Troubleshooting Guide For iCloud Photo Syncing

iCloud photo syncing automatically syncs the photos between all your devices that have iCloud enabled. That way, if something happens to your iPhone, for example, the latest version of your photos will be stored safely in the cloud. But what if iCloud Photo Syncing isn’t working for you?

To troubleshoot iCloud photo syncing errors, make sure you’re on a strong WiFi connection and that iCloud Photos is enabled before signing out of iCloud on your devices and signing back in. Then, install any new updates and restart your device before toggling iCloud Photos off and back on.

If you still can’t get iCloud photo syncing to work, there are some other tricks that might be able to get your photos syncing again. Let’s take a look at the possible fixes and some related topics, so that you can feel confident that your photos are backed up at all times.

Why Aren’t My iCloud Photos Downloading?

Cloud downloading on mobile phone

There are a few reasons your iCloud photos might not be downloading. Some of these are easy to fix, while others may require a visit to your local Apple Store.

Resolving the issue may be as simple as improving your internet connection, enabling iCloud Photos, or disabling Low Power Mode.

A weak internet connection is the most common reason why iCloud photos aren’t downloading. If you’re on cellular data, try to connect to a WiFi network. Once you have a stable connection, check to see if your photos have started downloading.

If they’re still not downloading, the next thing to check is whether iCloud Photos is turned off on one of your devices. You should have iCloud Photos turned on in order for the syncing process to work between your devices.

The last thing to look at is whether Low Power Mode is enabled. When Low Power Mode is on, iCloud photo Syncing will pause until you turn it off. To check, open the Settings app and go to ‘Battery.’ If you see ‘Low Power Mode’ is on, tap the button to turn it off.

Once you’ve completed these steps, try syncing your photos again. If you’ve tried these things and iCloud Photos still isn’t working, it’s time to move on to more advanced troubleshooting steps.

How to Enable iCloud Photo Library on Your iPhone

The iCloud Photo Library keeps your photos backed up and accessible on all of your devices. When it’s not enabled, your photos only sync to iCloud when you back up your iPhone

To make sure your photos are always backed up by enabling iCloud Photo:

  1. Check that you are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on all your devices.
  2. Open the Settings app and tap on your account name.
  3. Tap ‘iCloud,’ then ‘Photos,’ and toggle the ‘iCloud Photos‘ switch to the ON position.

If you’re still having trouble, try signing out of iCloud and then signing back in. You can do this by going to Settings and tapping your account name. Then, scroll to the bottom on the right-hand side and tap the ‘Sign Out‘ button. Once you’ve signed back in, try enabling iCloud Photos again.

How to Increase iCloud Storage

If you’re getting a message that your iCloud storage is full, you can purchase more storage or free up some space.

To purchase more storage, open the Settings app and tap on your account name. Tap ‘iCloud,’ then ‘Manage Storage.’ Here, you’ll see how much storage you have and how much is being used. Tap ‘Change Storage Plan‘ to increase your storage.

If you don’t want to purchase more storage, you can free up some space by deleting files and photos you don’t need. 

Start by going to Settings and tapping ‘iCloud.’ Here, you’ll see a list of all the apps using iCloud storage. If you don’t need the app to use iCloud, you can turn it off by tapping the toggle next to it.

To see how much storage an app is using, tap ‘Manage Storage.’ If an app is taking up a lot of space, you can go into the app and delete any files you don’t need.

You can also choose ‘Delete Data‘ by tapping on the app from the Manage Storage screen. Keep in mind that this will delete all data stored on your device and in iCloud for that app, so only do this if you’re certain you won’t need it again.

How to Enable Photo Stream

My Photo Stream is a service that automatically syncs your photos between devices that have iCloud enabled. However, it doesn’t back up your photos to iCloud, and they will be automatically deleted after 30 days.

To enable Photo Stream, open Photos, tap ‘Album,’ then move the ‘My Photo Stream‘ toggle to the ON position.

If you have a newer Apple ID, Photo Stream might not be available to you. Apple also removes My Photo Stream options from settings if you have iCloud Photos enabled.

How to Restart Your Apple Device

Power button symbol displayed on a futuristic interface

If you still have trouble with iCloud photo syncing, try restarting your device. Doing this can often fix minor software glitches that may be causing the problem.

To Restart Your iPhone:

  1. Hold down the power button until “Slide to Power Off” appears on the screen.
  2. Slide the button to the right and wait for your device to turn off.
  3. Once it’s off, hold the power button down again until you see the Apple logo.

To Restart Your iPad:

  1. Hold down the power button until the slider appears.
  2. Slide the button to the right and wait for your device to turn off.
  3. Once it’s off, hold down the power button again until you see the Apple logo.

To restart your Mac, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen and select ‘Restart.’

Once your device has restarted, try enabling iCloud Photos again.

If you’re still having trouble with iCloud photo syncing, make sure your iOS device is up to date. To do this, open the Settings app and tap ‘General.’ Then, tap ‘Software Update‘ and follow the instructions on the screen.

If an update is available, it will be downloaded and installed automatically. Once the update is finished, try enabling iCloud Photos again.

Once you have iCloud working properly on your device, you can start backing up your photos and access them from anywhere. In addition, you can optimize iCloud Photos storage to save even more space on your device by reducing the resolution of your photos.

To do this, open the Settings app and tap your Apple ID name. Next, tap ‘iCloud‘ and then ‘Photos.’ Then select ‘Optimize Device Storage.’ Doing this will save lower resolution versions of your photos on your device and keep full-resolution versions in iCloud.

When to Visit Your Local Apple Store or Best Buy

If you’ve tried the troubleshooting steps in this guide and iCloud photos still won’t sync, it’s probably time to visit your local Apple Store or Best Buy.

You can make an appointment with the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store or a Geek Squad employee at Best Buy to get help with iCloud Photos. They can help you figure out what’s causing the problem and get iCloud photo syncing working again.

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