Having issues opening attachments on your iPhone can certainly be frustrating. You rely on being able to view attached photos, documents, and media that people send you. When your iPhone starts giving errors or doesn’t load attachments properly, it prevents you from accessing important files and information.
No worries though because in most cases, you can resolve attachment issues on your iPhone using a few simple troubleshooting steps. Let’s examine the most common causes and proven solutions.
Common Reasons Why Attachments Won’t Open on iPhone
Problems opening attachments are typically software-related. Among the common reasons why iPhone attachments won’t open include the following:
- Incorrect file association. If the file format is not associated with an app on your iPhone, it will not be able to open.
- Missing or corrupted app. If the app that is supposed to open the attachment is missing or corrupted, the attachment will not be able to open.
- Software bug. A software bug in the iOS operating system or in the app that is supposed to open the attachment can also prevent it from opening.
- File size too large. Some apps have a limit on the size of files that they can open. If the attachment is too large, the app may not be able to open it.
- File is corrupted. If the attachment is corrupted, it will not be able to open.
In addition to these common reasons, there may be other, less common reasons why an iPhone attachment won’t open.
For example, if you are using a third-party email app, there may be a problem with the app itself. Or, if you are trying to open an attachment from a website, there may be a problem with the website or with your internet connection.
How to Fix iPhone Attachments that Won’t Open
By updating your apps and iOS, clearing old attachments, verifying iCloud Drive settings, and contacting Apple support, you can isolate and fix what’s preventing attachments from opening on your iPhone.
Before you perform any of the outlined procedures, try to restart your iPhone. This will help clear out minor software glitches that may be inflicting troubles with the Mail application. After restarting, try opening the problematic attachments. If the problem continues, then you may go ahead and try these solutions.
1. Update Apps to Latest Versions
As a first step, make sure you have the latest compatible versions of apps for opening attachments like Mail, Photos, iWork suite, Adobe Reader, etc. Older outdated apps may not support newer file formats.
So the first thing you should do is try updating the app that you are using to open the attachment. You can check for updates to apps in the App Store.
To manually update apps on your iPhone:
- Open the App Store.
- Tap your profile picture in the top-right corner.
- Scroll down to see a list of all your apps, including those with available updates.
- Tap Update next to the app you want to update, or tap Update All to update all of your apps.
If you have a lot of apps, it may take some time to update them all. You can check the progress of an update by tapping the Updates tab in the App Store.
Updating apps can help when dealing with a problem on iPhone attachments that won’t open for a few reasons:
- Bug fixes. App developers regularly release updates to fix bugs in their apps. If you are having trouble opening an attachment, it is possible that there is a bug in the app that is preventing it from opening. Updating the app may fix the bug and allow you to open the attachment.
- New features. App developers also release updates to add new features to their apps. Some of these new features may be related to opening attachments. For example, an email app may add a new feature that allows you to open attachments in a variety of file formats.
- Improved compatibility. App developers also release updates to improve the compatibility of their apps with the latest version of iOS. If you are having trouble opening an attachment, it is possible that the app is not compatible with the latest version of iOS. Updating the app may improve its compatibility and allow you to open the attachment.
In general, it is a good idea to keep your apps up to date. This can help to improve their performance, reliability, and security. It can also help to fix bugs and improve compatibility with the latest version of iOS.
2. Clear/Redownload Corrupt Attachments
Sometimes an attachment file itself may have downloaded corrupt or incomplete. In this case, deleting old attachments and asking the sender to resend them fresh will likely solve the problem.
- To clear an attachment:
- Open the message containing the attachment.
- Tap and hold the attachment.
- Tap More.
- Tap Delete.
- To redownload an attachment:
- Open the message containing the attachment.
- Tap and hold the attachment.
- Tap More.
- Tap Download Again.
If you are still having trouble opening an attached file after clearing or redownloading it, there may be a problem with the app that you are using to open the file. Try opening the file in a different app, such as the Files app or a third-party file viewer app.
If you are still having trouble opening the file, you may need to contact the sender of the attachment and ask them to send it to you again in a different format.
Benefits of clearing/redownloading corrupt attachments
Clearing or redownloading corrupt attachments can do a few good things when dealing with problems opening attached files on iPhone.
- Fix minor issues. Corruptions in attached files can cause a variety of problems when opening them, such as error messages, freezing, and crashing. Clearing or redownloading the attachment can fix these minor issues by refreshing the file.
- Improve file integrity. Corrupt attachments can also have missing or incomplete data. Clearing or redownloading the attachment can help to improve the file integrity by ensuring that all of the data is present and correct.
- Free up storage space. Corrupt attachments can also take up unnecessary storage space on your iPhone. Clearing or redownloading the attachment can help to free up storage space by deleting the corrupt file.
3. Enable/Disable Optimize iPhone Storage
The Optimize iPhone Storage feature works by automatically managing the storage space on your iPhone. When you enable this feature, iCloud Photos will store full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud, and optimized versions on your iPhone.
This means that you will still be able to view and edit your photos and videos on your iPhone, but they will be smaller in size. This can help to free up storage space on your iPhone, especially if you have a lot of photos and videos.
Here are some tips for enabling the Optimize iPhone Storage feature:
- Make sure that you have an iCloud account. You can create an iCloud account for free on Apple’s website.
- Make sure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi. Optimizing your photos and videos can use a lot of data, so it is best to do it over Wi-Fi.
- Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Photos.
- Toggle on Optimize iPhone Storage.
It may take some time for iCloud to optimize your photos and videos. Once the optimization process is complete, you will be able to see how much storage space you have saved by going to your iPhone Settings > General > iPhone Storage menu.
Overall, enabling the Optimize iPhone Storage feature is a good way to improve the performance and reliability of your iPhone, including its ability to open attachments.
If you’re still having trouble opening attachments with this feature enabled, try turning this option off to download full attachments vs just placeholders. Then see if the attached files open correctly.
4. Update iOS Software
If you are still having trouble opening an attachment on your iPhone, the next thing you should do is try updating iOS to the latest version available.
- You can check for updates to iOS by going to your iPhone Settings > General > Software Update. Follow the rest of the onscreen prompts to download and install available updates.
Updating iOS can help deal with the problem on attachments that won’t open on iPhone in a few ways:
- Bug fixes. Apple regularly releases updates to iOS to fix bugs in the operating system. If you are having trouble opening an attachment, it is possible that there is a bug in iOS that is preventing it from opening. Updating iOS may fix the bug and allow you to open the attachment.
- New features. Apple also releases updates to iOS to add new features to the operating system. Some of these new features may be related to opening attachments. For example, an iOS update may add a new feature that allows you to open attachments in a variety of file formats.
- Improved compatibility. Apple also releases updates to iOS to improve the compatibility of the operating system with third-party apps. If you are having trouble opening an attachment in a third-party app, it is possible that the app is not compatible with the version of iOS that you are running. Updating iOS may improve its compatibility with the app and allow you to open the attachment.
In general, it is a good idea to keep your iPhone’s software up to date. This can help to improve its performance, reliability, and security. It can also help to fix bugs and improve compatibility with third-party apps.
Contact Apple Support
For ongoing attachment issues, contact Apple Support for further help troubleshooting. They can look at your specific device logs and provide tailored solutions.
You can reach out to them via phone, online chat, or by scheduling a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store. Don’t let troublesome attachments go unchecked – focused troubleshooting can get them opening smoothly again on your iPhone.