Fix Can’t Load Photo Error on iPhone

If your iPhone shows the error message “cannot load photo” or “cannot load video” when trying to view photos and videos, below are the steps to fix this problem.

Photo error cannot load on iPhone

Users reported that when trying to open, view, edit or share photos on iPhone, iPhone shows the error message “cannot load photo”.

In many cases, this problem seems to be related to the iPhone not being able to download an optimized version of photos from iCloud when the default “Optimize Storage” option is enabled.

Other reasons for this problem range from minor glitches, issues with Apple’s iCloud service to lack of storage space on your device.

1. Check iPhone storage

Make sure your iPhone has enough storage space to accommodate updates and allow the Photos app to work properly.

Go to settings > General > iPhone storage > On the next screen, you can see the used and remaining space on your iPhone.

Storage status on iPhone

When the remaining space is less than 1.5GB, you need to take action to free up space on your iPhone or iPad.

2. Check iCloud status

If the photo you want to view, edit or share is in iCloud, the problem might be that Apple’s iCloud service is temporarily offline.

Go to to check and confirm Apple’s system status page and make sure all iCloud-related services are working.

3. Reboot the iPhone

Sometimes the problem is simply a stuck process or a minor bug that is preventing the Photos app from working properly on your device.

Go to settings > General > scroll down and tap shut down. On the next screen, use the slider drive OUT iPhone.

Turn off the iPhone

Let the iPhone turn off completely > Wait 30 seconds > Start anew your device.

4. Check the network strength

A common reason for iPhone failing to load photos is poor network connection. Therefore, take a look at the top left corner of the screen to check and confirm the network strength at your current location.

iPhone signal strength indicator

If reception is poor, try moving from your current location to another location where you have a good network connection.

5. Uncheck “Optimize iPhone Storage”.

If you use Photo Stream or iCloud Photos, the default setting in the Photos app is to upload photos to iCloud and download an optimized version of the photos to your device.

If you get the error “can’t load photo or video” on your iPhone, the problem might be that the optimized photo download is incomplete or corrupt.

Go to settings > photos > select Download and keep originals Option (instead of Optimize iPhone storage).

Download and keep original photos on iPhone

After that, try to open Photos on your iPhone and see if you still get the unable to load photo error.

Note: This option causes high resolution images to take up a lot of storage space on your iPhone.

6. Activate unlimited cellular data

If you’re only connected to the cellular network, turn on Unlimited cellular data for downloads.

Go to settings > photos > cellular data > Move the switch next to Unlimited updates to ON Position.

Enable unlimited cellular data updates on iPhone

This allows iPhone to use cellular data to download photos to your device.

7. Force restart iPhone

iPhone hard reset steps may vary a bit depending on the model of your iPhone.

iPhone 6s and below: Press and hold perfomance and home Keys until your device begins with the Apple logo.

iPhone 7, 7Plus: press and hold perfomance and volume down until your iPhone begins with the Apple logo.

Apple logo on iPhone

iPhone 8, 8Plus: Press and release increase volume Press and release the > button volume down button > then hold down power buttonuntil your device starts with the Apple logo.

iPhoneX: Press and release increase volume Press and release the > button volume down button > press and hold power button (side button) until your device starts with the Apple logo.

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