iPhone Photos Not Loading? Try These 17 Fixes

photos loading circle

Here’s the issue, when you open the Photos app from your home screen and click on your pictures, you may notice that the pictures don’t load properly, and they have an exclamation mark at the bottom left of the screen.

The pictures are also going to look blurry and they won’t load. It may also look like all the photos have lost resolution as well.

Why Are My Photos Not Loading?

The reason why your Photos won’t load properly is that you’ve turned on a feature called ‘optimize iPhone storage’. This can be accessed in the settings app and it allows you to save a lot of storage by optimizing your photos and saving the original version in iCloud.

Previously, your iPhone was storing the original versions of photos in your camera roll. When you turned Optimise iPhone Storage on, your pictures are automatically managed in the gallery and the original version of the photos are stored in iCloud.

If your storage is almost full, then you’ll need to make some space so that your iPhone doesn’t need to optimize your storage by limiting the amount of storage your camera roll is using. When you’ve freed some space on your iPhone, then you can disable this feature.

If there’s an internet problem, this can also cause photo’s not to load in your camera roll. When trying to view photos in your camera roll, depending on if your photos are stored in the cloud, you need a strong internet connection in order to download the photos from iCloud unless they’re going to be blurry which can become annoying. You’ll need to make sure that you have a strong source of internet.

Why Are My Photos Blurry on My iPhone Camera Roll?

The same reason your photos are not loading is the same reason why your photos are blurry. If your iCloud photos are blurry, it’s because of iPhone Storage Optimization; a tool that forces your iPhone to save space.

Since the iCloud Photo Library is too large for people to keep on their device, your iPhone downloads a lower resolution version of the photo which is why it appears blurry in your camera roll.

Exclamation Mark in Camera Roll

The exclamation mark at the bottom of your photos indicates that the photo is compressed due to the Optimize Storage feature. If you see that photos won’t load along with the exclamation mark, then it means that they’re compressed.  This means that you’ll have to wait for the exclamation mark to load for the photos to show a normal resolution.

Your iPhone also shows you an exclamation mark at the bottom to notify you that you have the Optimise Storage feature on. If you want to get rid of it, you need to turn it off.

How to Fix Blurry Photos in Camera Roll

If your storage is almost full, then you need to clear some things to save some space so that your iPhone doesn’t need to optimize your storage. This will prevent it from having to optimize your camera roll by storing a low res version of your high-quality photos. When you’ve freed some space on your iPhone, then you can disable this feature.

When Optimize Storage is turned on, all of your photos are automatically uploaded to your iCloud as soon as you stop using your iPhone for a long time and your device is connected to WI-FI. This means that your camera roll stores a compressed version of your photos in order to reduce storage space.

Turn On Download and Keep Originals

If you want your photos to load in your camera roll, you’ll have to turn off ‘Optimise iPhone Storage’ and turn on ‘Download and Keep Originals’. This means that your device is going to lose A LOT of storage space depending on how many GB your media takes up.

To turn on Download and Keep Original:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Click on Photos.
  3. Click Download and Keep Originals.

You’ll need to wait quite a while depending on how many photos you have for your iOS device to download all of them.

Once this is done, your camera roll will go back to normal and your photos will load in a full resolution without showing the exclamation point at the bottom.

Make Storage Space

Sometimes your iPhone can turn on Optimize iPhone storage for your photos if you don’t have enough storage on your device.  This means that you need to delete some things so that you have more storage on your device. Your iPhone needs a lot of extra storage just to perform well so if you’re nearly maxed out, you’ll need to wipe a lot of things to make storage.

If you want to make a lot of space quickly, then you need to delete a lot of apps. If you’ve deleted a lot of apps, but feel like you need all the apps on your device because they’re essential, you can offload some apps.

Offloading an app allows you to delete the app’s data and files, but still be able to keep the app on your iPhone – this removes its storage in your device.

To Offload an App:

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Click on iPhone Storage.
  4. Scroll down and tap on Offload App.
  5. Tap on the app you want to offload and offload it.

Increasing your storage space can stop your iPhone or iPad from automatically turning on Optimize iPhone Storage in order to save some space.

Wait For The Photos to Load

If your photos aren’t loading in your camera roll, sometimes it could be down to a glitch that causes your photos to take a while for the high res version to load up. To get rid of this, it’s either you want for a brief moment for your photos to load, or you close the app in the multi-task view and open it again. From here, you should be able to view your photos without them having to load.

View Your Original Photos In iCloud

If your photos won’t load, then rather than going on your camera roll to view a compressed version of your photos, you can visit iCloud to see the high res version. If you werent able to turn off the optimize storage feature and you want to view your original photos rather than a blurry version, then you’ll need to visit iCloud.com.

To view your photos in a normal resolution:

1. Open a browser on your computer and go to iCloud.com.

2. Authorize the 2-factor authentication and enter the pin shown on your device.

select photos

3. Click on Photos you should be able to view your photos. Download the ones you want to your computer.

From here, you can view all of your downloaded photos on your computer. These photos will be the original version and not an optimized version so they won’t have to load. If you have a USB, you can transfer the high res photos to your iPhone.

5. Restart your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone will refresh the software it’s running on. If there’s a bug or glitch that’s causing your photo’s not to load, then restarting your iPhone may get rid of it which could fix the problem you’re experiencing.

6. Force Close Photos App

Since photos are not loading in the Photos app and that’s where the problem is arising from, force closing the Photos app might get rid of the issue and cause the content to start loading up. To force close the Photos app, you need to open the multitasking view by swiping up from the bottom of your screen, then closing the app by swiping the Photos app up.

7. Convert Your Photo into Compatible Format

If the images that you’re trying to load up on your camera roll have been downloaded from a website and not been taken by the native camera, then they may not be supported by your iPhone. You will never get these photos to load because your iPhone just doesn’t have the capacity to load them.

Rather than wasting your time trying to load them, you can convert the photos into formats that your iPhone is able to load. There are tons of photo converters that’ll allow you to convert foreign photo’s into formats your iPhone can load which is HEIC. such as mov m4v, and mp4. Once you’ve converted the photo, try loading them again in your camera roll and you’ll notice they’ll load without blurring.

8. Check and Repair Corrupt Photo

There’s a chance that the image you have that’s failing to load is corrupt. Although you shot it from your iPhone, there’s still a chance that it could be corrupt. There’s a higher chance of it being corrupt if the photo was downloaded from email or shared via a chat.

If you want to be able to load a corrupt photo, you’ll need to transfer the photo from iPhone to a computer and repair them using phot repair software, such as Stellar Repair for photo.

It can fix corrupt photo files on iPhone in only a few steps and this will allow you to transfer the photo back to your iPhone and load it from there.

10. Force Restart Photos App

Another problem that can stop photos from loading is a problem with your iPhone. If there’s a software problem within your iPhone that’s stopping your photos from loading photo’s then you’ll need to refresh the software – this can be with a force restart.

For iPhone 8 or Later:

Quickly press-release the volume up button, then press-release the volume down button in quick succession. Once done, press-hold the sleep/wake button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

For iPhone 7 & 7 Plus:

Press-hold the sleep/wake button with the volume down button for at least 7-10 seconds. Do not release them until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

For iPhone 6 Plus & Previous Models:

Press-hold the home and side/top button (as per the model) for 10 seconds. Do not release them until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

11. Restart Internet Connection

If there’s a problem with your internet connection, this can cause photos to load and blur. If you typically have a weak source of internet, for example, slow WIFI, then this may be a frequent occurrence. You need to make sure that you turn your WIFI off then on, or switch to data. Once you’ve done this, you can visit the Photos app again to see if photos are not loading. If they’re still blurring, you can put this down to something else.

14. Reset Network Settings

The next thing that you should do to try and get rid of any glitches that could be causing photos not to load in the camera roll is to reset network settings.

To wipe all settings:

  1. From the home screen, tap Settings
  2. Scroll down to, then tap General
  3. Scroll down to, then tap Reset
  4. Tap Reset Network Settings
  5. Tap Reset Network Settings to confirm
  6. After doing this, go back to your camera roll and see if you’re able to load photos that weren’t able to load before.

15. DFU Restore Your Device

The next thing you need to do in this situation is to restore your phone from DFU mode. This is the last step an Apple tech will take when there’s a hardware or software issue going on within your device.

The problem you’re experiencing is persisting then restoring from DFU mode is the best way to try and get the software to refresh and get rid of whatever glitch is causing the problem.

When you put your device in DFU mode and restore it, it’s going to wipe all of the code off the device, update the firmware, and put the code back on. During this process, you’re going to lose all of your data, so you do need to back up your iOS device.

16. Factory Reset

A factory reset will be needed if a force restart doesn’t work. A factory reset involves wiping your device clean and restoring it back to its normal settings. For this to work, you’ll need to be willing to lose all of your data in the process, but if it’s backed up, then you’ll get it back. There are two ways to factory reset your iPhone but the easier way is through the settings app.

To revert to factory settings:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Go to Reset and choose to Erase All Content and Settings
  4. You will be prompted to backup your data at this point. Tap Back Up Then Erase.
  5. Enter your passcode to confirm the factory reset. Once you have entered the passcode and hit OK, then your iPhone will start erasing.
  6. Once the reset is complete, then check to see if your camera roll will load photos.

17. Contact Apple Support

If you have tried all the steps and photos still aren’t loading in your camera roll, then it looks like there’s a deeper issue that can’t be resolved with troubleshooting steps. In this case, you’ll need to contact Apple support to get this fixed. You can speak to their live chat via the Apple Support website.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


  1. this still didnt help my iphone photos still isnt loaded and i need to upload photots from my iphone to my computure

  2. I tried deleting some pictures from the library and switching to download originals, and nothing happened. I still have the little circle with the letter ” I “at the bottom right side of each picture. It all just suddenly happened. I don’t know what else to try!

  3. Wtf is the point of the optimize storage option then?! If we don’t delete the pics from the phone, it’s because WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO ACCESS THEM. If we can’t access them without turning off the optimize storage option, then they’re useless!

  4. This didn’t work for me. I switched to download an store originals and then even deleted some iCloud photos to maybe have some more room… I Still can’t acces them and it’s driving me crazy. Can you help?

  5. reset network settings, and for a more permanent fix, turn off “optimize photos” in your icloud photo library settings.

    the exclamation point, and blurtry overall quality suggests a network issue when trying to access the full size version of the photo which is residing on icloud.com, instead of your device. By resetting the network settings, and reconnecting to your WiFi you should resolve the network issue. by turning off the optimization, you are making is so the photos are also stored on your device,n instead of effectively streaming as they are now.

  6. I still struggle with the download of the photos after I changed my setting. The photo only downloads when I’m in that specific photo. And I have way to many photos to do it with every single one?

  7. This just happened to mine all of a sudden and can’t resolve with these ideas. Seems like can take photos but when view them from lower snapshot view they aren’t actually there. Can’t edit or share. And then when click on photos icon to view, they aren’t there at all. Any idea would appreciate.

    • A soft reset worked for me! To soft reset:
      – hold down the home button and power/lock button
      – wait three seconds until your screen goes black
      – the Apple logo should pop up soon
      – wait until your phone turns back on (should take around thirty seconds)
      – ta da!

  8. Hey do you think this is why I get the spinning wheel of death when I try to upload photos from my camera roll on iPhone 8 to poshmark? I have to list everything from my computer or tAke pictures as I go


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