12 solutions to fix iCloud files not downloading on iPhone and iPad

Are you trying to download your stored iCloud files inside the Apple Files app, but it keeps failing? This can happen due to minor things like an inconsistent internet connection or something significant that requires a reset. In this troubleshooting guide, we show you what to do if files aren’t downloading from iCloud onto your iPhone or iPad.

Download iCloud files on iPhone

A word about iCloud files

iCloud is one service that stores many types of data like contacts, reminders, calendar events, health data, iMovie projects, photos, videos, and more. You can access these files inside the respective apps (or iCloud.com). For example, to access your iCloud contacts, go to the Contacts app. To access your iCloud Photos, you can use the Photos app or a web browser, and to access your iMovie projects stored in iCloud, open iMovie on a device where you’re signed in to your Apple ID.

Besides that, Apple also offers you a general cloud storage service called iCloud Drive, which is like Google Drive or Dropbox. In iCloud Drive, you can upload and save your files, documents, media, and anything else you like. Things you upload and store in iCloud Drive can be accessed inside the iOS Files app or web browser.

In this tutorial, we will focus on understanding what to do if the files stored in iCloud Drive aren’t downloading.

1. Make sure Wi-Fi is working

Open Safari or the YouTube app and try to visit a website or play a video. See if it works or not. In case it doesn’t, fix the Wi-Fi issues.

2. Turn on cellular data for the Files app and iCloud Drive

If you aren’t using Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi isn’t working, you can use cellular data to download iCloud files. But first, follow these steps to ensure cellular data is appropriately enabled:

  1. Open Settings and tap Cellular.
  2. Scroll down and make sure the switches for Files and iCloud Drive are enabled.
Enable cellular for iCloud Drive and Files

See if needed: How to fix cellular data not working on iPhone or iPad

3. Enable and disable Airplane mode

Open the iPhone Control Center or the Settings app. From here, enable Airplane mode and wait for about 15 seconds. After that, turn off Airplane mode and go to the Files app. You should have no trouble downloading iCloud files now.

Airplane mode on and off on iPhone

4. Ensure iCloud Drive shows in the Files app

Inside the Files app, tap Browse once or twice to see all the added locations. Here, you should see iCloud Drive at the top. In case you don’t, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the three dots icon from the top right and choose Edit.
  2. Enable the toggle for iCloud Drive and select Done.
Enable iCloud Drive in iOS Files app

Now tap iCloud Drive to see all your files and folder stored in iCloud. From here, you can access the required media.

Related: How to use Google Drive, Dropbox, etc., in Files app on iPhone and iPad

5. Restart your iPhone or iPad

If you have followed the above fixes and are still unable to download files from iCloud, go ahead and turn off your iPhone. After waiting for a minute, switch it on. Next, go to the Files app, and iCloud files should download and appear for viewing or sharing.

6. Check iCloud’s server status

iCloud is integrated deeply into iOS and often works well. However, sometimes the problem may not be from your end but Apple’s. To check, head over to their System Status page and make sure the options related to iCloud, like iCloud Drive and iCloud Web Apps, have a green dot next to them. In case there is a temporary problem, you’ll see a yellow or red shape. Apple usually fixes these quickly, but you’ll have to wait while they are at it.

7. Disable and re-enable iCloud Drive

  1. Open the Settings app and tap your name from the top.
  2. Tap iCloud.
  3. Turn off iCloud Drive.
  4. Restart your iPhone.
  5. Follow steps 1 & 2 and enable iCloud Drive.
Disable and enable iCloud Drive on iPhone

Now, open the Files app and go to the iCloud Drive location to see, download, and use your iCloud files.

8. Update your iPhone or iPad

If you’re on an old version of iOS, please consider updating your iPhone before moving to the remaining solutions. To do that, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

9. Reset iPhone network settings

At times, files may not download from iCloud due to random network issues, and the most effective way to fix that is by resetting your iPhone’s network settings. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  2. Tap Reset > Reset Network Settings and confirm.
Reset Network Settings iPhone

10. Delete and reinstall the Files app

  1. Go to iPhone Settings > General and tap iPhone Storage.
  2. Scroll down the list and tap Files.
  3. Choose Delete App and confirm.
  4. Restart your iPhone.
  5. Redownload the Files app from the App Store.
Delete Files app from iPhone

After this, access your iCloud Drive section, and you should see your files and be able to download them.

11. Sign out of iCloud and sign in again

Still facing issues with files in iCloud? Go ahead and sign out of your iCloud account/Apple ID on the iPhone or iPad where you’re having this problem. After signing out, restart your iPhone and sign in again. Once that’s done, your iCloud files should download without problems. Here’s a tutorial to help: How to sign out of iCloud or Apple ID and sign in again.

12. Reset all iPhone settings

If iCloud files are still not appearing and showing inside the Files app, go ahead and reset all iPhone settings. This will erase all the settings you have ever changed and bring them to the default configuration. Once that’s done, your iCloud Drive issues should be fixed.

Reset All Settings iPhone

Access iCloud Drive files via a web browser

Finally, if nothing worked for you, and downloading files is essential, try using a web browser instead of the Files app.

Tip: I recommend using Safari as it will let you sign in simply using Face ID or Touch ID (You won’t have to enter your Apple ID password).

  1. Go to iCloud.com and sign in.
  2. Select iCloud Drive.
  3. From here, tap the file (like PDF) to open it. To download, tap the share icon and choose Save to Files. After that, pick a location inside On My iPhone and save it there. You can access this downloaded file inside the Files app.
Access iCloud Drive in iPhone web browser

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