iCloud won’t work. What’s wrong?

Note: Apple has recently changed from iCloud to iCloud Drive on OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and iOS 8. These two storages can not be used at the same time, and documents can not be synced between them. Make sure to upgrade all your devices to iCloud Drive at the same time.

Several users have reported severe issues syncing documents with iCloud across different devices. Problems include single documents not syncing, being unable to open iCloud documents, devices becoming out of sync, etc. We suggest trying the following:

  1. Check iCloud is working on Apple’s System Status page (either iCloud Backup or iCloud Drive).
  2. Update the operating system and iA Writer on all your devices.
  3. Set the time automatically on all your devices:
    • Mac OS X: System Preferences > Date & Time > Set date and time automatically
    • iOS: Settings > General > Date & Time > Set Automatically
  4. For iA Writer for iPhone and iPad, check that the “Use iCloud” setting is ON in Settings > iA Writer (the Documents storage will have a small cloud icon when you use iCloud). If the setting is ON:
    • Turn the “Use iCloud” setting to OFF
    • Launch Writer and tap “Stop iCloud”
    • Return to Settings > iA Writer and turn the “Use iCloud” setting to ON again
    • Return to Writer and tap “Use iCloud”
  5. Check that you can see your iA Writer or iA Writer Pro iCloud documents listed in the iCloud settings ¹ :
    • iOS: Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage > iA Writer/iA Writer Pro
    • OS X: System Preferences > iCloud > Manage > iA Writer/iA Writer Pro
  6. For devices that are having problems, for iOS devices try turning “Documents & Data” in iCloud settings off, restarting, then turning it on, or for Macs unchecking “Documents & Data” in the iCloud preferences, restarting, then rechecking it. Restart an iOS device by holding down the power button for several seconds.
  7. If you haven’t already done so, try following the steps in our knowledge base article “Troubleshooting problems in Writer”.
  8. If the above steps fail to resolve syncing problems, log into https://www.icloud.com and Reset Your Documents, following the instructions carefully. This will reset and merge all documents and data on iCloud with what is currently on your devices, and requires your devices to be restarted afterwards.
  9. NOTE: Do not try this step if you are using iOS 8. Reports suggest it could cause data loss — please start a support discussion first. If you’ve tried all of the above suggestions but are still having problems, please back up your iOS device(s) using iTunes (using “Encrypt local backup”) or to iCloud, and your Mac devices to Time Capsule or an external hard disk, then prompt iCloud to refresh its Documents and Data metadata. To do this:
    • Reset all settings ² on your problematic iOS device(s) — note that this only resets system settings, not the device :
      1. Open “Settings”
      2. Tap “General”
      3. Tap “Reset”
      4. Tap “Reset All Settings”
      5. Confirm all warnings about loosing settings
      6. Let the device restart
    • Reset the Ubiquity folder on your problematic Mac(s):
      1. Quit open applications
      2. Go to Finder
      3. Choose “Go to Folder…” from the “Go” menu
      4. Enter ~/Library/Application Support
      5. Look for a folder named “Ubiquity”
      6. Move this folder to the Trash
      7. Restart your Mac
  10. Please confirm you have full internet access — corporate firewalls and privacy programs such as TCPBlock can block traffic to iCloud’s servers. Also, if you’ve turned “Use Cellular Data” off in Apple’s Settings > iCloud > Documents and Data or in Settings > iA Writer/iA Writer Pro, please turn it on.
  11. Finally, some users reported that backing up your iPad, restoring it, then reapplying the backup might finally get iCloud running. If backing up using iTunes, make sure to use “Encrypt local backup” to save your passwords.

We use Apple’s APIs for all Writer family apps to sync through iCloud, so all iCloud syncing and versioning is handled by Apple. That means there’s very little we can do about sync problems. However, we’re relieved to report that serious iCloud issues are now rare, and can almost always be fixed with the steps above.

If you’re still having problems or need any other assistance, please start a support discussion and we’ll do our best to help.

¹ The requirements to see documents here are:

  • iCloud is active and using the same Apple ID
  • iCloud > Documents & Data is turned on in the system’s settings
  • iCloud > Documents & Data > iA Writer/iA Writer Pro is turned on in the system’s settings
  • Your device is connected to the internet
    • Note that Settings > iA Writer/iA Writer Pro > Use Cellular Data must be turned on if you’re not connected to WiFi

If your device is managed by your company, they may have disabled Documents & Data syncing. In this case iCloud > Documents & Data won’t appear, and iCloud document syncing is not possible.

² Please note resetting all settings is not the same as resetting your device. Only basic system settings that you set in Settings.app are reset when doing this, like Wifi passwords, sound settings, wallpapers etc. All app- and service-specific settings (like mail, calendar, and Twitter accounts) remain untouched. You won’t lose any data, although we recommend backing up your device first (using the “Encrypt local backup” setting) to be safe. Encrypting the backup saves all your stored passwords.