How to turn on iCloud Photos when iOS says you can’t

An old iTunes synchronization is probably to blame for this problem.

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If you ever used iTunes on the Mac to sync photos and albums with iOS, you could have problems enabling iCloud Photos, Apple’s synchronization and backup options for images and videos captured in and imported into iOS and macOS.

icloud warning Apple

This situation can emerge as you switch from iTunes to iCloud sync in iOS. In Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos, when you tap the iCloud Photos switch to turn it on, you may see the message, “Photos sync from iTunes will be removed.” (Make sure at this step that you truly have copies of all those images, because proceeding will irreversibly delete them from your iPhone or iPad.)

Tap to remove them. At this point, iCloud Photos should start its sync. However, some people will see the error, “iCloud Photos could not be turned on. Try again later.”

Waiting doesn’t typically help. Instead, you have to tweak some iTunes settings to proceed:

  1. Connect your iOS device to your computer via USB.
  2. In iTunes, switch to the photos settings. Uncheck any selected photo album.
  3. Sync.

Now you should be able to complete turning iCloud Photos on.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Dave.

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