Solved: iCloud Backup Not Working (iOS 17)

What to Know

  • iCloud backup not working? Check your settings, storage space, and consider switching to a larger storage plan.
  • Always make sure your iPhone is charging, the screen is locked, and the connection is stable.
  • Lastly, check the server status, try signing out and back in, and hard restart your device.

Is your iCloud backup not working? On occasion, you may get an unwelcome message such as, "iPhone Backup Failed," on your iPhone. If you find that your iCloud backup is not working, there could be several reasons that the backup failed. Let's troubleshoot why your iPhone's backup failed, then learn how to fix the issue.

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iCloud Backup Not Working? Why iPhone Won't Back Up & How to Fix It

Backing up your iPhone or iPad regularly is an important part of securing your data and settings. By regularly backing up your iPhone to iCloud, you're assured that if your phone is damaged, you won't lose your device settings, app data, messages, or photos and videos. If you've set your iPhone to automatically back up to the cloud every night, but suddenly you've received an error message such as, "the last backup couldn't be completed" or "problem enabling iCloud Backup." What gives? There are a few things that could have gone wrong, let's go through the possible problems and solutions. You can also check your iCloud backup encryption options.

First Steps to Take When iPhone Is Not Backing Up

Check iCloud Storage Settings to Fix Backup Issues

Is it possible that your iCloud backup settings were accidentally changed? If so, your iPhone may display an error message indicating a problem enabling iCloud Backup. To remedy this:

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  1. Open the Settings app, and tap your profile at the top of the page.

    Tap on your Apple ID profile
  2. Scroll down and tap iCloud.

  3. Scroll down until you find iCloud Backup. It will say "On" or "Off" next to it. If it says "Off," tap it.

    Tap on iCloud Backup
  4. Toggle Back Up This iPhone on. It will be green when enabled.

    Tap the iCloud Backup toggle.
  5. Tap Back Up Now if you want an immediate backup.

    Tap Back Up Now if you want an immediate backup.

If Back Up Now is grayed out, it may indicate that there's a network restriction. If you're living on campus at college or leaving your work phone at the office overnight, check with the IT department or system administrator to see if they've put restriction settings in place that make iCloud Backup unavailable. Another possible reason that Back Up Now may be grayed out is a problem with Wi-Fi connectivity; here's how to troubleshoot that issue.

Check Your Power Source If iCloud Backup Failed

You may be wondering, "why won't my iPhone backup when I have enough storage?" Well, something else you can try is to check the outlet your iPhone was charging from and make sure it's working; it needs to be connected to a power source or your iPhone won't backup. Make sure the charging symbol is on when your device is plugged into the outlet or placed on your cordless charger. If the charging symbol isn't on, test the outlet with another electronic device to see if the issue is the outlet. If the outlet works, test the charging cable on a different device to see if the cable is the problem. If the outlet and the charging cable are working but your phone still isn't showing the charging symbol, here's how to troubleshoot your iPhone charging issue.

iphone backup failed

The Last Backup Could Not Be Completed? Check the Wi-Fi Signal & Connection

If you're getting a message that says, "The Last Backup Could Not Be Completed", the culprit is often your Wi-Fi connection. Make sure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi; the iCloud Backup process can't work with just your cellular data connection. If your iPhone isn't connected to Wi-Fi, use these tips to get it connected again.


If your iPhone still doesn't connect to your Wi-Fi network, check and see if your other devices can; if they aren't able to connect either, reset your router. If that fails, it's time to call your internet service provider for help.

Automatic iCloud Backup Won’t Work If Screen Isn’t Locked

In addition to requiring a Wi-Fi connection and a power source, your iPhone screen must be locked for your automatic iCloud Backup to proceed. If you have Auto-Lock turned off, you may be forgetting to turn off your screen (and lock it) at night. To check to see if Auto-Lock is enabled:

  1. Open the Settings app, and tap Display & Brightness.

    Tap on Display & Brightness
  2. Now tap Auto-Lock.

  3. If Never is checked, consider enabling your phone to auto-lock by selecting 5 Minutes or a shorter time period. Or make a point of remembering to lock your screen when you go to charge your phone; your screen must be locked for an automatic iCloud Backup to proceed.

    Select a time span for Auto Lock

Make Sure Apple's iCloud Backup System Is Working

There is a possibility that you haven't done anything wrong, but rather that Apple's iCloud Backup System is temporarily unavailable. 

The Apple System Support page indicates whether iCloud Backup is available. If iCloud Backup is unavailable, check back later to see if iCloud Backup is available yet and try again.

icloud backup messages

Storage & Slow Backup Solutions

Make Sure You Have Enough Space for Your iCloud Backup

Why can't you backup your iPhone? One of the most common reasons for a failed iCloud backup is a lack of sufficient iCloud storage. Your iPhone won't be able to automatically back up to the cloud if there isn't enough storage space left for the entire backup. Everyone who signs up for an iCloud account receives 5 GB of free storage space, but that can get eaten up quickly. To check and see if storage is the problem:

  1. Open the Settings app, and tap your profile at the top of the page.

    Tap on your Apple ID profile
  2. Tap iCloud.

  3. You'll see your iCloud storage summary at the top of the screen.

    iCloud storage summary will be at the top of the screen

If your storage is maxed out, your iPhone iCloud backup won't work. Read on to learn how to clear some space or buy more iCloud storage.

Change Your iCloud Storage Plan or Delete Storage Hogs

If your iPhone can't back up to the cloud because your storage is too full, you can change your iCloud storage plan. You can also do things like deleting old backups to free up space or check these five storage hogs for ways to make room on your iPhone.

Why Is My iCloud Backup Taking So Long?

Did your iCloud backup fail, or is it just taking longer than you expected? If your iPhone displays a message that says, "your device is being restored," this means the backup is incomplete, but still working to finish. Stay connected to your Wi-Fi network and power source and let the backup conclude. Your backup may be slower than usual if your Wi-Fi connection isn't up to speed or you have a large amount of data and settings to save. Similarly, you may receive a notification that reads something like, "Restoring 700 of 1800 items." This type of notification also indicates that the iCloud Backup is still in process; stay connected to Wi-Fi and power until it's finished.

Grayed-Out Apps?

One major culprit for a slow iCloud backup is apps getting hung up, indicated by a grayed-out app icon. If you suspect it's an app that's taking a long time to load that's slowing or stopping your iCloud backup, make sure that your iPhone is connected to a reliable, speedy Wi-Fi network. If your device is connected to Wi-Fi but the app is still causing a problem, tap the app to pause the backup, then tap it again to restart. If this doesn't get your iCloud backup moving, delete the app and then download it again.

iCloud Backup Restart & Reset Solutions

iPhone Still Won't Back Up to iCloud?

If you've followed the troubleshooting steps above and your iCloud backup is still not working, here are a few more solutions to try.

1. Hard Restart

If your iPhone won't back up to the iCloud, try following this tip on how to hard restart your iPhone to reset iCloud. If you have an iPhone 8 or earlier, you'll need to follow a slighly different set of steps to hard restart your iPhone instead.

2. Sign Out of Your iCloud Account, Then Sign Back In

This is a lengthy but very easy process. Give it a try to get your iCloud backup to work.

  1. Open the Settings app, and tap your profile at the top.

    Tap on your Apple ID profile
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap Sign Out.

  3. Enter your Apple ID password. Don't be confused by the Find My iPhone message; you're still on the right track to sign out of iCloud.

    Enter your password
  4. Tap Turn Off.

  5. Ignore the next message; you'll see some toggles, but since you're going to sign back in again, they're not necessary. 
  6. Tap Sign Out.

    Ignore the toggles and simply tap Sign Out
  7. A pop-up message will appear. Tap Sign Out again.

  8. You'll be directed to a page with a blank profile at the top. Tap Sign in to your iPhone.

    Tap on the blank profile at the top to sign in to iCloud
  9. Enter your Apple ID and password.

  10. Tap Next.

    Tap Next in the upper-right corner
  11. Enter your iPhone Passcode.

  12. A message will appear at the bottom asking about merging data. Tap Merge.

    Tap Merge
  13. It's a good idea to wait for the sign-in to be completed and then restart your device. 

Sometimes this process causes an iMessage Activation Error, but it's easy to fix. Generally, a restart is all it takes, so start with that.

3. Reset All Settings to Fix iCloud Backup Not Working

This process won't erase any data; it will just reset all of your iPhone's settings to the factory default. You may be disappointed, however, when you learn the hard way just how many settings you've customized; you'll have to customize your iPhone settings as though it was a brand new iPhone just out of the box. Here's how to reset all settings to fix iCloud backup not working: 

  1. Open the Settings app, and tap General.

    Tap on General
  2. Scroll down to Transfer or Reset iPhone and tap it.

    Scroll down to Transfer or Reset iPhone and tap it.
  3. You can select Get Started to ensure your iPhone is ready to be reset.

    You can select Get Started to ensure your iPhone is ready to be reset.
  4. Then, tap Reset.

    Then, tap Reset.

I hope this troubleshooting guide has helped you complete an iCloud backup on your iPhone. If not, please contact Apple Support, and they should be able to assist you. An iCloud backup can be useful, especially if you are selling your old iPhone and planning on buying a new one. Read next: how long does it take to restore an iPhone?


  • How long does it take to backup an iPhone? The amount of time it takes to backup an iPhone can vary depending on the size of the backup, your internet connection, etc. This is why it's best to do your iCloud backups at night while you're sleeping. Your iPhone will do this in the background so you don't have to worry about wasting battery or your iPhone using too much Wi-Fi bandwidth.
  • How much storage is needed to backup iPhone? This can vary greatly from iPhone to iPhone. It all depends on factors such as how many apps you have installed, files, messages, and more. If you use iCloud Photos, your photos and videos will not be included in the backup since they are backed up separately.
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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays has over a dozen years of experience writing for online publications. As a Feature Writer for iPhone Life, she has authored hundreds of how-to, Apple news, and gear review articles, as well as a comprehensive Photos App guide. Leanne holds degrees in education and science and loves troubleshooting and repair. This combination makes her a perfect fit as manager of our Ask an Expert service, which helps iPhone Life Insiders with Apple hardware and software issues.
In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.