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How to fix photos not uploading to iCloud

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iCloud is a great way to keep your photos safely stored, while syncing them to all your Apple devices. If you’re experiencing difficulties getting your precious memories to upload, however, then obviously something is going wrong somewhere.

In this article we show you a few different ways to address the problem of photos refusing to upload to iCloud.

Check your settings

The first place to look is in the controls for iCloud itself, just to make sure the service is set up as it should be.

Open the Settings app, tap on your account name at the top of the page, then navigate to iCloud > Photos, and make sure that iCloud Photo Library is enabled. You should also turn on the Upload to My Photo Stream option to see if that helps clear the problem.

How to fix photos not uploading to icloud

Have you run out of iCloud storage space?

Another common reason for items not being uploaded to iCloud is a lack of storage. Apple gives every user 5GB for free, but if you take a lot of photographs then this can quickly fill up.

To check your current usage, open the Settings app, tap on your account name, then select iCloud. At the top of the page you’ll see a breakdown of your current storage.

how to fix photos not uploading to icloud

If this is maxed out then you might need to either delete some files or move to one of the paid tiers offered by Apple.

See our How much does iCloud cost? article to see the current rates and then How to upgrade your iCloud storage subscription for a step-by-step guide to the process.

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Is there enough storage on your device?

It might sound counterintuitive, but for a device to upload images to iCloud it actually requires spare space on the internal storage. This means that if your iPhone or iPad is currently bursting at the seams, this could be preventing iCloud uploads from working.

To check how much local storage you have, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage, where you’ll see the amount displayed at the top of the screen.

how to fix photos not uploading on icloud

Should this be full, then you may have found the root of your problem. Beneath the storage indicator you’ll see an option to Offload Unused Apps, with the amount of storage it will free up listed below.

Tap Enable if you want to use this service, bearing in mind that none of your data or documents will be deleted, and the apps can be downloaded again at a later date if you tap the Purchased tab in the App Store.

Another option available is to select Review Large Attachments and see if there are any superfluous videos or downloads in the Messages app that could be taking up valuable space.

For more ideas on clearing out the clutter read our How to free space on an iPhone feature.

Check your Wi-Fi connection

As iCloud is an internet-based service, there could be an issue with your connection. Check to see if other apps are able to access the web. Open Safari, type in a new web address, then see if it can load the page.

There is a chance that this could be using 4G rather than Wi-Fi, so open the Control Centre (swiping up from the bottom of the page or swiping down from the upper-right corner on iPhone X) and tap on the plane icon for Airplane Mode. Now tap the Wi-Fi icon beneath it, go back to Safari and try another new web address.

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If the page loads then your Wi-Fi seems to be working, but if not then you’ll need to reboot your router or iPhone and see whether that clears the problem. Should the issue persist, take a look at our How to fix Wi-Fi problems on iPhone guide.

Of course, you don’t have to use iCloud as the only storage for your photos. There are several other services available, many of which are free. So, if you fancy a peek outside the Apple garden, then read How to back up photos on iPhone for some other options.



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