Unable to Load Photo on iPhone? Try These Fixes

If your iPhone is displaying the error “Unable to Load Photo”, you probably can’t view photos or videos when you open the Photos app.

Fortunately, this can be a relatively easy problem to fix. We’ll go through all the possible reasons why your iPhone is unable to load photos and how to fix the problem. 

1. Restart Your iPhone

A temporary system failure may cause an “Unable to Load Photo” error on iPhone. Sometimes your Photos app fails to start correctly due to some reasons. 

Restarting iPhone fixes many issues, and almost all temporary errors will be resolved after rebooting. Restarting your iPhone gives your device a fresh start and empties the RAM.

To restart your device, follow the steps below: 

For iPhone X and later:

  1. Press and hold the Volume Up or Volume Down button and Side/Power button.
  2. Drag the slider to power off your device and wait at least 10 seconds.
  3. Press and hold the Side/Power button until the Apple logo appears.

For iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, 6, and 6 Plus.

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button.
  2. Drag the slider to power off the device and wait at least 10 seconds.
  3. Press and hold the Side/Power button until the Apple logo appears.

2. Check iPhone/iCloud Storage 

If you get Unable to Load Photos on your iPhone and cannot access your gallery or iCloud photos, you should check the available storage on your device. 

When your iPhone storage is full, it can block you from opening and loading high-resolution photos.

It is recommended to store all your photos on iCloud and upgrade your plan to iCloud+ because iCloud has 5GB of free storage by default, and you need to expand the capacity. 

If you’re not a fan of iCloud, there’re more options out there for you. We’ve curated a list of the best cloud storage services out there to help you figure out which one you should use.

Anyway, follow the steps below to check your iPhone storage:

1. First, head to the Settings app.

Open settings app
Go to Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. Open General.

General Menu in Settings
Go to General. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Tap on iPhone Storage.

iPhone storage
iPhone Storage in General. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Check how much free space you have on your iPhone. 

Checking storage space
iPhone storage. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

To check iCloud storage:

1. Open Settings.

Open settings app
Go to Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. Tap on your name.

Tap on your name in Settings app-1
Tap on your Apple ID. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Open iCloud.

iCloud in Apple ID
Select iCloud. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Check how much free space you have on iCloud.

iCloud storage
Check iCloud Storage space. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

5. If you don’t have enough space, go to Manage Storage and change your storage plan to iCloud+.

3. Exit and Re-open Photos App

Sometimes apps crash and the Photos app is no exception. One of the simple yet effective ways to fix the Unable to Load Photos error on iPhone is to force-quit the app and relaunch it. 

For iPhone X and later:

  1. Swipe up the gesture area at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Then, move your finger to the center of the page until you see the multitasking interface.
Multi-tasking menu
iPhone photos. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Swipe right or left to find the Photos app and swipe upwards to close the app.

For iPhone SE 2020 and earlier (with the Home button):

  1. Double-tap on the Home button to activate the multitasking interface.
  2. Find the Photos app and swipe upwards to close it. 

4. Turn off Low Data Mode

Turning on Low Data Mode limits data usage on your iPhone, and it may affect downloading photos and file synchronization. 

When you encounter this error, turning off Low Data Mode to use data at its full strength and capacity is best. 

To turn off Low Data Mode, follow these steps:

1. Go to Settings

Open settings app
Go to Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. Open Cellular.

Celluar in Settings
Tap on Cellular. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Go to Mobile Data Options.

4. Turn Low Data Mode off.

Disabling low data mode
Disable Low Data Mode. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

If you use a Wi-Fi network, follow the steps below:

1. Go to Settings.

2. Open Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi
Head to the Wi-Fi option. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Go to Wi-Fi settings.

Wi-Fi settings
Go to Wi-Fi details. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Turn off Low Data Mode.

Turning off Wi-Fi low power mode
Disable Low Data Mode. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

5. Enable Cellular Data for Photos

If you want to open an iCloud link for a photo, you must have an internet connection to download the photo.

Unable to Load Photo may appear on your iPhone if you restrict your iPhone to using Wi-Fi exclusively.

Therefore, you need to allow cellular data to download and synchronize files and photos. Follow the steps below:

1. Open Settings.

2. Go to Photos.

Photos in Settings
Go to Photos. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Select Cellular Data.

Cellular data in Photos
Choose Cellular Data. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Turn on Cellular Data.
Enabling Cellular Data in Photos
Enable Cellular Data. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

In addition to the Cellular Data option for downloading and synchronizing photos and videos, Unlimited Updates is another feature that allows your device to upload and download photos and videos without any limitation. You can turn it on after you activate Cellular Data.

6. Turn off Low Power Mode

Low Power Mode on your iPhone may have automatically activated when your device’s battery is about to die.

When enabling this feature, Apple warns you that the Low Power Mode may affect some features and slow them down or turn them off. This will also pause downloading and synchronizing iCloud photos. 

If you encounter an Unable to Load Photos error, you can try turning off the Low Power Mode and check if the problem has been resolved or not. To do this follow the steps below:

1. Open Settings.

iPhone Settings App
Head to the Settings app. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. Then, choose Battery.

Battery in Settings
Select Battery. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Turn off Low Power Mode.

Battery low power mode
Disable Low power Mode. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

7. Delete and Recover Photo 

Sometimes broken and incomplete downloads may cause an ‘Unable to Load Photo’ error on iPhone. If you think this is the problem, delete the photo or video and recover it in the Recently Deleted folder or from iCloud. 

1. Open the Photos app in Settings.

2. Long-press the photo (or video) and tap Delete from Library

Deleting photo from library
Delete photo. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. After that, select Delete Photo.

4. Choose Album from the bottom of the page in the Photos app.

5. Scroll down the page and open Recently Deleted.

Recently deleted album
Go to the Recently Deleted section. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

6. Long-press on the deleted photo and tap on Recover.

7. Now, go back to your photos and check to see if the issue has been fixed.

8. Sign Out of Your iCloud Account and Sign Back In

A problem with your phone or Apple’s servers could cause your phone to lose access to all of your data, including photos on iCloud.

Logging out and logging back into your iCloud account can fix this problem. Here’s how to do it:

1. Open Settings

2. Tap on your name.

3. Scroll down the page and tap Sign Out.

Sign out option in Apple ID settings
Select Sign out. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Then, tap on Sign Out of iCloud.

Signing out of iCloud
Tap on Sign out of iCloud. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

5. Now, log back in by tapping the Apple ID.

6. Enter your username and password.

9. Deactivate Storage Optimization for Photos

The Optimize iPhone Storage feature allows your device to store high-quality photos and videos to iCloud only and keep the low-resolution images on iPhone local storage. 

If Optimize iPhone Storage is turned on, downloading high-quality photos may fail due to the limit it applies. Turning this feature off may help you fix the problem. 

This is unusual, but it may cause the issue. Follow the steps below:

1. First, head to Settings.

2. Tap on Photos.

Photos in Settings
Go to Photos. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Next, choose Optimize iPhone Storage.

Note that, if you disabled iCloud Photos in your iPhone, you would not have Optimize iPhone Storage option. 

10. Update Your iOS

If you have problem loading photos or videos on your iPhone, your iOS version may be outdated and unable to synchronize iCloud Photos. Updating your iOS to the latest version may fix the issue.

1. Launch the Settings app. 

2. The, open General

3. Tap on Software Update.

Software update in General menu
Head to the Software Update menu. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

11. Use iCloud Official Website

Using iCloud.com is a temporary solution. However, if everything else fails and you need to access your photos, you can use the iCloud website to open the Photos app on your laptop or Mac with your Apple ID.

1. Open www.icloud.com

2. Enter your Apple ID and Password.

3. Click on Photos. 

12. Contact Apple Support

If the Unable to Load Photos error on your iPhone still appears after trying all the above-mentioned solutions, you should make a Genius Bar reservation.

They will get in touch with you via iMessage and ask you for all the information needed to solve your problem. 

Conclusion

The “Unable to Load Photo” error on your iPhone may cause for different reasons. Whatever the cause, the solutions listed above should help you in resolving the issue.

Low Power Mode is a common culprit, so make sure you’ve deactivated it before trying more sophisticated solutions.

If you know of any other troubleshooting methods for getting your iPhone to load photos again, feel free to let us know via the comment section below.  

For the past 7 years, Farhad has been tinkering with phones, laptops, power banks, etc. When he's not writing, he's devouring info about new products launch.

Leave a Comment

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our comment policy, and your email address will NOT be published nor shared.