If your iMessage photos are not showing up in your conversation thread, it can be frustrating to look at at empty files with question marks that never open or download.
When this happens on an iPhone or iPad, tapping on them doesn't work, and even tapping the download icon doesn't display the pictures.
Sometimes this can be fixed by toggling iMessage off and back on, but in most cases, you need to fully reset your device's network settings.
So if iMessage is otherwise working normally, but you're tired of iMessage photos not downloading, here's how can fix this issue quickly.
How to fix iMessage photos not opening
1. Go to "Settings" then "General"
2. Tap "Transfer or Reset iPhone"
3. On the next screen, tap "Reset"
4. Tap "Reset Network Settings" (you may have to enter your passcode to confirm this)
5. Your phone will restart with refreshed network settings, so you may need to reconnect to the Wi-Fi network
6. Go to "Settings" and "Messages"
7. Confirm iMessage is toggled on and that your Apple ID email address is checked off to receive and respond to iMessages (so iMessage works even if your primary SIM is off)
8. Go back into iMessage and ask someone to send you a test photo. Existing missing photos you've already been sent will not load (even if this issue has been fixed correctly), but new photos should load normally.
If you have followed the steps above, but continue to have issues with iMessage photos not downloading, please reach out to Apple Support.