Can’t Backup to iCloud – Not Enough Storage

Can’t Backup to iCloud – Not Enough Storage
Can’t Backup to iCloud – Not Enough Storage
Backing Up Data Device Tips Tutorials

Having problems with your iCloud backup? Keep seeing ‘The last backup could not be completed’ message? Try these tips below to fix your iCloud backup problem.

iCloud backups are a fantastic feature. They are super-convenient: all you need is a power source and Wi-Fi connection to create one, and there is the option to always encrypt your backup. With new iOS versions, iCloud backups are now more secure than ever. So it’s really annoying if suddenly your iPad won’t back up.

My iPad / iPhone won’t back up to iCloud

Ordinarily, iCloud backups are automatic. If you have signed up to iCloud, your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch is supposed to complete an iCloud backup when connected to Wi-Fi. Or you can manually complete iCloud backups at any time in your Settings. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t all go to plan and you see the message ‘The last backup could not be completed.’ Keep reading to find a solution to this iCloud backup problem.

Why is this happening?

You could be trying to back up too many things. If you’re on one of the lower iCloud storage plans, 5GB (free) or 10GB a year (paid), there’s a good chance you won’t be able to back up everything anyway. If you have a 64GB iPhone and you’re backing up to a 10GB iCloud space, or a 16GB phone to a 5GB storage option, there simply won’t be the available space.

But I do have enough space!

If there is enough storage space to back up your iPhone or iPad to iCloud, it may be another issue. After the iOS 9 update, the number of iPhone and iPad users unable to backup to iCloud rose by a considerable amount. Within the various iOS forums, users were suggesting that it was the OS taking up the extra storage space when creating an iCloud backup.

See if you can fix your iCloud backup problem here, without having to pay more for your iCloud storage! Read on.

1) Fix the iCloud Backup Problem

The following tips will work for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch too!

Deselect any apps you don’t need

Make sure that you are only backing up the data you need. Go to Settings > iCloud > Deselect all the apps that you don’t need to back up.

icloud backup failed

2) Backup to iTunes instead

Is there a downside to choosing an iCloud or iTunes backup? Well, you can’t manage individual data files – you have to either back everything up, or nothing at all. Creating an iTunes backup of your iPhone or iPad will save a copy of your device’s database (including certain settings). This backup can be restored back to your phone at any point. If your phone is ever lost, stolen or replaced, you will be able to get data back from your backup files.

Open iTunes on your PC > Connect your device to the computer (using USB cable) > Click on the device icon (top left) > Select ‘This Computer’ and ‘Back Up Now’.

itunes backup iphone

If any options appear to save purchases from the iTunes Store, select yes if this is something you’d like to do.

3) Turn on Photo Stream/Turn off Photo backup

Realistically, the iCloud backup problem may tempt you into paying more for the extra 10-20GB of space. Or maybe you’re thinking of switching to Google’s paid storage plan – after all it works out better than Apple’s. But before you get to that stage, there are a few more tips you can try if the suggestions above haven’t worked.

One of the main storage fillers on your iPhone or iPad will be your photos. Even transferring your photos to the computer and deleting them from your device could make a huge difference in storage availability. You could also try turning off your Photo Library backup in iCloud and turn on your Photo Stream instead. This may fix any iCloud storage problems you are having and enable you to create a backup. (Please note Photo Stream does not back up your videos).

  1. Connect iPhone to computer with USB cable
  2. Transfer photos to computer
  3. Turn off Photo Library as part of iCloud backup:
    Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage > This iPhone > Tap Photo Library switch > Turn off & Delete (nothing will be erased)
  4. Turn off iCloud Photo Library: Settings > iCloud > Photos > Switch off iCloud Photo Library
  5. Turn on my Photo Stream on your iPhone: Settings > iCloud > Photos > Tap My Photo Stream on
  6. Turn on My Photo stream on your Mac or Windows computer

4) Perform a backup without iCloud or iTunes

Is it possible to back up your iPhone or iPad without iTunes or iCloud? Yes! By using a third-party software solution such as Enigma Recovery, you can create a backup of the data on your device.

Back up text messages and iMessages using Enigma Recovery’s Incremental Backup feature

As an alternative to iCloud backup, you can use the Enigma Incremental Backup service instead. This feature in our current recovery software gives you much greater, granular control over your data backup and retrieval. When you sync your device with either iTunes or iCloud, you can’t manage individual items or files. With Enigma Recovery you can do exactly that: what’s more, it improves the rate of deleted data recovery from your iPhone. You’ll be able to recover data that is usually only available for recovery from an iTunes or iCloud backup, including photos, videos and WhatsApp chat history. You can securely back up your device to your computer and delete backups or turn the feature off at any time.

Enigma Recovery’s Incremental Backup feature helps safeguard your iPhone data (text messages, WhatsApp messages and photo attachments, photos and videos, calendar, notes, contacts, calls and more) and ensures that you can retrieve and transfer it quickly and easily.

More frequent, incremental backups of purely the latest data on your device give you an extra layer of control over your data and result in quicker, easier data recovery. Neither iCloud nor iTunes backups offer this granularity.

Enigma Recovery™ – Backup Text Messages, iMessages & more…

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Learn about the free trial here

Enigma Recovery can backup your:

  • Text Messages
  • Photos
  • iMessages
  • Videos
  • WhatsApp messages and attachments
  • Contacts
  • Notes
  • Call history
  • Calendar events

Here’s how to create an iPhone backup using Enigma Recovery:

  1. Download Enigma Recovery to your PC
  2. Open software and connect iPhone to Mac or PC
  3. ‘Select all’ and start the scan
  4. Export data to your computer

Save your iPhone data!

Downloading Enigma Recovery acts as an insurance policy for your iPhone data. As well as creating iPhone and iPad backups, the software can recover deleted messages, contacts, WhatsApp history and more. Deleted data from your device is found during a scan of the database. The software can make a copy of your iPhone or iPad database and display data on your PC (including photos and videos).

We hope this tutorial has helped to fix your iCloud backup problem and given you some useful alternative backup solutions.


Victor, our Social Media and Support Manager helps customers to get the most out of our products. He was formerly a professional dancer who came to Enigma Digital due to his interest in emerging tech trends

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