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iPhone "Unable to update iCloud settings at this time" error iOS 13

jprez1980

macrumors newbie
Sep 22, 2009
8
7
First, I want to say thanks to the OP.

I am running into this exact same issue and it occurred after I factory reset my phone and updated to 13.6. I noticed the icloud/imessage issue around mid July and spent days trying different things. I finally stumbled upon your post about 5 days ago.

I've been in regular contact with Apple for about 2-2.5 weeks, sent log files, remote screen shared, provided image uploads, etc. Their answer to me was to create a new secondary Apple ID, that was essentially their final solution. I told them I don't accept that as an answer and do not want to manage a second ID and that it has worked fine for years. The engineer I've been working with simply stated "we appear to have reached the end of our troubleshooting path". I doubt I'll hear anything back from the engineer.

I also attempted to update to the latest version of iOS 14 public beta - problem still exists there.

One addtional observation, if you have a Mac and it's also using iMessages in the cloud, it appears to sync. However, attempting to go into preferences and unchecking imessages in the cloud, and selecting disable all devices returns the exact same error message that's present on iPhone.

My engineer claims to have never heard of this issue before (seems like they always say that), but based on this post it's fairly widespread and likely others have it but don't know it or won't know it until they reset their device is my guess. For those of you having the issue, I'd recommend filing a bug report for sure.
 
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Aquaporin

macrumors 6502
Jun 27, 2005
441
77
USA
First, I want to say thanks to the OP.

I am running into this exact same issue and it occurred after I factory reset my phone and updated to 13.6. I noticed the icloud/imessage issue around mid July and spent days trying different things. I finally stumbled upon your post about 5 days ago.

I've been in regular contact with Apple for about 2-2.5 weeks, sent log files, remote screen shared, provided image uploads, etc. Their answer to me was to create a new secondary Apple ID, that was essentially their final solution. I told them I don't accept that as an answer and do not want to manage a second ID and that it has worked fine for years. The engineer I've been working with simply stated "we appear to have reached the end of our troubleshooting path". I doubt I'll hear anything back from the engineer.

I also attempted to update to the latest version of iOS 14 public beta - problem still exists there.

One addtional observation, if you have a Mac and it's also using iMessages in the cloud, it appears to sync. However, attempting to go into preferences and unchecking imessages in the cloud, and selecting disable all devices returns the exact same error message that's present on iPhone.

My engineer claims to have never heard of this issue before (seems like they always say that), but based on this post it's fairly widespread and likely others have it but don't know it or won't know it until they reset their device is my guess. For those of you having the issue, I'd recommend filing a bug report for sure.
I have never had any luck troubleshooting bugs with Apple engineers. Many of these bugs have persisted 5+ years and I have no hope they’re going to try to fix them. This one, however, is an ecosystem breaking bug. If they don’t fix this, there is less barrier to jump to Android since the messages wouldn’t go to a new phone.
 

jprez1980

macrumors newbie
Sep 22, 2009
8
7
I have never had any luck troubleshooting bugs with Apple engineers. Many of these bugs have persisted 5+ years and I have no hope they’re going to try to fix them. This one, however, is an ecosystem breaking bug. If they don’t fix this, there is less barrier to jump to Android since the messages wouldn’t go to a new phone.

I'm probably in the minority here, but I totally agree - this "just works" and the "seamless cloud syncing of messages across all your devices" was a big selling point in the ecosystem. Me personally, I'll give it until the Note 20 Ultra is available for ordering. If it's not fixed by then, I'll explore that in more detail. For our family, we're paying for the increased icloud storage which needed to be increased because of iMessage, yet we can't utilize it properly and don't know if/when we willl be able to again. To add insult to injury, the system status page shows everything green too like there's no issue. Had this had a different status, I wouldn't have wasted days resetting, wiping, downloading and reconfiguring settings across multiple devices.

If you have multiple devices oh boy are you in for some fun. This past weekend I got a few messages on my apple watch, read them and intended to reply to them once I was back near my iPhone as they needed some lengthy replies. Got to my phone after the hike, and nope, no message there. Got home, logged into my laptop, message appeared. Replied to the message just fine but the entire thread never made it to the phone.
 

esposinos

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2020
19
5
Many of you have stated that this problem stems from the apple ecosystem. But it's different to me. because i only have one apple device. There is only one iphone and apple watch. And the problem continues resolutely. I will wait for the 30 days that continue after the beginning of the problem. I will contact apple again for my lost message data. if apple still can't find a solution... suing is also an option. :)
 
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jprez1980

macrumors newbie
Sep 22, 2009
8
7
Many of you have stated that this problem stems from the apple ecosystem. But it's different to me. because i only have one apple device. There is only one iphone and apple watch. And the problem continues resolutely. I will wait for the 30 days that continue after the beginning of the problem. I will contact apple again for my lost message data. if apple still can't find a solution... suing is also an option. maybe this could be a very good cause of compensation :)

Any idea when your 30 day clock started counting down from? I reset my iPhone the day iOS 13.6 was released, and I seem to recall (but am not certain) that it was released on 7/14. Assuming that is correct, my 30 day clock should count down to zero on August 13 - though I'd wait until August 15 to be safe. In my conversations with the engineers, they said it was unrelated to any 30 day counter as the request to delete messages and start the 30 day countdown was not submitted due to the error about being unable to change iCloud settings. They further proved that to me as there should have been an option to re-enable messages within those 30 days and that option was never presented. So at least in my case and from my conversation, the 30 day clock to delete never started - tho I will be checking Aug 15.
 
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esposinos

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2020
19
5
Any idea when your 30 day clock started counting down from? I reset my iPhone the day iOS 13.6 was released, and I seem to recall (but am not certain) that it was released on 7/14. Assuming that is correct, my 30 day clock should count down to zero on August 13 - though I'd wait until August 15 to be safe. In my conversations with the engineers, they said it was unrelated to any 30 day counter as the request to delete messages and start the 30 day countdown was not submitted due to the error about being unable to change iCloud settings. They further proved that to me as there should have been an option to re-enable messages within those 30 days and that option was never presented. So at least in my case and from my conversation, the 30 day clock to delete never started - tho I will be checking Aug 15.

it's just a hope. My thoughts on the 30-day period are entirely mine and I cannot prove it. hopefully it will be resolved soon
 

jprez1980

macrumors newbie
Sep 22, 2009
8
7
As an update, I heard back from an engineer about an hour ago. He said the issue is far more widespread and reports continue to come in. The engineers don't have a set date for resolution and that it likely will not be resolved in the next few days. It has nothing to do with iOS version (beta or otherwise) it has to do with a key/decryption issue which presents itself after a factory reset of the device has occurred. I'm not sure of the accuracy behind that but it seems to make sense.

What doesn't make sense is why the Apple System Status page shows services are normal...
 

Aquaporin

macrumors 6502
Jun 27, 2005
441
77
USA
As an update, I heard back from an engineer about an hour ago. He said the issue is far more widespread and reports continue to come in. The engineers don't have a set date for resolution and that it likely will not be resolved in the next few days. It has nothing to do with iOS version (beta or otherwise) it has to do with a key/decryption issue which presents itself after a factory reset of the device has occurred. I'm not sure of the accuracy behind that but it seems to make sense.

What doesn't make sense is why the Apple System Status page shows services are normal...
Joy. Thankfully I have on site backups.
 

A_Flying_Panda

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2017
135
42
I’m so glad I find this thread.
I even tried to delete every devices from my apple account and re sign in, still no luck.


also I’m having problem sync iCloud Keychain. It will sync but jus very slowly.
 

esposinos

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2020
19
5
Some users of iOS 14 developer beta 4 reported that the icloud sync issue continues. I think this is completely an issue in icloud account corruption.
 

Soldieronarms

macrumors newbie
Jul 23, 2009
5
2
I just created an account. I’m also having this problem and I’ve run out of solutions. I erased my phone multiple times and also spoke to Apple Senior Advisory for about an hour.
They are clueless about how to fix this issue.
 
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esposinos

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2020
19
5
Holly Cat! I'm still on 13.6 and and my messages are back. Go to iCloud enable messages sync on and do it. Probably with the new beta update also fixed icloud.
 
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Soldieronarms

macrumors newbie
Jul 23, 2009
5
2
Hello everyone! I’m glad to report that I just got home and I picked up my iPad Pro and realized all my iMessages are back! I plugged my iPhone and started a manual backup to the iCloud and all iMessages also synced to my phone! I did not toggle any switches and I had the messages in the cloud enabled the whole time.
my recommendation is to keep all switches enabled and be patient and wait for the cloud to fix the sync problem. I let it sit without changing settings more than 24 hours and it’s fixed!

i feel so relieved it’s amazing feeling!
 
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BBradac9

Contributor
Oct 13, 2007
24
1
I’m not seeing the constant Uploading to iCloud message on the bottom anymore but I’m only seeing message history back a couple months instead of a year on my other devices.
 

Otto Critz

macrumors newbie
Jul 31, 2020
5
4
they’ve fixed the issue with messages within iCloud
 

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amaze1499

macrumors 6502
Oct 16, 2014
354
232
I only have an apple device and this has icloud message sync issue for five days. All Apple services seem to work but I think there is a problem with apple side.

I got this issue since Mojave. Apple Support could not do anything about it. It seems messages is the cloud is just a useless feature that only consumes storage. When enabled, the devices never sync (I tried to leave it for months) when turned off, messages will be sent to all devices anyway. When trying to turn off Messages in the cloud on the devices there will always be an error "Cant update iCloud settings at this time"

As so many iCloud features, this is one better not to be used. After all, since the devices are not synchronised equally anyway, what's the point?
 
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