How do I fix my iPhone when it says unable to share photos?

It can be incredibly frustrating when you try to share photos from your iPhone only to get an error message saying something like “Unable to Share Photos” or “Sharing Failed.” Photos are made to be shared, so not being able to easily send them to friends and family defeats much of the purpose of having a camera in your pocket at all times.

Fortunately, there are a number of potential solutions for getting photo sharing working again on your iPhone. The inability to share photos is usually caused by a software glitch rather than a hardware problem, so you just need to try a few troubleshooting steps to get it fixed.

Common Causes of Photo Sharing Issues

Here are some of the most common reasons the iPhone would display “Unable to Share Photos” or another error when trying to send pictures:

Software bug An iOS bug is preventing sharing. Rebooting and updating iOS may help.
Full storage Not enough free space on the iPhone to store temporary share files.
App issues The sharing extensions from apps have become corrupted.
Outdated apps One or more apps need to be updated.
Jailbreak issues Jailbreaking caused problems with photo permissions.

As you can see, most sharing failures come down to software glitches as opposed to hardware problems. The storage on your iPhone filling up can also prevent temporary share files from being created and sent out.

Fortunately, the solutions tend to be quick and straightforward in most cases. Rebooting the iPhone, updating iOS and apps, freeing up storage, and checking app permissions typically gets photo sharing working again.

Step 1: Force Restart the iPhone

The first troubleshooting step to try when faced with sharing errors is to force restart the iPhone. A simple reboot will clear out any temporary glitches that could be preventing sharing.

Here is how to force restart any iPhone model:

iPhone 8 or earlier Hold down the Power and Home buttons together until the screen goes black and the Apple logo appears.
iPhone X or later Hold down the Side button and either Volume button until the screen goes black and the Apple logo appears.

Give the iPhone 30-60 seconds after the reboot for all the apps and processes to load up, then try sharing a photo again. This reboot clears out system memory, stops any apps or processes that may be hung, and restarts the sharing services.

If a simple restart fixes it, then you had a temporary glitch or app conflict that the reboot cleared up. However, if the sharing still fails after the forced restart, move on to the next steps.

Force Restarting the iPhone Quick Fixes

– Reboots fix temporary software glitches hanging up sharing.

– Clears system memory and stops any frozen apps or processes.

– Gets core iPhone services working properly again.

– Should be the first troubleshooting step for any minor iPhone issue.

Step 2: Update iOS Software

If rebooting did not get photo sharing working again, the next step is to update your iPhone’s iOS software. Bug fixes, security updates, and performance improvements that come with iOS updates can resolve sharing issues.

To update iOS:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap General, then tap Software Update.

3. Install any available updates and allow the iPhone to restart.

You want to make sure your iPhone is running the absolute latest version of iOS. Major updates like iOS 16 often fix bugs that caused problems like sharing failures in earlier iOS versions.

Install both major iOS updates and smaller “dot” updates like iOS 16.0.2. Keeping iOS completely up to date prevents many issues.

Updating iOS Fixes

– Installs bug fixes for sharing and other issues.

– Patches security flaws that may allow sharing failures.

– Provides performance improvements.

– Keeps all built-in apps up to date.

– Only takes a few minutes to check and install updates.

Step 3: Update Apps

Outdated third-party apps can also cause sharing failures, even if iOS itself is up to date. If updating iOS did not get photo sharing working reliably again, your next step should be to update any apps installed on your iPhone.

The process to update apps is:

1. Open the App Store.

2. Tap your user icon in the top-right corner.

3. Scroll down and tap App Updates.

4. Install any available app updates.

Check for updates to messaging apps, social media apps, photo editing apps, or any others related to taking and sharing photos. Updating third-party apps gets bug fixes, eliminates sharing issues caused by the apps, and keeps all features current.

Updating Apps Fixes

– Gets bug fix updates from third-party developers.

– Fixes any sharing bugs in messaging apps.

– Ensures sharing extensions work properly.

– Only takes a minute to check for and install app updates.

Step 4: Free Up Storage Space

If your iPhone says it’s unable to share photos even after updating iOS and apps, the next troubleshooting area is the storage space on your device. Sharing requires temporary storage space to create copies of photos to send.

If your iPhone’s storage is completely full, it may not have the necessary free space to create these temporary sharing files. Deleting unused apps, messages, and photos makes more storage available.

To free up storage space:

1. Open Settings > General > iPhone Storage.

2. Review which apps and data are using the most space.

3. Delete unused apps, messages, and photos.

Aim to have at least 500MB – 1GB or more of free space after deleting items and files stored on your device. This provides enough temporary room to create copies of photos to share.

Freeing Up Storage Fixes

– Allows temporary storage space for sharing files.

– Prevents the “Storage Full” warning that blocks sharing.

– Quickly delete apps, messages, photos, and videos you no longer need.

– Get in the habit of regularly managing your iPhone storage.

Step 5: Check App Permissions

Photo sharing requires apps to have access to your photos and camera roll. If App permissions got changed or corrupted, apps may no longer have the access they need to share photos.

Go through and verify the app permissions for any apps related to messaging, social sharing, and photo editing. Ensure they still have proper access to your photos and camera roll.

To check and adjust app permissions:

1. Open Settings > Privacy.

2. Select Photos or Camera.

3. Check that any relevant apps are toggled on to allow access.

4. Toggle off then on again if needed to reset permissions.

Grant photo access permissions to apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Messages, and any photo editing apps on your iPhone. Proper access allows them to share directly from your camera roll.

Checking App Permissions Fixes

– Confirms apps have required photo gallery permissions.

– Quickly reset permissions that became corrupted.

– Prevents sharing failures caused by unauthorized access.

– Simple privacy setting check could get sharing working again.

Step 6: Turn iCloud Photo Sharing On or Off

iCloud Photo Sharing specifically allows you to share photos and albums directly from iCloud storage. If this feature is accidentally disabled, it could prevent you from sharing photos.

Double check that iCloud Photo Sharing is enabled in your iCloud account settings. To verify:

1. Open Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud.

2. Under Apps Using iCloud, check if Photos is toggled on.

3. If needed, toggle Photos off then on again.

You can also try toggling iCloud Photo Sharing off completely, then turn it back on after a few minutes. This resets the service and forces it to re-sync your photos.

Turning iCloud Photo Sharing off and back on again may clear up any issues that caused sharing to stop working properly, getting photos sharing directly from iCloud storage again.

iCloud Photo Sharing Fixes

– Confirms Photos app has proper iCloud access.

– Toggling on/off resets iCloud Photo Sharing service.

– Rules out issues caused specifically by iCloud sharing.

– Quick setting check to enable photo sharing from iCloud.

Step 7: Disable VPN or Proxy Services

If you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or proxy service on your iPhone, it could interfere with sharing capabilities. These services route your traffic through external servers that could block sharing.

As a test, temporarily turn off or disconnect any VPN or proxy services enabled on your device. Then try sharing photos again normally.

If sharing starts working properly again with the VPN disabled, you know that was the cause of the problem. You may need to configure your VPN/proxy service to allow photo sharing or use a different server.

Some steps to disable VPNs and proxies:

– Open Settings, tap VPN, and switch off any enabled VPNs.

– Turn off the Proxy setting under Wi-Fi on your iPhone.

– Temporarily uninstall any VPN or proxy apps.

– Disconnect from a VPN service through its app.

Disabling VPNs/Proxies Fixes

– Removes blockades from sharing traffic through external servers.

– Checks if VPN or proxy settings are causing sharing failures.

– Quick way to test normal sharing connectivity directly.

– Can help determine if VPN/proxy needs different configuration.

Step 8: Reset Network Settings

Resetting your iPhone’s network settings may clear up sharing issues by wiping any problematic network connection info. This forces your device to freshly reestablish mobile, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connections from scratch.

To reset network settings:

1. Open Settings > General > Reset.

2. Tap Reset Network Settings.

3. Enter your passcode if prompted.

This will erase all network connections, so you’ll have to rejoin Wi-Fi networks and set up Bluetooth again. However, it eliminates any conflicts that may have been preventing successful photo sharing over the network.

Resetting Network Settings Fixes

– Removes any corrupt network configuration information.

– Obliterates old Wi-Fi details causing conflicts.

– Gets a fresh start establishing connections.

– Quick way to rule out network issues for sharing.

Step 9: Update iCloud Storage Plan

If you utilize iCloud storage for your photos, an insufficient or outdated iCloud data plan could potentially interfere with sharing.

Check that you’re subscribed to an iCloud storage amount that can handle the size of your photo library. Updating to a higher iCloud data allotment ensures ample syncing capabilities.

To update your iCloud storage:

1. Open Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Manage Storage.

2. Tap Upgrade iCloud Storage.

3. Choose a larger storage option.

Increasing iCloud space for backups and photo storage guarantees optimal performance. This removes limits that may have hindered remote sharing capabilities.

Updating iCloud Storage Fixes

– Allows full-resolution photos and video to sync online.

– Prevents “Storage Full” messages that disrupt sharing.

– Enables larger iCloud backups containing photo data.

– Quick way to verify you have sufficient iCloud capacity.

Step 10: Check Cellular Data/Wi-Fi Connection

Weak cellular data or Wi-Fi connections can disrupt successful photo sharing. Check that you have a strong signal and stable bandwidth.

Try the following connection troubleshooting steps:

– Move closer to a Wi-Fi router or cellular tower.

– Disable Wi-Fi and use mobile data instead (or vice versa).

– Turn Airplane Mode on/off to reset connectivity.

– Forget then rejoin problematic Wi-Fi networks.

– Wait until you have a stronger signal to share photos.

Verifying you have the best possible cellular and Wi-Fi connections removes a frequent sharing obstacle. Photo sharing requires consistent bandwidth.

Checking Connections Fixes

– Confirms cellular data and Wi-Fi are performing optimally.

– Helps determine if a weak signal is disrupting sharing.

– Shows if switching between Wi-Fi and mobile data helps.

– Quick way to rule out connectivity problems.


When your iPhone shows errors trying to share photos, it’s usually caused by a software glitch rather than a hardware defect that requires expensive repairs. Following troubleshooting tips like force restarting, updating iOS and apps, managing storage, resetting settings, and checking connections will get photo sharing working properly again in most cases.

Patience and persistence is key – don’t stop after trying just one or two troubleshooting steps. Run through all of the recommended fixes, as the solution could be any one of them. The good news is once you get photo sharing operational again, it usually continues working fine for a long time before other issues pop up.

If for some reason you still can’t get photo sharing functional after exhausting all software troubleshooting, your last resort may be to try deleting and reinstalling apps, or even erasing all content and settings from your iPhone as a factory reset. Back up your data first before taking those steps. Photo sharing is important for capturing memories and staying connected, so take the time needed to get it fixed.