Massiv iCloud Backups from iPhone

Hi everyone, when looking at our iCloud family account recently I got curious as to why our 2TB were almost full; upon inspection I found out that my wife’s iPhone 8 (64GB) iCloud backup was 754GB in size (???). I have no idea how that is possible, but anyway. We decided to delete the backup and iCloud storage overview again showed to be expected values. After some days I activated iCloud backup for her iPhone again and now after some days again the iCloud storage again ballooned with her backup size now being 826GB in size :face_with_raised_eyebrow:. All our other devices have normal sizes I’d say with up to 10Gb for my 256GB iPhone and we have the same settings on all devices and normally don’t exclude any apps.

Has anybody experienced something like that themselves? Anybody with some ideas as to how reduce the backup size if deleting obviously didn’t seem to help?

Thanks a lot in advance.

I guess the first thing I would do is on the iPhone go to Settings → your account → iCloud → Manage Storage → Backups → Choose your iPhone, and you will see a long list that iCloud attempts to backup along with sizes. See if any of those listed are the cause.

If that doesn’t help, I’m out of ideas.

This sounds like it might be related.

iPhone 14 with recent transfer suddenly gets full. Frees the space after reset - Software - MPU Talk

Thank you for the suggestion, but the biggest App shows 3GB, second is 800MB and all others quickly fall way below 100MB; and with a total of 35 Apps this should not accumulate to much I’d say and also the next estimated backup size is said to be 286MB.

Thank you for the hint: if I understand that topic correctly though it’s more about the iPhone storage itself rather than the iCloud storage? My wife’s iPhone storage is at 59GB from 64GB which looks fine to me.

Is it those Apps, not Backup, causing the problem? Are they too big? why so big. growing in size for unknown reasons? Do you really need them in the backup? Is

She probably doesn’t need all apps backed up, but comparing it to my iPhone, my apps are much bigger with my DEVONthink backup being around 4,5GB alone and a couple others over 1Gb. Nevertheless my iPhones backup size is estimated at around 850MB. Therefore I’m not sure if the app size has something to do with it, but thank you for the idea.

What I really find interesting that deleting the backup and disabling it for a few days - so iCloud has a chance to settle a bit - didn’t really fix it?!

Those backup sizes are amazing. I have multiple devices backed up to my iCloud account, and none are over 15 GB

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Same, all other backups max out at around 9GB on all other devices, just her tiny iPhone creates over 800GB of backups - I have no idea.

To help get an idea, from the Apple list on the backup folder on her iPhone (described above), do the sizes shown there match the 800 GB total you see, and if so is the biggest apps misbehaving somehow or another?

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My guess is that “deleting” the iCloud backup doesn’t really delete it — it just marks that space as available in iCloud. Apple may have decided to do it this way in case you turn on backups again; that way, you don’t have to re-upload all of the data that hasn’t changed.

Clearly, something has gone wrong with the backup. Either it’s actually that large, or it’s reporting its size incorrectly.

Either way, Apple gives us limited tools to interact with iCloud, and no tools to fix it. I would definitely call Apple Tech support to have them fix it.

Also, I would be concerned that this backup is not viable and may not be able to restore the phone. If you can back it up to a computer ASAP.


I think this it. Space was marked as free, but backups were there --maybe for 30 days? After enabling backups a couple of days after seeing the newly available space, iCloud restored all backups so did not free anything.

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Thank you so much everyone for all the ideas. I went on a call with Apple but that support level wasn’t really helpful as he just suggested switching backup off and on again or setting up the iPhone again as new iPhone via Mac.

I then dabbled with the settings again and deselected some apps to be excluded from the backup - even though all apps together were only 1/100th of the supposed total backup. Either way, this dabbling must have provoked iCloud or the iPhone or both to reassess the backup and the backup finally went down again to a normal to be expected size of 6GB :blush:.
This has been steady for the last days and all seems to be fine again.

Nevertheless, as suggested I created a local backup of her iPhone in iTunes, Music, Finder … ah wherever :sweat_smile:. Better be save than sorry :see_no_evil: