outlet for 15 seconds.
    • Make sure that your iPhone or iPad is not too far away from your modem/router.
    • Contact your Internet service provider. It is possible that you may have a problem with your account with them. Or they may be having an outage problem.
  • Try a different Wi-Fi network. You may be having a connection problem. Wi-Fi problems?
  • Reset network settings. Please note that if you do this, your current network settings will erased, such as your Wi-Fi passwords, etc. You can do so by going to Settings > General > Reset and tap Reset Network Settings. Reset network settings

If you could not get iCloud backup work, contact Apple Support. Also, another note is that you can use your computer to backup. Simply connect your device to your computer. Here is how:

  • After connecting your device to your computer, open Finder (or iTunes, if your computer is a PC or if your Mac is running macOS Mojave or earlier).
  • Click your device and then click Back Up Now. Backup now to your computer
  • Wait until the backup is done.

If you encounter the “Some Files Were Unavailable” error, see this article.

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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