How to Fix When iMessage Isn’t Downloading Sent Picture Messages

Key takeaways:

  • Check your internet connection, storage space, and iMessage settings first
  • Restart your iPhone, reset network settings, or update iOS as needed
  • Sign out and back into your Apple ID or contact Apple Support for further assistance

iMessage is a convenient way for Apple users to communicate, but it can be frustrating when pictures sent through the app fail to download. If you’re experiencing this issue, don’t worry – there are several steps you can take to resolve it and get your iMessage photos downloading smoothly again.

Check Your Internet Connection

A stable internet connection is crucial for iMessage to function properly. If you’re having trouble downloading pictures, the first thing to check is your Wi-Fi or cellular data connection:

  • Ensure your iPhone is connected to a reliable Wi-Fi network or has a strong cellular signal
  • Toggle Airplane Mode on and off to reset your network connection
  • Switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data to see if the issue is network-specific

Verify iMessage Settings

Next, make sure your iMessage settings are configured correctly:

  1. Go to Settings > Messages
  2. Confirm that iMessage is toggled on
  3. Tap Send & Receive and ensure your phone number and Apple ID are selected
  4. Enable MMS Messaging to allow picture downloads from non-iMessage users

Free Up iPhone Storage

Insufficient storage space can prevent iMessage from downloading pictures. Check your available storage and free up space if needed:

  1. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage
  2. If your storage is nearly full, delete unnecessary apps, photos, or videos
  3. Consider upgrading your iCloud storage plan for more space

Restart Your iPhone

A simple restart can often resolve minor software glitches that may be causing iMessage issues:

  • Press and hold the power button until “slide to power off” appears
  • Slide to power off your iPhone, wait a few seconds, then press and hold the power button to turn it back on

Reset Network Settings

If your internet connection seems fine but pictures still aren’t downloading, try resetting your network settings:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset
  2. Tap Reset Network Settings (this will erase saved Wi-Fi passwords)
  3. Reconnect to your Wi-Fi network and try downloading pictures again

Update iOS

Outdated software can sometimes cause iMessage problems. Check for available iOS updates:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Software Update
  2. If an update is available, tap Download and Install
  3. Keep your iPhone connected to Wi-Fi and plugged in until the update is complete

Sign Out and Back Into Your Apple ID

Signing out of your Apple ID and signing back in can help refresh your iMessage connection:

  1. Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive
  2. Tap your Apple ID and select Sign Out
  3. Restart your iPhone, then go back to Send & Receive and sign in with your Apple ID

Contact Apple Support

If you’ve tried all the above steps and pictures still aren’t downloading in iMessage, it may be time to contact Apple Support for further assistance. They can help diagnose any underlying issues with your device or account that may be causing the problem.


Why are pictures not downloading in iMessage?

There are several reasons why pictures might not download in iMessage, including:

  • Poor internet connection
  • Incorrect iMessage settings
  • Insufficient iPhone storage space
  • Software glitches or outdated iOS

How do I enable MMS Messaging for iMessage?

To enable MMS Messaging:

  1. Go to Settings > Messages
  2. Scroll down and toggle on MMS Messaging

This allows you to send and receive pictures with non-iMessage users.

Will resetting my network settings erase anything important?

Resetting your network settings will erase saved Wi-Fi networks and passwords, VPN and APN settings, and cellular network preferences. However, it will not delete any of your personal data, such as photos, contacts, or apps.

How much storage do I need for iMessage to download pictures?

The amount of storage needed depends on the size and quantity of pictures being downloaded. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep at least 1-2 GB of free space on your iPhone to ensure smooth performance of iMessage and other apps.

Can I selectively download pictures in iMessage?

Yes, you can tap on individual pictures to download them one at a time, rather than downloading an entire conversation’s worth of images at once. This can be helpful if you’re low on storage space or only need to save certain pictures.