How to Enable Messages in iCloud and Fix Stuck Message Downloads

How to Enable Messages in iCloud on iOS

Bear in mind that iOS 11.4 or later must be running on your device for the feature to work.

  1. If you haven’t already, enable two-factor authentication on your Apple account.
  2. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  3. Tap your name in the banner at the top.
  4. Tap iCloud.
  5. Make sure the switch next to Messages is toggled to its green ON position.

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Messages storage consumption

To see how much storage space your texts and attachments are currently taking up on your device, go to Settings → General → iPhone Storage, then select Messages in the list.

Messages’ current storage consumption is shown next to Documents & Data.

Thanks to iOS’s smart caching and storage management, the on-device database is much smaller than the full iCloud archive. This is where you can review large attachments, too.

Many people will especially appreciate detailed st

Many people will especially appreciate detailed storage breakdown of their chats, photos, videos, GIFs, stickers and so forth. And with Apple’s artificially intelligent storage recommendations, users can quickly perform housekeeping actions specific to their particular situation.

As an example, if there are too many storage-hogging apps installed on a user’s device, iOS may offer to offload unused apps. Folks who prefer to keep full, storage-hogging archives of multi-year conversations on their device might see different recommendations advising them to delete large attachments or enable Messages in iCloud.

To get tips for how to save storage space on your

To get tips for how to save storage space on your iOS device, go to Settings → General → iPhone Storage and scroll to the section headlined Recommendations to see the available tips. The tips are updated dynamically, as your storage situation evolves over time.

Reasons to use Messages in iCloud

Are you’re the type who prefers to keep their entire messaging history for future reference?

If so, Messages sync is for you! Maybe you avoid performing a clean install when a major iOS update drops because there’s no easy way to preserve your Messages history? Hate having to restore your new devices from your old device’s backup just to have your message carried over? Just set up Messages in iCloud and with first sync done, you can basically set up any device as new, turn on Messages in iCloud settings and, voilà!—your entire conversation history is magically revived on a new, freshly installed iOS.

Messages in iCloud also results in smaller, faster iCloud backups.

That’s because only the most recent chats ge

That’s because only the most recent chats get pulled from your complete Messages archive in iCloud. As you scroll through older chats, Messages loads content on demand from iCloud. And just like with iCloud Photo Library, if you delete a chat here, it automatically disappears there, too!

As I mentioned earlier, among the key benefits of using this feature is knowing all your chats are safely synced through and backed up in iCloud. Should you happen to lose your iPhone or accidentally wipe out everything, a quick sign-in from another device is all it takes to—and it works surprisingly well!—basically stream your messaging history on demand in the Messages app in a storage-friendly manner.

Thumbs up to that!

Best of all, you needn’t give up your privac

Best of all, you needn’t give up your privacy and security when using this cool feature because Messages in iCloud keeps your exchanges end-to-end encrypted.

Here’s how to set up and use Messages in iCloud on your Apple devices.

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What to Do if Downloading Messages From iCloud Gets Stuck


When you enable Messages in ‌iCloud‌, your device will start downloading messages from other devices. This should only take a few minutes, but some users have reported that it can take hours, or otherwise go on indefinitely as if it’s stuck. If you encounter this problem, here are a few things you can try to resolve it.

  • Check that Apple’s ‌iCloud‌ servers are operating normally. You can find out the status of Apple’s services by going to the System Status website.
  • Double-check that all your devices are logged into the same ‌Apple ID‌ / ‌iCloud‌ account.
  • Disable Messages in ‌iCloud‌, then re-enable it.
  • Restart your devices.
  • On your devices, sign out of ‌iCloud‌, wait a minute or two, then sign back in again. To log out on iOS, open the Settings app, tap the banner with your name at the top, scroll down and tap Sign Out. On Mac, open System Preferences, click the iCloud pane, then select Sign Out.

With Messages in ‌iCloud‌ enabled, you’ll probably want to be more careful when it comes to deleting messages, as once they’re gone on one device, they’re gone on all your devices. You’ll get a confirmation prompt when deleting entire threads of messages, but individual messages don’t offer this prompt, so that’s just something to keep in mind.

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Turn off Messages in iCloud

When you turn off Messages on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, you can choose to turn off Messages in iCloud for just that device or all of your devices. Any device where Messages in iCloud is still turned on continues to store what you send and receive from that device in iCloud.

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Go to Settings. Tap [your name] > iCloud. Turn off Messages.

On your Mac

Open Messages. In the menu bar, choose Messages > Preferences. Click iMessage. Deselect the checkbox next to Enable Messages in iCloud.

If you turn off Messages in iCloud on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch your message history will be included in a separate iCloud backup. If you set up an Apple Watch for a family member, Messages in iCloud is the only way to back up messages. 

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