How to Fix 'The Last Backup Could Not Be Completed' Error

Did your iCloud backup fail? Try these tips

Backing up your iPhone and iPad to iCloud is a critical part of keeping your data safe in the event of a device failure or loss. But iOS device users sometimes receive a disturbing message saying, "The last backup could not be completed." Here's a look at what might cause this problem and how to fix it and get your iCloud backups running smoothly once again.

These troubleshooting steps apply to iCloud Backup for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.

Causes of iCloud Backup Errors

A variety of factors can cause iCloud backup errors, including mismatched Apple ID credentials, not enough iCloud storage, a poor Wi-Fi connection, and a lack of physical storage space on the device. Whatever the cause, there are some simple troubleshooting steps to try.

Person outside at night backing up an iPhone to iCloud
Dong Wenjie / Getty Images

How to Fix iCloud Backup Errors in iOS

If you receive the error, "The last backup could not be completed," try these troubleshooting steps, which range from simple fixes to more advanced adjustments.

  1. Make sure iCloud Backup is enabled. It's possible that your iCloud Backup setting isn't enabled correctly. Check the Settings app on the iOS device and make sure iCloud Backup is turned on.

  2. Connect the device to Wi-Fi and a power source. iOS devices run an automatic iCloud backup at night only if the devices are connected to Wi-Fi and a power source. Make sure the device is plugged into a wall outlet at night and check that it's connected to Wi-Fi and in range of the Wi-Fi network.

  3. Ensure you have iCloud storage. One of the most common reasons for an iCloud backup to fail is because you ran out of iCloud storage. Apple includes a small amount of iCloud storage space for free, but most users require more space over time. Check your storage space and increase it if necessary.

  4. Make sure the iOS device has enough storage. When an iOS device's local storage is filled to the brim, it has trouble completing basic tasks, such as backing up the device to iCloud. Check the available device storage and see if it has a minimum of 1 GB of free space. Free up space on your device if necessary.

  5. Sign out of iCloud and then sign back in. Sign out of your iCloud account, and then immediately sign back in. This can sometimes fix any lingering issues with iCloud.

  6. Check the Apple System Status page. If your iCloud backup fails, it might be a problem on Apple's end. Check the Apple System Status page to make sure iCloud Backup isn't experiencing issues.

  7. Contact Apple iCloud support. If no other troubleshooting steps solved the iCloud backup error, check out the Apple iCloud support page. This page covers a variety of help topics that are delivered through phone, chat, and email support. There's also an Apple Community where you can submit a question and get help.

    If you prefer in-person help, make an appointment with the Genius Bar at your nearest Apple Store.