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[Fixed] iMessage Photos Not Loading/Showing in 2024

Home > HowTos > Troubleshooting Tips Updated by Robert on May 29, 2024 | Approved by Jennifer Allen

The iPhone's iMessage app is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's a fantastic way to communicate with fellow Apple users, packed with features like stickers, reactions, and the ubiquitous 'Tap to snap.' However, when things go south, it's a maze trying to figure out what went wrong. One particularly frustrating issue is when the iMessage photos not showing suddenly, leaving a trail of broken conversations in their wake.

In this in-depth guide, we'll explore why can't I see pictures on iMessage and provide step-by-step solutions to mend this disconcerting digital breach. Whether a casual user or an iPhone enthusiast, these troubleshooting tips will help restore image-centric harmony in your iMessage chats.

Why Can't I See Pictures Sent to Me on iMessage

The disappearance of iMessage photos can be quite puzzling, especially when the rest of the app's functionalities work fine. When you send a picture via iMessage, you expect it to reach the recipient visible and accessible. The reverse is similarly true, where incoming photos ought to be downloaded and displayed promptly. However, in both cases, a gamut of potential issues could interfere, leading to the "iMessage images not loading" conundrum.

Whatever the cause, the #images missing from iMessage never fails to leave us frustrated and deprived of memories we'd hoped to hold onto. Fortunately, you can fix such annoyances by following the steps below.

11 Methods to Fix iMessage Photos Not Showing

Have you ever excitedly opened iMessage, anticipating the latest photo from a friend or loved one, only to be greeted by frustration as the image refuses to materialize? Fear not; you can take a few methods to troubleshoot.

Method 1: Check Your Network

Sometimes, your iMessage pictures not showing due to network congestion or wrong settings. Therefore, you can follow the steps below to fix this error.

1. Reconnect to the Network

Switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data to see if one yields better results. You can also reset your router or restart your device to re-establish a clear connection. If that doesn't work, you can also try resetting the settings.

2. Reset Network Settings

  1. Navigate to Settings > General > Reset.
  2. Tap "Reset Network," type your iPhone login password to confirm the operation.

  3. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi. Select your personal Network and enter the password.
  4. Finally, open iMessage and let it reload all the content.

Method 2: Check Date and Time Settings

iMessage-related services require accurate dates and times to sync #images. If there is a problem with them, then it is very likely to cause iMessage photos not showing. Therefore, you can go to Settings > General > Date & Time and ensure that Set Automatically is turned on. If it is already on, try toggling it off and on again.

Method 3: Check iCloud

After iOS is updated, the problem of pictures not loading in iMessage will also occur. So you can check whether the attached photos are still on your iCloud.

  1. Log in to your iCloud with your iCloud ID.
  2. Open the iMessage or Message app.
  3. Click on the info icon at the top and scroll to the bottom. If it says [numbers] number of images in iCloud and there is an option to download them, then the photos are missing from iMessage.

Method 4: Manage Your Storage

iMessage pictures also take up your iPhone storage, and a lack of storage can cause them not to appear. To solve the problem of iMessage images not loading, remove unused apps, delete old messages, and transfer your files to a computer or a cloud service. This will not only solve this problem but also speed up your device.

Method 5: Review Third-Party Apps

Some apps can conflict with iMessage, affecting its photo-related features. This is especially true for apps that manage, clean, or optimize your device, as they might mistakenly delete important iMessage data. Therefore, please try sending pictures in iMessage again after disabling or uninstalling recently installed apps and see if the problem is resolved. If there is no problem, please adjust the settings inside them after reinstalling them to avoid photos not loading in iMessage again.

Method 6: Update iOS and the iMessage App

When external factors are eliminated, it still cannot help you solve the problem of images not loading in iMessage. Then, this may be a problem with the system or the program itself. To do this, you can check for the latest iOS version. Additionally, visit the App Store and update the iMessage app if a newer version is available.

Method 7: Reload Your iMessage

After confirming that it is the correct version, but this error still cannot be solved, it may be that the internal setting program of iMessage needs to be clarified. The easiest way is to sign out and go back into iMessage. You can do this to fix pictures not loading in iMessage:

  1. Tap Settings on your iOS device.
  2. Go to Messages > Send & Receive.

  3. Sign out of your Apple ID.
  4. After that, sign in with your Apple ID again.

Method 8: Repair Corrupted iMessage Cache Files

Corrupted or missing cache files will also prevent photos from loading into messages. In this case, you can clear the app cache and data to resolve this error. However, Apple officially does not provide any easy way to clear the cache on the iPhone. However, you can still accomplish this task by following these guides:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Storage > Manage Storage.

  2. Click Messages and Select Delete APP.
  3. Download and reinstall the iMessage App via the App Store.

Method 9: Check MMS Settings

The multimedia messaging system (MMS) enhances the iPhone experience by allowing you to send and receive pictures, videos, and audio recordings through text messages. If it is turned off by mistake, your iMessage photos will become unusable. Therefore, you can check its status by following these steps.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Messages.
  2. Scroll down, find "MMS Messaging," and check if it is enabled. If not, then please open it.

Method 10: Check iMessage's #images Option

The cause of iMessage pictures not showing can also be the #images option not being available or a loaded error. You can check its status by following two steps.

1. Check Your Region and Language

Apple Support's description states, "The #images are only available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, India, Singapore, Philippines, and Japan." If your iPhone is in another region, there is an issue with iMessage images not loading. Go to Settings > General > Language & Address to set an applicable locale.

2. Reload #images Reload

If available in your region, the pictures are still not shown in iMessage. At this time, you can reload this option to fix it.

  1. Open any iMessage conversation and tap "..." in the bottom options
  2. Click "Edit" at the top left and find the "#images" option.

  3. Select the area where the item is located and swipe to the left of the screen.
  4. Select "Remove from Favorites" and click "Done."
  5. Turn off iMessage and re-enable this page's "#images" option.

Method 11: Enable Automatic Sharing Option

Why can't I see pictures on message? Sometimes, iPhone photos do not load in messages because you turned off this option. To enable it, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to Settings > Messages > Shared with you.
  2. Enable "Automatic Sharing" and select "Photos" below.

5 Ways to Restore Images Disappeared from iMessage

If the above troubleshooting does not fix the iMessage images not loading issue, then they may be deleted due to human error or other reasons. In this case, you can also use the following method to find them.

Method 1: Retrieve Disappeared iMessage Images without Backup

Without a backup, you can explore two methods that may help you recover lost iMessage photos.

1. Check the Recently Deleted Folder

iOS includes a feature where deleted messages and attachments might be temporarily stored in a Recently Deleted folder within the Messages app. To check this, open Messages and look for a " Recently Deleted " folder or section. If your deleted images are there, you may be able to fix the images not loading in iMessage.

2. Use Recovery Software for iOS

If it is not in the Recently Deleted folder, you can only use tools to help you retrieve permanently deleted pictures. You can use iBeesoft iPhone Data Recovery, which can recover lost data from their iOS devices, including iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch. It can be particularly useful when the file has been accidentally deleted due to device issues or human error. Here are some of the main features:

Your Best Data Recovery App for iOS

(Trust Score 4.8 by 579 Users)
  • The software for photo video recovery provides three recovery modes to maximize the chances of recovering your lost data.
  • It can recover deleted text messages on iPhone without backup and find photos, videos, emails, documents, contacts, and more.
  • iBeesoft allows you to preview recoverable files before proceeding with the recovery process. This feature helps ensure that you're recovering the exact items you need.
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Here are the simple steps to get miss iMessage pictures back:

  1. Connect your iOS devices to a computer.
  2. Install the corresponding version according to your system.
  3. Click the "Recover from iOS" tab after opening it.

  4. Select your iPhone and click the "Scan" button.
  5. All found files are categorized in the left panel after scanning. Select the message type and check the photos you want. Finally, click "Recover" to save them.

Method 2: Find Lost iMessage Photos with Backup

If you've ever backed up your iOS device using iTunes or iCloud, fixing the "why won't images load on iMessage" error will be easy. They are:

1. Use iBeesoft iPhone Data Recovery

The other two modes of this tool can help you extract disappeared iMessage pictures from the backup without restoring the device to the backup. To do this, please select "Recover from iTunes" or "Recover from iCloud," depending on your backup, and follow the instructions to complete the rescuing lost pictures in iMessage.

2. From iCloud Backup

This method of fixing iMessage photos not showing requires restoring your iPhone or iPad to a previous version. If you saved essential data after the backup, back it up before starting.

  1. Tap on Settings > General > Reset.
  2. Click "Erase All Contents and Settings."

  3. After restarting, in the "App & Data" screen, choose "Restore from iCloud Backup."
  4. Log in to iCloud and follow the built-in instructions to select an iCloud backup to restore lost iMessage pictures.

3. By iTunes Backup

This way is the same as using iCloud. Please also back up your iOS device before starting.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer.
  2. Launch iTunes and make sure it detects your iPhone.
  3. In the iTunes summary window, click "Restore Backup" and follow the navigation to select an iTunes backup file to restore deleted images.

Using the method above, you should be able to fix the problem of images not loading in iMessage. If the issue still isn't resolved after trying these steps, please contact Apple Support for further assistance. Lastly, please follow the following tips to prevent this from happening again.

Tip to Avoid Pictures Not Loading in iMessage

It can be very frustrating when images refuse to load in iMessage. To ensure that those visual messages get through without a hitch, here are some tips.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your iMessage conversations are smooth and seamless, with all images loading perfectly every time.


If you're an iPhone user, one of the most frequent communication channels you may use is iMessage. It's quick, convenient, and usually reliable, but we all know that sometimes technology can throw us a curveball. A common issue arises when iMessage fails to display photos, leaving you with blank spaces or image placeholders. Here are some FAQs for troubleshooting this problem so you can get back to enjoying your whole iMessage experience.

  • Start by checking your internet connection. A weak or intermittent connection can prevent photos from loading correctly. If the connection appears sound, begin with basic troubleshooting steps such as restarting your device or the iMessage application. This often resolves temporary software glitches that are causing the issue

  • If you see gray boxes instead of photos, it's a sign that iMessage is having trouble rendering the sender's images. To address this, try force-quitting the iMessage app and then reopening it. If the problem persists, reboot your device; sometimes, this can clear temporary data that's causing the trouble.

  • iMessage itself doesn't have a strict file size limit for photos, but there are practical limits. Extremely large files could be compressed for sending, which might cause compatibility issues at the recipient's end, especially if they use an older device. If you suspect large file sizes are the problem, try sending smaller versions of the photos to see if that resolves the issue.

  • iMessage can generally handle a wide range of image formats, so compatibility issues with the format itself are rare. However, non-standard formats might cause problems. Stick to common formats like JPEG or PNG to ensure the best chances of successful photo sharing over iMessage.

  • When your device is running low on storage, it might be unable to cache images, causing them not to load or display properly. Regularly managing your storage and deleting unnecessary files can help prevent this issue of images not loading in iMessage.

  • This situation can occur when the photo has been successfully received but has yet to be fully downloaded or stored correctly on your device. Try tapping the 'Download' icon again to see if it resolves the issue. If not, clear the message history with that contact and start fresh.

  • If you consistently have issues with iMessage images not loading and none of the basic troubleshooting steps help, you may need to contact Apple Support for more in-depth assistance. They can help you walk through diagnostic steps to identify any underlying problems with your device or its setup that could be causing the issue.

Final Words

The iMessage photos not showing issue can be irritating but usually manageable. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined above, you'll likely be able to isolate the cause of the problem and restore your iMessage to full working order. Remember, patience and a methodical approach are your best allies in navigating through technology hiccups. And if all else fails, the Apple support system will back you up.