Why your iPhone Photos are Black and What to Do

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

One of the most popular features on an iPhone is its ability to take great pictures. That is why it is so frustrating when the photos on your iPhone turn out black. Why does this happen and what do you do to fix it?


Your iPhone photos are black due to issues either with your phone or your internet connection. To know what to do and how to fix your black iPhone photos, you need to first find where the problem starts.


  • Not Enough Room on Your Phone
  • Slow or Weak Connection
  • Phone System Updates
  • Hardware Issues
  • New Photo

To understand why your iPhone photos are black and what to do, we will start by looking at what could be affecting your phone’s performance. If that doesn’t fix the problem, we will look into how your internet connection could be causing your iPhone photos to appear black.



Not Enough Room on Your Phone


From selfies to sightseeing, we carry our phones everywhere and use them to take pictures of everything. All those photos need to be saved somewhere. If you go to take a photo and your screen is black, that is an indication that your phone’s storage is probably full.


When this happens there is nowhere to store the picture you are trying to take. Your iPhone knows you want to take the photo, but since there is nowhere for it to store it, the picture stays black. You will need to clear up some room on your phone before you can take your next selfie.


The solution to this is easy. You don’t want to lose all the old memories, so you need someplace to keep all the old photos. You could back up your photos to your computer or an external hard drive but, those both have limitations. An online or cloud solution may work best for you.


What is Online or Cloud Storage and How Can You Utilize It?

So, now let’s talk about online or cloud storage. You hear a lot of talk about “the cloud” but do you know what that really means?  A cloud storage solution is where your information or data is stored on a secure remote server somewhere. You need to connect to the internet to access your cloud storage.


Most cloud-based photo apps allow you to upload and download your photos from your phone to the cloud and vice versa. For some apps, like iCloud, your phone automatically syncs your photos between your phone, computer, and any other connected devices you have authorized. Others like iTunes you manually move and manage your photos.


If you do decide to back-up your photos with a cloud solution, you may have times where the photo you are looking for shows as a black or gray square. This is most likely because the connection between your phone and the internet has a problem.

Listed here are several online or cloud storage apps. You can use one or more to store your photos online.


  • iCloud Photos is Apple’s online storage app. It mimics the set up on your phone with a section for Photos that shows all your pictures in chronological order. The Moments tab breaks the photos up by year, month, and day. iCloud also shows your Albums just as you have them set up on your phone. When you sign up for Apple iCloud you automatically get 5GB of storage free.
  • iTunes is Apple’s solution for backing up your phone and PC or Mac. 
  • Google Photos lets you store photos from any device. It is free unlimited storage for compressed photos.
  • Flickr is Yahoo’s response to online photo storage and social networking. When you sign up for Flickr, you get 1000 GB free.
  • Instagram and Facebook are both social networking apps that allow you to import pictures from your phone and store them online.


Your Internet Connection Could Be the Cause of Your Problems


When you are trying to upload your photos to your PC or Mac, a slow or a weak internet connection could be the cause for your iPhone photos to show as black squares When you have a weak or slow connection, the problem may be with your router or your internet service provider (ISP).  If possible, use a hardwired connection for your PC. If you are still experiencing problems, contact your ISP to troubleshoot.


If you are uploading your photos to your computer through your cloud storage app, make sure you have a strong connection. If you have a slow Wi-Fi connection, there will be a delay between when you start the download and when the pictures show on your app.


Similarly, if you have stored photos in the cloud and you are trying to upload them to your phone. If your connection is slow, you may see a black or gray box where your photo will be until the process is complete.


You may see the same problem with delay if you are syncing your pictures using a Bluetooth connection. Photos, particularly high definition photos have big files. Those files take longer to upload and download. If you have a weak connection, your iPhone knows you want to see your picture, so it opens the photo up. However, because the upload or download is taking too long, all you see is a black photo.



Make Sure You Phone Has the Latest Update


Keeping your iPhone updated is similar to taking your car for a tune-up. You want to make sure everything is running the way it should. System updates to your phone or computer are vital to keeping your phone updated with the latest improvements and security features.


Apple releases a major update about once a year. Any subsequent releases are usually to fix system bugs or make tweaks and improvements to the previous release. If your phone is several updates behind, it may have problems with how it processes pictures. If your phone is updated, the problem might be a bug or an issue with the release. Check with Apple for the latest update news, especially if your phone just started showing black photos after you ran the update.



Older iPhones May Have Hardware Issues


Apple releases new model iPhones all the time, sometimes several versions at once. They will provide support for any iPhone back up to five years. If you have an iPhone older than an iPhone 6, it may not be supported by Apple.  You can still use your iPhone as normal, but you may experience problems such as black photos when you try to upload them to a cloud app due to compatibility issues.


In the 10.0 release, several enhancements made to the iPhone Photo app and online apps such as Flickr and Instagram, adapted their platforms to accommodate the improvements. Unfortunately, many older iPhones and iPads will not work on iOS 10. This is mainly due to the hardware of the phone or pad itself.


Older model iPhones and iPads do not have the memory capacity to handle all the new features offered in the newer updates. Regrettably, if you have an older model, there is nothing you can do to make it work with the newest updates and you will not be able to take advantage of all the new highlights.


These are some of the Apple products that will not run the latest iOS update


  • iPhone 4S
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3
  • iPad mini


New Photos May Show as Black Squares on Your iPhone


As soon as you take that new selfie, you want to show it to everyone. But when you go to open the picture, it shows as a black square.  If you have just taken a picture and it is showing as a black square, it may simply be an issue with patience. The photo for whatever reason has not had time to process yet.


Don’t panic! The fix is simple: close the Photo App and re-open it. Your photo should now be there in full color.



What to Do When Your iPhone Photos are Black


We have discussed what might be causing your iPhone photos to be black. But what do you do when you have tried everything so far, and your iPhone photos are still black? We still have a few tricks up our sleeves. Let’s look at what we can do to fix those black photos on your iPhone.


Try Editing Each Photo to Fix Your Photos

If your photos are showing black, sometimes editing them will kick everything back. Follow these steps for each photo that sows as a black square.


  • In the Photo app, find your photo.
  • Click on Edit in the top right of the screen.
  • Your photo should show again.
  • If that doesn’t work, keep reading…

Try Restarting Your iPhone to Fix Your Photos

There’s an old complaint that has been around for years. You call the IT Helpdesk and the first thing they ask is if you have rebooted your computer. The same is true for phones. Many issues can be resolved with a simple restart. Why this works is not always obvious.


Here’s how to restart your iPhone, regardless of model:


  • Close all open apps on your iPhone.
  • Find the Settings button on your phone. This is a gray box with a gear icon.
  • Go to General. It is usually in the third group of settings.
  • Under General, go to the bottom and you should see Shut Down.
  • Drag the slider to the left.
  • Your phone should turn off.
  • To turn it back on, simply press the Sleep/Wake button on the right side.

How to restart you iPhone with Face ID:


  • Hold down the Sleep/Wake button on the right while you hold down either volume button.
  • When prompted, drag the slider to the left.
  • Press the Sleep/Wake button on the right side to turn it back on.

How to Restart Your iPhone with a Home button (iPhone8/iPhone 8 Plus and older):


  • Press the Sleep/Wake button on the right and the Home button simultaneously.
  • When prompted, drag the slider to the left.
  • Press the Sleep/Wake button on the right side to turn it back on.

Now, check your photos. Are they back to normal? If so, great! Problem solved.



As a Last Resort: Resetting Your iPhone to Factory Settings:


Resetting your iPhone to factory settings is the last option that you can take on your own before you go to Apple for help. We have looked at several reasons why your iPhone photos might be black, and we have looked at what might fix them. If your iPhone photos are still black and you have tried all the suggestions listed here, you may need to reset the iPhone to factory settings.


One of the most important things to remember when you are having problems with your iPhone is to back-up your photos. You don’t want to lose your memories, and if your iPhone is experiencing issues, the only way to fix it may be to reset your phone to factory settings.


Resetting your iPhone to factory settings completely wipes everything off your phone and starts over like brand new. If you have backed up your photos on iCloud, once your phone comes back up from the reset, you can sync your pictures up and load them back onto your iPhone.


Resetting Your Phone to Factory Settings-Only as a Last Resort!


Make sure you have backed up your photos and they are saved somewhere, either on an app like Instagram, Flickr, iCloud, or to an external hard drive.

  • Go to Settings.
  • Click on Reset.
  • Choose Erase All Content and Settings. (Before you click on this, did you back up your photos?)
  • Once your iPhone has come back, reload your photos to your iPhone.


Conclusion


Hopefully, these steps have helped explain why your iPhone photos are black and what to do. If all else fails, there might be a more serious problem with your iPhone. Contact Apple support for more suggestions and help.

5/5

Leave a Comment

Related Articles