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iGBHow-toWhy are pictures not downloading in iMessage and how to fix it?

Why are pictures not downloading in iMessage and how to fix it?

Many people send pictures in online communications since they’re better at conveying messages than text. However, it can be super frustrating when you can’t download pictures someone sent you in iMessage on your iPhone, as it can disrupt the flow of your conversations.

But why does this happen, and what can you do about it? Let’s look at the most common reasons behind this annoying issue and the fixes you can try to troubleshoot it.

Why are pictures not downloading in iMessage?

If pictures aren’t downloading in iMessage on your iPhone, it’s often due to network-related issues. However, other factors, like incorrect settings, glitches in iMessage, or low storage space, can also sometimes cause this issue.

How to fix pictures not downloading in iMessage on iOS 17

Now that you’re familiar with the common causes that could prevent you from downloading pictures in iMessage on your iPhone, here are some tried and tested ways to fix this.

  1. Check internet connection
  2. Ensure iMessage is enabled
  3. Free up storage on your iPhone
  4. Restart your iPhone
  5. Reset Network Settings

1. Check internet connection

A stable and reliable internet connection is crucial for downloading pictures or any other file shared in iMessage (or any other app, for that matter). If you suspect a poor internet connection to be the culprit on your device, you should try switching between Wi-Fi and cellular data to see if one offers a stable connection to download the pictures you’ve received.

Ensure your iphone is connected to wi fi or cellular data

If switching between Wi-Fi and cellular data doesn’t help, you may want to try toggling Airplane Mode on and off to refresh cellular and Wi-Fi connections on your iPhone.

Turn on off Airplane Mode from iPhone Settings

2. Ensure iMessage is enabled

Besides network issues, misconfigured iMessage settings is another common reason for your iMessage picture not downloading. As such, you must check the iMessage settings on your iPhone and see if that fixes the problem.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and toggle on iMessages.

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

If iMessage is enabled already, you can toggle it on and off again to fix glitches. However, if it’s toggled off and you cannot toggle it on, our guide on how to fix the iMessage Activation error should help.

3. Free up storage on your iPhone

As we mentioned earlier, you may be unable to download pictures sent through iMessage if you’re running low on storage capacity. Hence, it makes sense to check if you have enough free space available on your iPhone to store the new pictures.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Navigate to GeneraliPhone Storage.
  3. Check the storage capacity available on your iPhone.


If you’re running out of storage, you must offload all the unused apps or delete unnecessary files on your iPhone before trying to download the pictures again. Additionally, you can refer to our guide on how to free up storage on your iPhone to know how to do it correctly.

4. Restart your iPhone

Temporary software glitches in iOS can often lead to unusual problems, like when the Tap to Download button isn’t working for images in iMessage. Luckily, you can resolve most of these software glitches by just restarting your iPhone.

If you’re new to the iPhone, our guide on how to restart an iPhone can help.

5. Reset Network Settings

Restarting your iPhone can resolve most network-related issues that might prevent you from downloading pictures in iMessage. But if that doesn’t work, your best bet will be to reset Network Settings on your iPhone to their default state.

  • Resetting the network settings will delete the saved Wi-Fi networks, existing Bluetooth pairing, and any custom VPN or APN preferences.

If you’re still facing issues after resetting your network settings, you may have encountered a bug, which you can try fixing by installing the most recent iOS update on your iPhone.

Wrapping up…

By following the steps outlined above, you should be able to fix the annoying issue preventing you from downloading pictures in iMessage on your iPhone and enjoy uninterrupted communication with your friends and family. The key is to try the fixes in the order we’ve listed them, starting with the simplest fixes, like checking your internet connection and iMessage settings, and then moving to advanced steps, like resetting network settings.

If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments section, and we’ll respond to you.

More iPhone troubleshooting guides:

  • Ayush

    Ayush is a writer with a keen interest in consumer technology and the Apple ecosystem. He has over three years of working experience at several big-name publications, including Guiding Tech, TechPP, and MobiGyaan. Here at iGeeksBlog, he specializes in crafting how-to guides, buying guides, and editorials related to all things Apple.

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  • Yash Wate

    Yash is a tech journalist and writer based in India. He has five years of experience writing features, how-tos, and reviews for various online publications. As an editor at iGeeksBlog, Yash's job is to ensure the articles are polished and suitable for publication. You can also read his work on How-To Geek, MakeUseOf, and TechPP.

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