Fix Common iPhone Backup Issues

Is your iPhone or iPad configured to backup to Apple’s iCloud servers? If so, your iOS device should automatically get backed up daily. If your iOS device is displaying a message indicating that it has not backed up in a few weeks (or more), here are some basic items that you should review. Read another Tech Tip if you want to learn more about how to setup iPhone backups to iCloud or your Mac.

Automatic, daily backups to Apple’s iCloud servers should occur if the following three conditions are met.

  1. Your iOS device is connected to a Wi-Fi (aka wireless) network
  2. Your iOS device’s battery is charging
  3. Your iOS device’s screen is dark (i.e. your device is asleep and not in use)
First, let’s verify that iCloud backups are still enabled.

These instructions assume your iPhone is using iOS 11 or higher.

  • Wake up or unlock your iPhone or iPad
  • Tap on Settings
  • Tap on your name. (If you’re using a version of iOS prior to version 11 then skip this step.)
  • Scroll to and tap on iCloud
  • Scroll to iCloud Backup. Make sure it’s on/off slider button is in the on position so you can see some green next to the button.
  • Tap on iCloud Backup. Read the date of the most recent backup.
  • Tap Back Up Now. These words will be listed in blue text if your device is on a Wi-Fi network. If these words are listed in grey text then Wi-Fi is most likely off. If this is the case then follow the instructions listed below. If you are able to initiate a backup then let it run and see if it finishes successfully.
If needed, please turn on Wi-Fi and connect to a wireless network
  • Wake up or unlock your iPhone or iPad
  • Tap on Settings
  • Tap on Wi-Fi
  • As needed, turn it on and then choose a network from the list
  • Now that your device is connected to a wi-fi network return to iCloud’s Backup settings and tap on Back Up Now by following the instructions listed above.
Restart the device

Some backup issues are resolved by restarting your iPhone or iPad. Read this Tech Tip  to learn how to fully turn off your iPhone or iPad.

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