How to fix an Apple iPhone XR that won’t back up to iCloud

The easiest and fastest way to back up files from your iPhone is through iCloud. As long as you’ve got your iCloud account set up and your device is signed in to iCloud, you can set your iPhone contents to sync to iCloud automatically or manually. For this to be possible, your device needs a stable Wi-Fi internet access. But like any other online services, iCloud is also susceptible to random problems attributed to network connectivity errors and server glitches. And this is when iCloud issues start to manifest.

One of the common problems encountered by iPhone owners when using iCloud is on backing up error or data syncing failure. If that happens to you, then this post is for you too. Read on to learn what to do if you cannot back up files from your iPhone XR to iCloud.

Before troubleshooting, check and ensure that you haven’t run out of iCloud storage already. By default, each iCloud account is granted with a 5GB free storage. If you’ve used that up, then you will need to pay for an account upgrade so as to increase your iCloud storage space.

To check the current status of your iCloud storage, just go to your iPhone Settings, tap on your Apple ID profile and then tap iCloud. On the upper part of this menu, you should see the status of your iCloud storage. If your iCloud storage is full, tap on Manage Storage then tap Upgrade to purchase more iCloud storage space.

If you’re certain that you still have ample of storage space on your iCloud account but just couldn’t back up your iPhone files, then you can try these subsequent methods to troubleshoot your device.

First solution: Refresh your Internet connection.

As mentioned earlier, Internet connection is required to back up files to iCloud. If your phone is going through some random Wi-Fi connectivity issues like intermittent connection or Wi-Fi drops, then refresh your Wi-Fi internet is recommended. This can be done in different ways including router/modem reboot, turning Wi-Fi off and on, and using the Airplane Mode toggle.

  1. To refresh your Internet connection by rebooting the wireless router/modem, you will need to get to your router/modem first. Then turn it off by pressing on the Power switch. While the router/modem is turned off, unplug its AC adapter from the power source for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and then plug it back in. Wait for your phone to re-establish connection to your Wi-Fi network.
  2. To refresh the Internet using Wi-Fi toggle, head over to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu, then toggle the switch to turn Wi-Fi off and then on again.
  3. To use the Airplane Mode trick, go to your iPhone Settings-> Airplane Mode menu, then toggle the switch to turn Airplane mode ON. Doing so disables wireless features of the phone. While Airplane mode is turned on, restart the phone. After it restarts, head back to Settings then turn Airplane Mode OFF again.

Reconnect your iPhone to your Wi-Fi network then retry backing up files to iCloud when connected.

After refreshing your Wi-Fi Internet, try to perform an iCloud backup with these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap on your Apple ID profile at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Tap iCloud Backup. Make sure that the switch is turned ON.
  5. Then tap Back Up Now.

If that doesn’t work either, then you can proceed to the next possible solution.

Second solution: Sign out and sign back into your iCloud account.

Signing out and back into your iCloud account can also be the key to resolving the problem if account-related issues are to blame. The process works similar to that when having problems with your email account like expired login sessions and other account-related glitches. So here’s what you should do then:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID profile on top of the screen.
  3. Scroll down and tap Sign Out.
  4. Enter your Apple ID password and tap the option to Turn Off.
  5. If you want, you can turn on the data you want to keep a copy off on your iPhone XR.
  6. Then tap Sign Out twice to confirm action. You will then be logged out of your iCloud account.

After signing out, restart your iPhone then sign back into your iCloud account with these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap the option to Sign In to your iPhone.
  3. Enter your Apple ID and password.

If necessary, enter the six-digit verification code and complete the sign in process. This code will only be used if you enabled a two-factor authentication for your account.

Third solution: Reset all settings on your iPhone XR.

This reset is often needed when dealing with problems attributed to invalid settings on the phone. If your iCloud backups were working just fine until you made some changes to your device settings, then that could be the cause of the problem. So this is what you should do to rule this out:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset all settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode then follow the onscreen instructions to confirm all settings reset.

Wait for your phone to restart automatically. That’s an indication that the reset is finished. After it restarts, you should notice that the settings and options are restored to their default configuration.

To use online services, you will need to turn Wi-Fi on and connect to your Wi-Fi network. Once your iPhone is online, enable iCloud and try if back-ups are working already.

Fourth solution: Update iOS to the latest version available.

Should the problem be triggered by some bugs or system errors, installing the latest iOS version available for your iPhone XR will likely solve it. Updates usually come with dedicated fix patches to get rid of any existing bugs that caused certain features or functions to fail.

  • To check for new iOS update, go to your iPhone Settings-> General-> Software Update menu.

If you feel the need to back up files before updating, then you will need to use iTunes on a computer instead. To back up through iTunes, the computer must be connected to the Internet and running on a later/latest OS version to ensure system compatibility.

Fifth solution: Erase and restore your iPhone in iTunes.

You may have to consider erasing your device and restore it in iTunes if none of the prior solutions worked. You can back up all your files to your computer drive through iTunes before resetting your device.

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the Apple-supplied USB cable.
  2. Open iTunes on your computer then wait for it recognize your device.
  3. When your iPhone XR appears at the top of the iTunes screen, click on its icon.
  4. Navigate to the Backups heading then click the button that’s labelled with This Computer. You can find this button under the Automatically Back Up section.
  5. Click the Back Up Now button on the right-hand corner of the screen to start backing up your iPhone XR to iTunes.

Once your backup is finished, you can proceed with a system reset or iOS restore. To factory reset your iPhone XR in iTunes, simply refer to these steps:

  1. Open iTunes and connect your iPhone to the computer. If this is the first time you connect your device, you will be prompted to Trust This Computer or enter your device passcode.
  2. Tap on Trust This Computer to continue.
  3. Then select your iPhone when it appears in iTunes.
  4. Navigate to the Summary section, then click the Restore [iPhone] button.
  5. Click the Restore button again if prompted to confirm.

Wait for iTunes to finish erasing your device and then installs the latest iOS version available. When the reset is finished, your phone restarts automatically. By then you can proceed to the initial setup process and set your iPhone XR up as new.

Other options

If a factory reset doesn’t solve the problem, then you may opt to performing a recovery mode restore or DFU mode restore. With these methods, major system errors that halted your device from backing up to iCloud are cleared out by restoring the system from a previous backup. Consider this options if the problem was triggered by an update and it persisted.

You may also opt to escalate the problem to Apple Support so they can make further assessments and see if the problem is on their end. It’s possible that the iCloud server is currently down and so, iCloud services are likewise temporarily unavailable.

I hope that we’ve been able to help you fix the problem with your device. We would appreciate it if you helped us spread the word so please share this post if you found it helpful. Thank you so much for reading!