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How to fix iPhone not sending pictures issues

Sometimes, iOS just doesn’t want to cooperate. You try to send a photo to your friend, colleague, or family member, but you get a “Not Delivered” alert in return.

If your iPhone won’t send pictures, it’s likely due to one of a few main suspects. Here’s how to identify and solve the problem in a few quick steps.

Why can’t I send or receive pictures on my iPhone?

If you’ve come face to face with this error, you’re not alone; several users have reported the same problem on the Apple Forum.

There are a number of reasons why you may be unable to send or receive picture messages on your iPhone. So, before we move on to the potential fixes, here are some common reasons behind this issue:

  • Errors related to the Messages app or the network settings
  • Network-related issues on Apple’s or the carrier’s end
  • Insufficient storage capacity for storing new images
  • Software-related bugs in iOS or your Apple ID

Now that you have a general understanding of the likely causes, here are the solutions.

15 Ways to fix iPhone not sending pictures

Whether you’re unable to send a photo attachment in iMessage or receive images in MMS format, one of the following solutions will help your iPhone get back on track.

  1. Make sure iMessage is enabled
  2. Enable MMS for Messages
  3. Check network connection
  4. Check if the recipient has iMessage
  5. Try sending it to a different contact
  6. Check the file size
  7. Check iPhone storage
  8. Restart Messages app
  9. Clear your iMessage cache on iPhone
  10. Check iMessage’s System Status
  11. Disable Wi-Fi Assist
  12. Sign out of your Apple ID
  13. Install Carrier Updates
  14. Update iOS
  15. Reset Network Settings

1. Make sure iMessage is enabled

The Messages app sends different types of messages: SMS/MMS and iMessage. iMessage lets you send text, photos, and videos to other Apple devices via cellular data or Wi-Fi.

That said, your iPhone can’t receive or send pictures if iMessage isn’t turned on to begin with. To turn iMessage on, go to Settings → Scroll down to Messages → Toggle on iMessage. Also, tap Send & Receive and select the number to use in Messages.

Go to Settings, Tap on Messages, and Turn on iMessages

2. Enable MMS for Messages

You can still send images to non-Apple users through MMS messaging. MMS uses the same technology as SMS to send and receive multimedia content. But you must have an active cellular service plan.

  1. To enable MMS Messaging on your iPhone, go to SettingsMessages.
  2. Turn on MMS Messaging.

If you don’t see this option, your carrier might not support it. If you’ve seen the option before but it’s not there now, here’s what to do if the MMS Messaging option is missing on your iPhone:

  • Remove the SIM card and reinsert it.
  • Have someone send you an MMS message.
  • Ask your carrier to send you MMS message settings.

3. Check network connection

iMessage requires a stable Wi-Fi or cellular connection to send media files like images and videos. The app might struggle to send any files if your network connection is poor or unstable.

So, try disabling your cellular data, restart your iPhone, and then enable cellular data again. You can also use Wi-Fi or toggle Airplane mode on/off to have a more stable network connection.

4. Check if the recipient has iMessage

If you’re sure your iMessage is activated and working well, the next step is to check if the person you’re sending an image to has iMessage.

iMessage only works with Apple devices, so if your text messages go seamlessly as green message bubbles, the recipient may be a non-Apple user. In that case, try using iMessage alternatives to send your pictures instead.

5. Try sending it to a different contact

To check if the issue is limited to a particular contact and is not an iMessage issue, try sending an iMessage to another Apple user. If it works, then the problem is with the contact.

Here are some potential reasons why you can’t send pictures from your iPhone to another user via iMessage:

  • iMessage is turned off on the recipient’s device.
  • iMessage is temporarily unavailable on their device.
  • You have the wrong contact number.
  • Your contact changed their number.
  • Your connection is using a different device.

6. Check the file size

Check your file size by going to Photos, selecting the image, and swiping up to see the metadata. The maximum file size for iMessage attachments is 100MB.

If the file size is too large, reduce the image’s file size first. Also, you may send lower-quality images automatically,

  1. Go to SettingsMessages.
  2. Scroll down and toggle on Low Quality Image Mode.

    Go to messages toggle on low quality image mode on iphone

7. Check iPhone storage

A full iPhone storage will prevent you from receiving pictures on your iPhone.

To check your storage, go to SettingsGeneraliPhone Storage.


Check out our guide on clearing up iPhone storage for tips on saving storage space.

8. Restart Messages app

As simple as this sounds, force quit the app can help fix glitches and bugs that might be the reason why you can’t send or receive pictures on your iPhone.

Swipe up from your iPhone’s Home screen to open the App Switcher, find the Messages card, and swipe up on it to force quit Messages. Then, wait for a few seconds and relaunch the Messages app.

Force quit the messages app

9. Clear your iMessage cache on iPhone

Sometimes, clearing your iMessage cache can solve the problem. To do so:

  1. Go to SettingsGeneraliPhone StorageMessages.
  2. Here, you’ll see the items that take up space on your Messages app.
  3. You can see large attachments and delete them manually or enable Auto Delete Old Conversations to delete messages and attachments you sent or received over a year ago.

10. Check iMessage’s System Status

There’s also a chance that it’s a server issue on Apple’s end. Visit Apple’s System Status page to see if iMessage’s server currently works well.

11. Disable Wi-Fi Assist

Another feature that might cause problems, especially if you’re trying to send large files, is the Wi-Fi assist feature. This automatically switches to cellular data when it detects a poor Wi-Fi connection.

However, your cellular data might be insufficient to send the picture files over iMessage, leading to the “Not Delivered” error.

  1. Go to SettingsCellular.
  2. Scroll down and toggle off Wi-Fi Assist.

    Mobile servce toggle off wi fi assist

12. Sign out of your Apple ID

Signing out and signing back into your Apple ID may help reset any connection error that prevents your iPhone from sending and receiving pictures. To do so:

  1. Open Settings → Tap your name.
  2. Scroll down and tap Sign Out → Enter your password.

    Sign out of apple id on iphone

After a few minutes, sign back in and check if your iPhone still isn’t sending any pictures. If it’s not, you may need to install a carrier update.

13. Install Carrier Updates

Your carrier service releases occasional updates to improve cellular usage on your iPhone. You may face the problem of an iPhone not sending picture messages if you don’t update your iPhone to its latest carrier settings.

Go to SettingsGeneralAbout. If updates are available, you will see a popup asking you to update the settings. If not, they’re up to date.

14. Update iOS

Apple consistently updates the iPhone’s software to ensure apps and features run smoothly. Using an outdated iOS might hinder app functionality, particularly when interfacing with other Apple devices running a more recent iOS version.

  1. To update iOS, SettingsGeneralSoftware Update.
  2. Tap Update Now if an update is available.

    Go to General, select Software update, tap on Update Now

15. Reset Network Settings

If this is a sudden issue, there may be an issue with some cellular settings on your iPhone. Resetting your Network Settings may help fix the problem.

Note: Write down or save your Wi-Fi passwords since resetting your network settings will reset all Wi-Fi networks and passwords, including VPN and APN settings and cellular settings.

  1. Go to SettingsGeneral.
  2. Tap Transfer or Reset iPhone → Select Reset.
  3. Tap Reset Network Settings.
  4. Enter your passcode to confirm → Tap Reset Network Settings.


Wrapping up…

These were all the possible ways to fix an iPhone that won’t send picture messages. We hope one of them helped you resolve it.

If none of the above solutions worked, the underlying problem may be more complex and could be a hardware issue. In this case, it’s best to contact Apple Support for professional assistance.

Read more about iMessage:

  • Marcus

    Marcus Mears III is a lifelong technology enthusiast with half a decade of experience developing prose that keeps readers in the know. With hundreds of reviews, buying guides, and how-to explainers across a number of tech and lifestyle publications like How-To Geek, MakeUseOf, and iGeeksBlog, Mears’ work helps readers around the globe learn to make the most of their devices and software. He uses a 2016 MacBook Pro as his daily driver laptop and a self-built Windows PC for gaming and productivity.

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