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How To Troubleshoot Common iCloud Problems

November 23, 2016

Over the past couple of versions of iOS, Apple has made iCloud much easier to use and eliminated many of the problems that plagued it in its early years.

However, users still have problems every day doing things as simple as logging in. If this is you, you’re not alone. There are a tons of people complaining about the same things: problems syncing, problems logging in, problems with iCloud Drive.

Thankfully, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can take to solve these issues.

Before we get into specific problems, there are some general troubleshooting steps you can take when you’re running into problems with iCloud.

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General Troubleshooting Steps

Apple occasionally does routine maintenance on the iCloud servers. Sometimes, iCloud may simply be experiencing problems that Apple has to fix. In these cases, iCloud may be unavailable for a period of time.

Check the System Status by following that link, to see if iCloud is available.

Update your computer to the latest operating system. This often fixes problems that seem to have no other fix.

Make sure that you’re signed in with the correct Apple ID. Sometimes, someone else may have been using their iCloud account or you may have been logged out of yours. Make sure that it’s properly set up and you are logged in.

Restart your device and try it again. This works weirdly often.

Check to make sure that your date and time is correct. Things get weird if your date and time are not set properly. Many apps will refuse to connect to the internet and iCloud may not work.

These are general steps that shouldn’t take you very long to try. If the problem persists, there may be specific steps to take.

Here are a few specific problem that users run into.

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Having Trouble Using iCloud Drive With An App

If you’re having trouble backing your data up to iCloud drive, make sure that iCloud is enabled for that specific app. Follow these steps:

1. In Settings, tap on iCloud.

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2. Then, tap on iCloud Drive

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3. Make sure that the app you are trying to use has iCloud enabled.

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4. If you are not connected to wifi, and you have the Cellular Data option turned off, your data may not sync. If you’ve done everything else and your data still won’t back up, this is probably why.

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“Unsupported Apple ID” Message When Signing In On iOS

Depending on how you created you Apple ID, you may not be eligible to use it with iCloud.

The vast majority of Apple IDs are compatible. If you’re using your Apple ID with iTunes, Apple Music, Game Center, or Facetime, your Apple ID should work with iCloud. It should also work if you created your Apple ID to apply for a job at Apple.

That said, there are some Apple IDs that are not supported. In this case, you need to back up any of the information stored on the old Apple ID (which may be nothing if you’ve never really used it) and make a new Apple ID. Any new Apple ID will work fine.

Failed User Name Or Password Alert

This usually happens because of simple spelling errors or misunderstanding the directions on the login page. Here are a few things to check when you’re getting this error.

1. Make sure that you are inputting your entire Apple ID. It needs to be [email protected]. It cannot be just your username.

2. Make sure Caps Lock is off. All passwords and usernames are case sensitive.

3. If you have more than one Apple ID, ensure you’ve put the right one in.

4. Last resort, reset your Apple ID password at iforgot.apple.com.

When you reset your password for Apple ID, it gets reset for every service that uses your Apple ID. This includes iTunes, Apple Online Store, App Store, etc. Make sure you remember your new password, if you forget again and Apple locks your account it can be a pain to get it back.

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Authentication request When Signing in on Mac OSX

Sometimes, the administrator on whatever computer you are using will require an administrator’s permission before signing in to iCloud.

If you are logged in as a standard user, you may not have administrative privileges. This will trigger an alert saying “System Preferences is trying to modify the Directory Services configuration”.

If you know the administrator password, just type it in and you should be good to go.

If not, you need to either log into an administrators account or talk to that computer’s administrator and get permission to log in.

Email Address Not Verified

When you create a new Apple ID you need to verify the email it’s registered with. It’s possible that you forgot to do this, and that is why you are getting this message.

Take the time to look for that email and go through with the instructions to verify the account.

Then, close and reopen the iCloud preferences or login you were trying to log in to, and try it again.

Make sure to check your Junk folder for the email, sometimes it ends up there.

If you didn’t get this email, or have deleted it, you can always resend the verification email. In iCloud preferences, you can click Resend Verification Email.

Problems With iCloud Sync

Beyond troubles getting into their iCloud account, one of the most common issues is with iCloud sync. It usually works pretty well, but sometimes it just doesn’t. Contacts, calendars, messages, and other stuff won’t be there, even after waiting for a few minutes.

There are a few things you can do to get iCloud sync working again.

Firstly, wait for 15-20 minutes. Although iCloud is supposed to sync almost instantly, sometimes it just takes a little longer. Being patient for a little while could save you a lot of work.

If it’s really not working, make sure you’re logged in with the same Apple ID on all devices. The date and time have to be set correctly for things to sync properly, so make sure that your devices update automatically.

Now the you’re sure that the device is set up properly,  you can force sync whatever isn’t syncing. This usually fixes the problem almost instantly.

To force sync an app that is not syncing properly, follow these steps:

1. In this example we will use the iOS Calendar app. If your events are not syncing properly, tap the Calendars button at the bottom of the page.

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2. Tap and drag the screen downwards to force the app to refresh. You calendars should be synced.
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3. You can force sync you Contacts in a similar manner. When you’re in the Contacts app, tap Groups.

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4. Now, drag the screen down to force sync the app.

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If you’re still having problems after you’ve checked and made sure your apps are properly set up and then force synced them, it’s worth trying a couple other tactics.

The first thing to do is sign out of iCloud on your phone, and then sign back in again. Make sure you back up your device before doing this, and it’s always good to be connected to a stable wifi network when you do things like this.

As a last resort, you can try a hard reset for your iOS device. It sounds scary, but it’s not. It can actually fix a wide range of problems.

To do this, hold the lock button and the hold button down until the device turns off and the Apple logo appears. Your device will be restarted and some of the system processes are refreshed. This fixes many sync problems and can also fix many strange bugs that iOS users experience.

What If iCloud Storage Is Full?

This is an extremely common problem for many people. Not only do our iOS devices get filled up quickly with images and music, but our iCloud storage gets used up just as fast.

For the full details on how to fix ALL your iCloud storage problems, read our ‘iCloud Storage – The Definitive Guide’ here.

You get 5GB free. For some, this is enough. But to be honest, it only costs $0.99 for 20GB, so you might as well upgrade.

This is the easiest fix to having iCloud storage issues. Sure, you could delete some things and manage is better, but when it’s so cheap buy storage, why not?

If you end up upgrading your storage plan, you’ll be charged right away. You’ll then be charged the same amount every month until you cancel or downgrade.

If you downgrade the amount of storage you have and end up with more data the you’re allowed, you won’t be able to use iCloud Drive until you’ve deleted or removed the extra data.

Finally, when you purchase more storage, make sure you restart your device, so that your data syncs up with iCloud and accesses all your new storage.

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