I recently upgraded my iCloud storage plan to 50GB to accommodate my ~20GB photo library on my iPhone 6+ running iOS 9.0.1.

I then turned on iCloud photo Library and waited for the upload to begin. It seems to only be uploading anything when the screen is lit and the photos up is open.

I am judging this by the indicator of the number of photos remaining not changing and no network activity when the photos app isn't open.

Is this whats supposed to happen? I'll attach a screen shot of what its showing in settings > iCloud > photos

In the screen shot it will stay stuck on 3607, unless i open photos app.

Any ideas?

Thanks :)

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3 Answers 3


I'm having the same problem, except that no even opening the photos app makes the photos upload. They just won't. The iCloud > Photos tab on Settings just says "Low Disk Space - Uploading 20 photos" and it never shows a progress bar or anything. I have selected "Optimize iPhone Storage" because I'm obviously low on space.

My understanding is that you might need to clear some more space for the "optimization" to take place.

Open Settings App - under Storage & iCloud usage - compare the Used/Available numbers with Photos & Camera storage used currently. If you have less than 1 GB available, try clearing other data and then powering off and on the phone.

  • under Background App Refresh - consider turning that on before the restart above (or another restart) in case Photos respects the global refresh settings.

A more drastic measure might be clearing all photos and letting the phone try to start over with no photos, but depending on how large your library is, that might take some time and battery and network bandwidth to download.

  • Interesting. I'll edit this to make it more like an answer. Feel free to ask a follow on question if you need more help as well as are hoping to move this thread forward.
    – bmike
    Dec 4, 2015 at 14:05

I found that there was no way I could speed up the initial sync. I just had to wait and let it upload at its own pace. Even though I was getting now visual feedback from a progress bar, the photos were still slowly uploading

After the initial sync, when I take say 20 photos at an even, the next time I am connected to wifi I get the progress bar showing up in the settings app and the upload works as expected.

Seems to just be an issue with the initial upload of a large library


You need to free up space on your iPad or iPhone first. I read 300 Mb but found it was more. The size of the iCloud Library is irrelevant, it's the devices.

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