How to fix 'Error setting up iCloud' on OS X and macOS

David Ludlow
12 Jul 2016
Unable to sign in to iCloud

If you've been unable to sign into iCloud using OS X or macOS, don't worry, the fix is easy

When you upgrade your Mac's OS (OS X or macOS), you'll be asked to sign into your iCloud account again. This usually works, but I've had an issue on two machines recently, getting an 'Error setting up iCloud' message, with the system unable to connect. Fortunately, the fix is pretty straightforward and works if you get this error message at the login screen or after you've logged in. If you're at the login screen, click the 'Skip this step' link to get the desktop.

1. Reset default Keychain

Open Spotlight (Apple+Space) and type 'keychain access' and select the Keychain Access app. This app is used to store your usernames and passwords, and is also synchronised with your other macOS and iOS devices. A problem with this app can cause iCloud login problems, but a reset can fix the issues. This will wipe all of your stored passwords but don't worry, as I'll show you how to restore them from iCloud. Click Preferences from the Keychain Access menu and then click Reset My Default Keychain. Enter your login password (not your iCloud password) when prompted and click OK, and you'll get a new dialog box telling you that an empty Keychain has been created. Click OK.

Reset macOS keychain

2. Re-enter your iCloud password

Go to System Preferences, iCloud and you should get an error message telling you that your computer can't connect to iCloud. Select the option to go to iCloud Preferences and then enter your iCloud password when prompted. Click the 'Verify your password' button and enter your iCloud password again. You'll now be signed in to your iCloud account.

Re-enter iCloud Password on macOS

3. Reconnect Keychain

Your iCloud Keychain will show as being connected, but to be safe, it's best to force the issue. Remove the tick from the Keychain box, and then click again to reselect the option. Enter your iCloud password again to verify your details. Click Request Approval: you'll get a pop-up message on another device, so just enter your iCloud password and your iCloud Keychain will work again.

Reconnect iCloud Keychain on macOS

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