8 Ways to Fix iCloud Photos Not Syncing on Your Mac

Discover solutions for iCloud photo syncing problems on Mac, from checking settings to removing duplicates and contacting Apple Support.

By Abhishek Chandel
New Update
8 Ways to Fix iCloud Photos Not Syncing on Your Mac

8 Ways to Fix iCloud Photos Not Syncing on Your Mac

Having issues getting your photos to sync properly between your Mac and iPhone via iCloud? Photos disappearing across devices or getting stuck while uploading? Don't panic - iCloud photo library sync failures are common, but can almost always be fixed with a few targeted troubleshooting steps. In this post, we'll walk through the top things you can try to get sync functioning again when iCloud photos won't sync on Mac.

1. Check iCloud Settings on Your Mac

The first step is to open System Settings on your Mac, then click on Apple ID, then click on the iCloud icon. In the iCloud settings screen, check that the box next to Photos is checked on. This enables your library to sync across devices through iCloud.

Also, check that Optimize Mac Storage is enabled. This option will store full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud while keeping smaller-resolution versions on your Mac to save storage space.

2. Verify iCloud Settings on iPhone/iPad

Don't forget to also verify the iCloud settings on your iOS devices. Open the Settings app, tap on your Apple ID banner at the top, then tap iCloud. Make sure the Photos option is enabled here so your iPhone and iPad will sync photos through iCloud.

While here, check your iCloud storage usage. Having a full or nearly full amount of storage can prevent proper syncing. Upgrade to a higher storage tier if needed.

3. Update Devices to Latest OS Versions

Keeping your devices up to date is important for ensuring compatibility with iCloud.

On your Mac, click on the Apple menu and select System Settings > General > Software Update. Install any macOS updates that are available.

On your iPhone or iPad, open Settings > General > Software Update. Download and install the latest version of iOS or iPadOS.

Updating to the newest releases helps resolve bugs that may interfere with iCloud photo syncing.

4. Sign Out and Update the iCloud App

On your Mac, open System Settings > tap on your Apple ID, and sign out of your iCloud account. Then sign back in and enable Photos again. This refreshes the connection.

Also, be sure to update the iCloud app for Mac to the latest release through the App Store. New versions often include fixes for sync issues.

5. Confirm Devices are Connected to the Internet

Of course, any internet connectivity problems will interrupt iCloud syncing. Make sure all your devices are connected to the internet through WiFi or cellular data. Try disconnecting and reconnecting if the upload seems stalled.

6. Use Gemini to Remove Duplicate Photos

Having duplicate copies of photos in iCloud can definitely confuse the syncing process. An app like Gemini for Mac by MacPaw allows you to scan your library and identify duplicate shots.

You can then delete the extra copies and keep just one version of each photo. Removing duplicates helps improve iCloud performance.

7. Restart Your Mac

One simple but effective troubleshooting step is to restart your Mac. Shut down your Mac completely, wait 30 seconds, then power it back on. Restarting will clear out any temporary glitches that may be preventing iCloud from syncing properly. Often a fresh reboot will allow the photo sync process to start working again.

Make sure to save any open documents and close all apps before restarting your Mac. This clears out the RAM and forces all programs to reopen fresh.

8. Contact Apple Support

If you still can't resolve the issues, Apple's support team may be able to investigate further into your iCloud account and offer troubleshooting tips. Give them a call or set up a support request at getsupport.apple.com.


By double-checking your settings, installing software updates, removing duplicates, and contacting Apple Support if needed, you can get iCloud photo sync working again. The key is methodically going through the possible causes, and taking time to troubleshoot each one. With a bit of time and diligence, you'll have your entire photo library properly accessible and staying up to date across all your Apple devices.

Explore more topics:

Latest Stories