iCloud: Troubleshooting creating an iCloud backup


Learn more about how to troubleshoot issues that might occur when you create an iCloud backup.


How do I make sure that my iOS device is backed up regularly?

To set your iOS device to back up automatically, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup and turn on iCloud Backup. When iCloud Backup is turned on, iCloud automatically backs up your iOS device daily. This daily backup can occur only when the device meets all of these conditions:

  • The device is connected to a power source.
  • The device is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi.
  • The device's screen is locked.

To back up your device manually:

  1. Connect the device to a power source and make sure that you are also connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi.
  2. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup and tap Back Up Now.

I can't back up because there's not enough storage available.

If your iCloud storage reaches its maximum capacity, you can take any of the following actions:

Why is my backup larger than what I see is being backed up?

When managing your storage, you may notice a difference between the size of your backup and the amount of total data that your device appears to be backing up. That's because some apps that come with iOS back up data to iCloud, but do not appear under Backup Options on your device. For example, Voice Memos and Messages (especially messages with attachments) add to the size of your backup. Follow these steps if you want to save Message attachments or voice memos to your computer before deleting them from your device:


  1. Tap the image or video to open it, tap the Share button, then tap Save to Camera Roll.
  2. Save your Camera Roll to your computer.
  3. Delete the image or video from your Camera Roll, then delete the message or message attachment from Messages.

Voice Memos

  1. Connect your device to your computer.
  2. In iTunes, select the device in the sidebar.
  3. Select the Music tab.
  4. Select Sync Music, and click Apply. Your Voice Memos will be saved as a playlist in your iTunes library.

I received a message saying I'm about to run out of storage, but my device shows there is plenty of storage.

There's a difference between how much storage you have on your iOS device and how much storage you have in iCloud.

  • To see the amount of storage that is currently available on your device, go to Settings > General > Usage.
  • To see the amount of iCloud storage that is currently available to you, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.

Where can I learn more about a message I received when my device was backing up?

To learn more about messages that may appear when your device is trying to back up, see Understanding Backup alert messages.

If you have trouble remembering the text of any message you receive, you can take a screenshot on your iOS device. Press the Home and Lock buttons to save an image of the current screen to your Camera Roll or Photo Library.

My backup is taking a long time to finish.

Backing up and restoring takes time, especially if you have a lot of data or a slow connection. Depending on the size of your backup and the speed of your network, you may need more time than expected to complete the process. Using a reliable connection when backing up your device is highly recommended.

Learn more

If you haven't backed up your iOS device to iCloud for 180 days or longer, Apple reserves the right to delete the backups associated with that device. Review the iCloud Terms and Conditions for more information.

Last Modified: Aug 6, 2014
  • Last Modified: Aug 6, 2014
  • Article: TS3992
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