9 Fixes to iCloud Messages Not Syncing on iPhone/iPad/Mac

This guide will show you how to fix iCloud messages not syncing issue. Besides, an easy way to transfer messages across devices is also included.


By Lena / Updated on March 5, 2024

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Problem: iCloud Messages Not Syncing

iCloud provides an easy way to help users manage iOS data. Users can sync all important files to iCloud storage, or sync files to other devices. In the past, users could only sync iMessages across devices. But the situation has changed after the iOS 11.4 update: iCloud support for Messages has become a reality.

Icloud Messages

You can now turn on the Messages option to upload SMS/MMS messages to iCloud service and view the updated messages on all your devices. However, many users said that they meet the iCloud messages not working problem, for example:

  • iCloud messages not downloading,

  • iCloud messages not syncing across devices,

  • iCloud messages not syncing on Mac,

  • not all messages are syncing with iCloud,

  • ...

Have you encountered a similar situation? Don’t worry. Here in this guide, I'll tell you why iCloud Messages not syncing and help you to troubleshoot the problem.

Why Are My iCloud Messages Not Syncing?

Why won’t my text messages sync across devices? Why are my text messages not downloading from iCloud? Here are the main reasons for iCloud messages not syncing problem.

  • Incorrect settings.  You have not enabled Messages in iCloud on all devices.
  • iCloud server is down. The iCloud server may be down or under maintenance.
  • Poor Internet connection. The network is too poor to upload or download messages.
  • Not enough space. There is not enough iCloud storage space to store your messages.
  • iCloud account problem. Your device may not be properly linked to your iCloud account.

How to Fix iCloud Messages Not Syncing on iPhone/iPad/Mac

Below are some solutions that can help you fix the “iCloud Messages not working” issue. Try each method in turn until the problem is solved.

► For anyone who wants to transfer messages to new iPhone, you can move to the next part to get the method. Transfer selected messages from old iPhone to new iPhone directly - No need to wait for the iCloud sync.

Tip 1. Check Essential Settings

We should first check whether the basic settings are correct. Make sure you have logged in with the same Apple ID on all devices and the Messages is turned on on all devices.

Turn on Messages on iPhone: Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Toggle on Messages.

Tip 2. Reactive Messages Function

A reboot always helps solve minor glitches. You may try to turn off Messages and turn it on again. When you turn off the toggle, a popup window will appear, and you should tap Disable and Download Messages to confirm.

Tip 3. Check Apple System Status

When iCloud services are experiencing problems, you will meet iCloud messages not syncing issue. You can go to Apple System Status page (https://www.apple.com/support/systemstatus/) to see if the services are up. If iCloud service is down, you may wait for Apple to solve it.

Apple System Status

Tip 4. Sign Out and in iCloud Account

iCloud Messages not syncing issue will occur when there is something wrong with the iCloud account. You can try to sign out of your account on all devices and sign back in to see if that helps.

Tip 5. Ensure Two-Factor Authentication is Enabled

When users do not enable two-factor authentication, iCloud messages not syncing problem will happen. The truth is that you must enable two-factor authentication so that you can flip the switch on for Messages sync.

How to enable: Go to Settings > Go to your account > Tap Profile > Tap Password & Security > Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.

Turn on Two Factor Authentication

Tip 6. Make Sure Your Device is Connected to Wi-Fi Network

iCloud syncing requires a stable Wi-Fi connection. A poor Internet connection will cause iCloud messages not syncing/downloading issue. You may try to refresh the Wi-Fi connection.

Tip 7. Reset Network Settings

To troubleshoot connection issues of Wi-Fi, you can choose to reset network settings. It will reset network to default settings - delete Wi-Fi passcodes and Bluetooth-paired devices. Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhoneReset > Reset Network Settings > Enter your passcode to confirm.

Reset Network Settings on iPhone

It will wipe out the Wi-Fi passwords, so you need to rejoin the connection.

Tip 8. Delete Unimportant Messages

File size and Internet speed are two main factors that determine the time it takes to complete the sync. The larger the file, the longer it takes. It’s recommended to only sync important messages.

You can delete some unnecessary messages, photos, videos, etc. to speed up syncing process. Besides, it can also help you save iCloud storage space, after all, there is only 5 GB of free storage space.

You can delete unwanted messages in Messages app or you can go to Settings to make it.

1. Go to Settings > General > iPhone/iPad Storage > Messages.

2. Choose different sections like Photos, Videos, GIFSs & Stickers.

3. If you choose Photos, tap Edit button > select the pictures > tap the Trash button to delete them.

Delete Images from Messages Storage

Tip 9. Wait for More Time

The time it takes to sync messages depends on the file size and the Internet speed. If the message history is large, you will have to be more patient and wait for the process to complete successfully.

Bonus: An Easy and Quick Way to Transfer Messages Across Devices

The Messages Sync helps us back up messages and lets us access the messages on all devices. However, it does not work well all the time so you will meet the iCloud Messages not syncing issue. What’s worse, after you have tried all the methods, this problem may still not be solved. In this case, a third-party transfer tool is a better choice.

FoneTool, one professional iOS data backup & transfer tool is able to help you transfer SMS/MMS messages and iMessages between two iDevices, between iDevice and computer.
● Unlike iCloud sync, it lets you preview and select the messages you want to transfer.
● It allows you to create an image backup for your messages to save your storage space.

Take transfer messages from iPhone to iPad as an example to show you how to use this tool.

How to Transfer Messages from iPhone to iPad

Step 1. Download, install and launch FoneTool > Plug in the source iPhone > Enter passcode on iPhone.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

Step 2. Click Phone Backup > Choose Selective Backup and click Get Started > Choose Messages > Select the messages you want to transfer and click OK to confirm.

Select Messages

Step 3. Choose a place to save your messages > Click Start Backup.

Backup Messages

Step 4. Unplug source iPhone and connect target iPad to computer > Go to the Backup History screen > Click the Restore option > Click the Messages icon to confirm the messages that will be transferred to iPhone > Finally click Start Restore.

Restore to Device

● The backup can be restored to any iDevice and will not erase any existing data on the device.

enlightened By the way, FoneTool also provides an iCloud sand iCloud Drive data management. With it, you can download iCloud backups with a fast speed to other devices, upload data to your iCloud, or delete unuseful iCloud data easily.

The steps are simple enough: Navigate to FoneTool > Tap My iCloud > Log in with your Apple ID > Select Manage iCloud.

icloud messages not syncing


That’s all about how to fix iCloud messages not syncing/downloading on iPhone/iPad/Mac. If you still having trouble syncing messages, you can let FoneTool help you. It can help you transfer messages as well as contacts, photos, songs, and videos. Download FoneTool and discover more!