My iPhone Won’t Send Pictures! Here’s The Real Fix.

You’re trying to send pictures from your iPhone, but they won’t go through. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using Messages, Photos, or another app — nothing works. Instead, your iPhone says Not Delivered red circle exclamation pointwith the red exclamation point inside the circle, or your photos get stuck halfway through sending and never finish. In this article, I’ll explain why your iPhone won’t send pictures and how to diagnose and fix the problem for good.

What You Need To Know Before We Begin

The first thing we need to do to figure out why your iPhone won’t send pictures is answer these two questions, and I’ll help you with both.

Are Pictures Not Sending Using iMessage or Regular Text Messages?

Any time you send or receive a text or picture message on your iPhone, it goes through as either a regular text message or an iMessage. In the Messages app, the iMessages you send show up in blue bubbles and the text messages you send show up in green.

imessage in blue bubble

Even though they work together seamlessly in the Messages app, iMessages and text messages use different technologies to send pictures. iMessages are sent using Wi-Fi or the wireless data plan you purchase through your wireless carrier. Regular text / picture messages are sent using the text messaging plan you purchase through your wireless carrier.

text message in green bubble

When your iPhone won’t send pictures, the problem is usually with text messages or iMessages — not with both. In other words, pictures will send with iMessages, but won’t send with text / picture messages — or vice versa. Even if you do have a problem with both, we need to troubleshoot each problem separately.

To find out whether your iPhone is having a problem sending messages with iMessages or text messages, open the Messages app and open up a conversation with someone you can’t send pictures to. If the other messages you’ve sent that person are in blue, your iPhone won’t send pictures using iMessage. If the other messages are in green, your iPhone won’t send pictures using your text messaging plan.

Are Pictures Not Sending To One Person, Or Everyone?

Now that you know whether the problem is with iMessages or text / picture messages, it’s time to determine whether you’re having a problem sending photos to everyone or to just one person. To do this, try sending a picture to someone else as a test, but read this first:

Before you send a test picture, make sure you send it to someone who is using the same technology (iMessage or text / picture messages) as the person you can’t send pictures to. Here’s what I mean:

If pictures won’t send using to someone using iMessage, send a test picture to someone else who uses iMessage (blue bubbles). If you pictures won’t send using your text / picture messaging plan, send a test picture to someone else whose messages go through as text messages (in green bubbles).

As a rule of thumb, if a picture won’t send to just one person, the problem is on their end and they may need to change something on their iPhone or with their wireless carrier to fix the problem. If you iPhone won’t send pictures to anyone, the problem is on your end. I’ll give you solutions for both scenarios below.

If Your iPhone Won’t Send Pictures Using iMessage

1. Test Your Internet Connection

iMessages are sent over your iPhone’s connection to the internet, so the first thing we’ll do is test your iPhone’s connection to the internet. The easiest way to do this is to try sending a message using your wireless data plan  and then try sending a message when your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi.

If your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and your iPhone won’t send pictures, go to Settings -> Wi-Fi and turn off Wi-Fi. Your iPhone will connect to the cellular data network, and you should see 5G, LTE, 4G, or 3G appear in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

turn off wifi on iphone

Try sending the picture again. If it goes through, the problem lies with your Wi-Fi connection, and I’ve written an article that explains what to do when your iPhone won’t connect to Wi-Fi. Don’t forget to turn Wi-Fi back on when you’re done!

If your iPhone won’t send pictures when it’s not connected to Wi-Fi, go somewhere that has Wi-Fi, connect to the Wi-Fi network in Settings -> Wi-Fi, and try sending the message again. If the message goes through, the problem is probably with your iPhone’s cellular data connection.

2. Make Sure Cellular Data Is Turned On

Go to Settings -> Cellular and make sure the switch next to Cellular Data is turned on. When you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, iMessages are sent using your wireless data plan, not your text messaging plan. If Cellular Data is turned off, the pictures you send as text / picture messages will go through, but the pictures you send as iMessages will not.

turn on iphone cellular data

3. Does The Other Person Have iMessage Turned On?

I recently worked with a friend whose messages weren’t going through to her son after he got a new, non-Apple phone. It’s a common problem that happens when someone switches to an Android smartphone but doesn’t sign out of iMessage.

Here’s the situation: Your iPhone and the iMessage server think that person still has an iPhone, so they try to send pictures using iMessage, but they never go through. Fortunately, there’s a simple way for them to sign out of iMessage and solve the problem for good. Tell them to follow this link to Apple’s support page where they can disable iMessage by sending themselves a text message and typing in a confirmation code online.

4. Reset Network Settings

An inadvertent change in the Settings app can cause connection problems that can be tricky to diagnose, but there’s a good way to fix them all at once. Reset Network Settings is a great way to reset just those settings that affect the way your iPhone connects to Wi-Fi and the cellular network, without affecting any of your personal information. You will have to reconnect to your Wi-Fi network again, so make sure you know the password before you move on.

To reset the network settings on your iPhone, go to Settings -> General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings, enter your passcode, and tap Reset Network Settings. Try sending another test message after your iPhone reboots to see if the problem was resolved.

If you’re still having problems after you’ve followed these steps, skip to the section called If Your iPhone Still Won’t Send Pictures.

If Your iPhone Won’t Send Pictures Using Your Text / Picture Messaging Plan

1. Make Sure MMS Messaging Is Turned On

We’ve already discussed the two types of messages that are sent using the Messages app: iMessages and text / picture messages. And, to make things more complicated, there are also two types of text / picture messages. SMS is the original form of text messaging that only sends short amounts of text, and MMS, which was developed later, is capable of sending pictures and longer messages.

If MMS is turned off on your iPhone, regular text messages (SMS) will still go through, but pictures will not. To make sure MMS is turned on, go to Settings -> Messages and make sure the switch next to MMS Messaging is turned on.

turn on mms messaging on iphone

2. Check For A Carrier Settings Update

Apple and your wireless carrier routinely push carrier settings updates to help improve your iPhone’s connection to your carrier’s network. Your iPhone could experience cellular issues if the carrier settings aren’t up to date.

A pop-up typically appears on the screen when a carrier settings update is available. If you see the pop-up on your iPhone, tap Update.

You can manually check for a carrier settings update by opening Settings and tapping General -> About. A pop-up will appear here in about ten seconds if a carrier settings update is available. If a pop-up doesn’t appear, move onto the next step!

update carrier settings on iphone

3. Reset Network Settings

4. Contact Your Wireless Carrier

Unfortunately, when it comes to problems with your iPhone’s connection to your wireless carrier, you may need to contact them for help. Customer account issues and technical outages can cause MMS messages not to be delivered, and the only way to know for sure is to call and ask.

The easiest way to find out what number to call is to search Google for “your wireless carrier (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) wireless customer support number”. For example, if you Google “Verizon wireless customer support number”, you’ll find the number at the top of the search results.

If Your iPhone Still Won’t Send Pictures

If you still can’t send pictures with your iPhone, my advice on how to proceed depends upon whether you can’t send pictures to just one person or you can’t send them to anyone.

If you can’t send pictures to just one person, ask them if they can receive iMessages or text / picture messages from anyone. Remember, they may be able to receive iMessages but not text / picture messages, or vice versa. Your best bet is to share this article with them and have them go through the troubleshooting steps themselves.

If you think the problem is on your end, here’s what to do next: Delete your conversation with them in the Messages app, delete their contact from your iPhone, and follow the instructions above to Reset Network Settings. After your iPhone reboots, type their phone number into the Messages app and try sending them a picture message. If it goes through, add their contact information again and you’re good to go.

If that still doesn’t work, you may need to back up your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes, restore your iPhone, and then restore your data from the backup. Restoring your iPhone erases everything on it and reloads the software, a process that can solve all sorts of software issues. I recommend you do a DFU restore, which is a special type of restore that Apple techs use at the Apple Store. I’ve written an article that explains how to DFU restore your iPhone.

Wrapping It Up

Now that your iPhone is sending pictures again, go ahead and send some pictures to your family and friends. But be careful: I know someone who tried to send a picture of his Christmas tree in a group text to his entire family, but accidentally ended up sending else. It was an awkward Christmas. I’d like to hear about your experiences figuring out why you couldn’t send pictures on your iPhone in the comments section below, and I’ll be here to help along the way.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Leslie Smith
1 month ago

I’m new to the iPhone world. I bought an iPhone 11 from Tracfone (please don’t laugh, I’ve had Tracfone for years). I have no problem texting / receiving photos to / from other iPhone users but cannot text to an Android phone user. Nor can I receive a photo texted from an Android phone. I have tried everything you talked about except restoring my iPhone. I even tried a suggestion Lisa made to Nick Brooms in the replies. I REALLY don’t want to have to do a restore. I have excellent WiFi and cellular reception, so that’s not the issue.… Read more »

Cathy Tunney
1 month ago

My iPhone 11 won’t let me send Camera Roll photos to my own email address. I can send them via messenger or messages to other people. I tried the Reset Network Settings a couple times. The only way around I’ve found is to send the photos to my daughter via iMessage and then she sends them back to me via my email so I can add them to a photo book. Seems really odd, but it works.

1 month ago

Still can’t send pictures. This is the most frustrating issue ever. Apple and AT&T just don’t care.

NC Hoosier
1 month ago

I’m setting up a used iPhone 8. It would not send pics via MMS. Then, I followed your advice to Reset Network Settings. Success! THANKS!

1 month ago

Hello! My IPhone won’t text a picture or pictures to a group. I can text one picture to one person at a time.
How do I fix that?

2 months ago

Make sure you aren’t on WiFi. Pics can only be sent through data.

2 months ago

My iPhone 10 won’t send pictures through email. Thanks.

3 months ago

Reset and Reboot worked for me. Thanks.

Janeth Marohn
3 months ago

Thanks. Very well explained.

Nick brooms
3 months ago

Hi. My phone will not send pictures over text when messages are green. I tried what it said above but it didn’t work. Please help, I’m using an iPhone 12 Pro.

2 months ago
Reply to  Nick brooms

I have the same trouble but found a workaround:
Save the image to your iPhone.
Make a modification (I use crop).
It’ll autosave.
Then send.
Hope that helps!

AnnMarie Torres
2 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

Thanks, that works! So weird! I wonder what is causing it!

3 months ago

Very helpful, sending and receiving pictures all working now!

Danna Porter
4 months ago

I actually think I hate my new phone. It’s an iPhone 12 Pro Max and nothing works. I am about to take it back and use my iPhone 8+. I love that phone! I can’t text my sister in-law. Every time I try my whole phone freezes! And no it won’t send pictures! Worst phone ever!

1 month ago
Reply to  Danna Porter

Same issue Danna. So unhappy.

4 months ago

Thank you soooo much. This article was easy to understand and I got my pictures to send.

Colin Boyd
4 months ago
Reply to  Cindy

Glad we could help, Cindy! Thanks for reading!

Debra White
5 months ago

This is the first article I’ve read that explains why my pictures won’t send to an Android. Thank you!

Troy Green
5 months ago

My text messages will go through but my pictures will not it just says not delivered?

Colin Boyd
5 months ago
Reply to  Troy Green

Hi Troy, is your iPhone not sending images over iMessage, or is this strictly a problem with SMS?

5 months ago

This would be great information if it included fixes to send jpgs, pngs, scans, etc to friends with Androids. Sometimes if I send the message separate from the photo it will work…other times…not so much. : ( Confused about the limitations of MMS with my cell plan. Will need to investigate that.

5 months ago

Trying to send a picture using an iphone 10 on a group text (to 4 people not including me). 3 are on IM and one on SMS. All settings you list have been donea and phone working fine otherwise. It will only go out when I delete the SMS guy from the group. Why? Thanks for the help.

Colin Boyd
5 months ago
Reply to  SJP

Hi SJP, are you in an area with poor cellular coverage? If that’s the case, your iPhone might not be able to send photos of cellular data. Since one of the people in your group uses an Android, you’ll need a decent cellular connection to tend an image over SMS. Here’s a link to our coverage map, where you can see exactly how your carrier’s coverage is in your area:

michael Safonte
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin Boyd

I have the same issue and that doesn’t solve it, what would be the next step?

6 months ago

Thank you so much for the article it resolved my problem about not being able to send pictures on my iPhone very informative and easy to understand

Richard Listener
6 months ago

Good set of instructions – but it would have been helpful to repeat that “Cellular Data” (Settings>Cellular) must be enabled in the paragraph where you explain about “MMS Messaging”. Silly of me to skip your intro (where that was fully explained), and to not check that Cellular Data was enabled first, but there you are. Anyway once both settings were enabled, images texted fine.

Last edited 6 months ago by Richard Listener
Colin Boyd
6 months ago

Glad we could help, Richard! Reading top-to-bottom is overrated.

6 months ago

Hi, my phone will send iMessage photos and videos no problem but when I try SMS or MMS they will only go through if I send them one at a time. I can also not send a picture/video along with a text message only separately. Any ideas?

Colin Boyd
6 months ago
Reply to  Nicola

Hi Nicola, this is more of a limitation of MMS and your cell phone plan than it is any setting on your iPhone. Our suggestion is to encourage your friends to all buy iPhones 🙂

7 months ago

Thankyou! I’m not tech savvy at all And I was able to fix my phone with your article you have. You have no idea how much this helped me!

Colin Boyd
7 months ago

Glad we could help!

7 months ago

Hi David. great service, thanks. My iPhone 6 OS is 12.4.2. In general would u recommend 12.5.3 update? My iPhone currently communicates effectively with my Windows 7 desktop with Vista mother board for charging, photo transfers, iTunes and possibly other things. If updating OS would you consider this may effect communication with my Windows desktop setup? Thank you for your thoughts. Regards Glenn

Colin Boyd
7 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

Hi Glen! I’d recommend sticking with iOS 12.4.2 if you’re happy with it.

7 months ago

Hi, thanks so much! I did everything all the help pages said, all the videos on YouTube..nothing worked! Since reading your article, I found that resetting my internet connection did work! This was for IPhone XR

Last edited 7 months ago by Debra
Liam Shotwell
7 months ago
Reply to  Debra

I’m glad that we were able to help! ?

Handy Andy
8 months ago

turning off “ allow calls on other devices solved my issue !

Roxy Carrel
8 months ago

I’m unable to send picture messages/photos to anyone to any phone. I can send photos using the FB message app but that’s it. My mms is turned on and I’ve rebooted my iPhone 8. My home WiFi is good as is my 4G but nothing seems to make a difference. I’ve actually had this issue with every phone I’ve ever had, and I mean every phone. It’s driving me crazy!

Jim R
9 months ago

my iphone7 suddenly quit sending/receiving picture texts with android family members only, plain texts still worked. I was at home on wifi. I finally discovered “cellular data” was turned on my cell phone, when I turned cell data back on pictures reappeared. On a Tracfone cell plan, no idea how the cell data mysteriously went off. Thanks for this site.

Roxy Carrel
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim R

Hi, what is this ‘cellular data’? I can’t find it in settings and even tried asking Siri but to no avail.

Liam Shotwell
8 months ago
Reply to  Roxy Carrel

Here is a guide about how to turn cellular data on and off.

11 months ago

didn’t work for me.

11 months ago

Your information was very helpful and in detail enough that a person wasn’t swamped with too much information thanks.

11 months ago

Thanks, well written!!!

11 months ago


Bon Bon
11 months ago

Thank you so much for all your help sending picture with text , worked after turning on cellular data.So glad you are the Best!! I am on my lap-top cuz i don’t do FB!!!

11 months ago

It might be easier to throw it in the trash and buy an Android

Liam Shotwell
11 months ago
Reply to  John

Don’t throw your iPhone away — recycle it! ♻ If you’re in the market for an Android phone, my best recommendation is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G. You can also use UpPhone’s free cell phone comparison tool to find a phone that meets your needs and budget.

1 year ago

In some cases the mms button does not appear in settings. This fixed the problem with my iPhone 8.

10 months ago
Reply to  Lonnie


1 year ago

Dear David, I am trying to send photos off my phone to my hp computer to complete xmas cards, and in a hurry! I thought this would be the most expeditious manner. We used to plug our phones in to our computers to sync things… and update to our I tunes but that is no longer done apparently. Or is this still done? Is there a better way to send photos to get on my HP computer? Or is this possibly an attempt by Apple to get us to upgrade to higher icloud storage (which I don’t pay for) for… Read more »

Liam Shotwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Julie


Hi there! Sorry to hear that you’re having trouble. Another solution you can try is to upload your photos to Google Drive and then access them from your computer’s web browser. I hope this helps!


Gail Birch
1 year ago

This was very helpful. I seem to be able to send pics now. This quit working after my phone was updated to 14.2. In addition to this problem, my bluetooth from phone to car quit working! Have you heard of others having problems since the upgrade?

1 year ago
Reply to  Gail Birch

I’m having problems since the upgrade. Resetting the network didn’t work. I can send to iPhone users but not android.

1 year ago

today my iphone has stopped sending picture through messenger and so has my daughters. We have just changed to virgin media which says on the connection weak security, is this why i cant send pictures anymore?

1 year ago

Thank You! Resetting my network settings seems to have done the trick.
I appreciate you taking the time to write this article, saving me from the whole off-shore tech support experience.

1 year ago

I can send all of the other photos but just one has the forward symbol grayed out and I cannot send it.

1 year ago

Hi I need some help I can send a photo to people as a normal text only as an iMessage when I send as normal text in has a red exclamation mark in a circle and says not delivered but I can send through iMessage how can I fix this

1 year ago

Thank you!!


Lois Renee
1 year ago

Lois Renee
I came to the site because I could not send Pictures I liked the actual Errors showing me how to restore the way I could send Pictures I turned ofF my phone first and followed David instructions and it WORKED….

1 year ago

Big thanks,, fix my problem, also enjoy many of ur YouTube videos, easy to understand an very helpful!

1 year ago

This was by far the best explanation I could find. I now understand, and am able to send images from my iPhone to an Android phone. I simply turned off the WiFi connection and images went through. Thank you!

Elizabeth Hardy
1 year ago
Reply to  Sherri

Thanks for the hint. It has worked for me. Liz.

1 year ago

I can send a photo to other people but cannot email the photo. Phone used to swoosh when it mailed something but now it does nothing??

Elizabeth carr
1 year ago

My cellular data was turned off. Ty so much. Was fast and easy.

1 year ago

My brand new iPhone SE will send photos with the Messaging (Text) feature, but I can’t send photos to an email account. Any suggestions?

Ken Argent
1 year ago

I can send photos from my iphone to other phones, but not my email…… ??

7 days ago
Reply to  Ken Argent

i cant either. Very frustrating.

1 year ago

I turned off WiFi assist and it went like a text it was that quick thanks ??