iCloud backup larger than data uploaded. How?

Morac

Well-known member
Jan 31, 2010
136
0
16
Visit site
I had an iCloud backup of my iPad Pro which was taking up 4.2 GB of space according to the iCloud storage. That seemed a bit large since the iPad Pro was restored from a backup of a different iPad that was 3.5 GB, but whatever.

Today I ended up doing a backup, restore and restore from backup with iTunes on a Windows PC. Since I wanted to start a fresh iCloud backup, I deleted the existing one. About an hour later I kicked off a backup on the iPad. It finished in about 15 minutes and claimed the backup was 3.7 GB (despite originally estimating 4.2 GB). My Internet upload speeds are 10 Mbps, so there’s no possible way 3.7 GB could have been uploaded in 15 minutes. It would take at least 50 minutes to upload 3.7 GB. At most the backup could have uploaded 1 GB.

I’ve seen this in the past, where backups occur much too quickly to be the size icloud says they are. That leads me to ask, how is the backup larger than the data uploaded? I can only think of two possible explanations:

1. The backup data isn’t actually deleted when you delete it and iCloud just reused the existing backup data. This goes against what Apple claims.

2. iCloud can use data from the backup of one device in another. The backup of my iPad Air 2 likely has some of the same data as my new iPad Pro since that backup was restored. That doesn’t seem right either though.

3. The reported size is wrong and improperly “stealing” storage.

Does anyone know how iCloud backups work enough to explain this?
 
Last edited:

EdwinG

Ambassador
Mar 10, 2012
4,159
699
113
Visit site
I think the data might be compressed in transit between your device and Apple, and stored decompressed.
 

Morac

Well-known member
Jan 31, 2010
136
0
16
Visit site
No clue, it could be a number of things that would affect what it shows. Where do you see "estimated back up size"?

If you go to the iCloud storage and look at the backup for the device you are using, it gives you the next backup size, along with options to not backup data from specified apps.
 

Ledsteplin

Ambassador
Oct 2, 2013
50,466
727
108
Visit site
If you go to the iCloud storage and look at the backup for the device you are using, it gives you the next backup size, along with options to not backup data from specified apps.

Yeah, but that no longer shows anymore. Now, when I follow that "manage storage" path, it just goes to a screen offering to sell more storage. I think they changed it in iOS 12.
Wait, just went back and looked again. They put it in differently than it used to be. Thanks! I was looking for it where it used to be.
The "Next backup size" shown there never has been what it turns out to be. It's just an estimation. It's always been more than what it shows. There's no telling what the difference is. Mine currently says my next back up size is 2.91 gb after I turned some things off. If I can maintain close to that, I can stop paying the 99¢ for storage. We'll see.
 
Last edited:

Ledsteplin

Ambassador
Oct 2, 2013
50,466
727
108
Visit site
So after it showed my next back up was 2.91 gb, I deleted more stuff in Messages, notes, etc, then backed up. The back up size was 7.9 gb. I have work to do if I'm to get it below the free 5 gb. Weird I kept it withing 5 gb for 7 years, and now it's more difficult.
 

Tartarus

Ambassador
Feb 20, 2014
17,442
20
38
Visit site
So after it showed my next back up was 2.91 gb, I deleted more stuff in Messages, notes, etc, then backed up. The back up size was 7.9 gb. I have work to do if I'm to get it below the free 5 gb. Weird I kept it withing 5 gb for 7 years, and now it's more difficult.

More and more is getting saved to iCloud compared to a few years ago.
Deal with it.
 

Morac

Well-known member
Jan 31, 2010
136
0
16
Visit site
I’m also pretty sure there is stuff backed up that can’t be deleted since the size of my backup is a lot larger than the total of all the individual apps.
 

anon(50597)

Trusted Member
Dec 2, 2008
2,073
0
0
Visit site
So after it showed my next back up was 2.91 gb, I deleted more stuff in Messages, notes, etc, then backed up. The back up size was 7.9 gb. I have work to do if I'm to get it below the free 5 gb. Weird I kept it withing 5 gb for 7 years, and now it's more difficult.

How many devices?
 

Morac

Well-known member
Jan 31, 2010
136
0
16
Visit site
My iPhone 7 Plus”s backup is 1.1 GB. My iPad Pro is 4.1 GB. Neither contain photos or messages since I have iCloud photos and messages in iCloud enabled.

I have no idea why the iPad Pro backup is so large. I do have one app (DC Universe) that’s backing up it’s downloaded videos which equate to about 1.2 GB, but even with that the size seems large.

The iPhone’s backup used to be larger, but I wiped it and set it up as new back in October. Even before that though it was only around 2 GB.
 

Trending Posts

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
260,764
Messages
1,768,215
Members
441,265
Latest member
vber