How to fix “An error occurred while downloading a higher quality version of this photo” on iPhone

If you use iCloud Photos on your iPhone, the Photos app can save bandwidth and space by displaying low-resolution thumbnails. It will still show high-quality versions of the photos, but only if you select them.

The “An error occurred downloading a higher quality version of this photo” pop-up appears when your iPhone is having trouble downloading the original photo from Apple’s servers. The problem is usually limited to a handful of images.

While the error message doesn’t reveal the reason behind the problem, working your way through the list of troubleshooting tips and fixes below should help sort things out.

Airplane Mode On/Off

Airplane Mode turns off Wi-Fi and cellular radio on iPhone and helps resolve minor connectivity issues that prevent iPhone from connecting to iCloud Photos.

Open Setting app on your iPhone and turn on Airplane mode. Wait up to 10 seconds before turning off.

Airplane mode switch

Force quit and reopen Photos app

In some cases, the Photos app may malfunction and stop loading photos and videos correctly. Force quit and reload often helps to fix that.

Start by swiping up from the bottom edge of the screen. If you use an iPhone with Touch ID, double-tap Home instead. Then select and drag Picture to the top edge of the screen to force quit it.

Swipe up gesture

Wait a few seconds and open the Photos app again. Check if the problem “An error occurred while downloading a higher quality version of this photo” recurrence or not.

Check System Status Page

The Photos app may also be unable to fetch higher quality images from iCloud due to a server-side issue.

Go to Apple’s System Status page and check the status next to it Picture. If you see any of the issues listed, you have to wait until Apple resolves them. That process can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more.

Apple's System Status Page

Lease Renewal / Router Restart

If the message “An error occurred while downloading a higher quality version of this photo” is displayed over Wi-Fi, go ahead and renew your iPhone’s IP lease. If that doesn’t work, try restarting the router. Both of these actions usually get rid of weird errors that appear on the router side. You can also switch to another Wi-Fi connection entirely to see if that works.

Enable unlimited mobile data for photos

If you primarily rely on your mobile plan to connect to the internet, you must give the Photos app unrestricted access to mobile data. That helps minimize download-related issues.

Go Setting > Picture > Mobile data and turn on the switch next to it Unlimited Updates.

Unlimited update conversion

Restart your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone is another way to fix random errors in the Photos app. Pass Setting > Shared and choose Turn off. Then pull Power on the right and wait 30 seconds before pressing and holding Edge to restart the device.

Slide to power off icon

Free up internal memory

Less free storage is another reason “An error occurred while loading a higher quality version of this photo” showing up on the iPhone Photos app.

Go Setting > Shared > iPhone Memory and offload or delete unnecessary apps. You can also use any of the storage suggestions in your iPhone’s Storage screen to reclaim pieces of memory occupied by iMessage attachments, Apple TV downloads, etc.

Switch to Download and Keep Original

If you’ve configured your iPhone to automatically delete the original photo — and low-resolution placeholder — when it’s low on storage, go to Setting > iCloud Photos and choose Download and keep the original.

That will force the Photos app to download and keep the originals locally. Make sure there is enough free space on your iPhone before you do that.

Download and Keep Original Button

Update your iPhone’s system software

If you’re running an early iteration of a major iOS update (such as iOS 14.0), you must immediately upgrade your iPhone to the latest version of the system software. That alone can solve a lot of known bugs and problems.

Go Setting > Shared > Software updates to install the latest version of your iPhone’s system software.

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<h2><span class=Delete and restore photos

An unusual way to download a high-quality version of an image without problems is to delete and restore it.

Press and hold a photo and tap Remove from Library. Then go to Recently deleted Below Album for image recovery.

Long press menu with Delete from Library and Restore options

Turn off low data mode

Low data mode imposes various network-related restrictions on iPhone and prevents apps — such as Photos — from communicating with the internet correctly. Try disabling it.

Wi-Fi – Disable Low Data Mode

Open Setting application and select WIFI. Then tap Information icon next to an active Wi-Fi Internet connection and turn off the switch next to it Low data mode.

Cellular – Turn off low data mode

Open Setting app and go to Mobile > Mobile data options. Then turn off the side switch Low data mode.

Turn off low power mode

Low Power mode is another thing that prevents apps from working optimally. Go Setting > Battery and turn off the side switch Low energy mode to disable it.

Low power mode is switched to off

Reset Network Settings

Resetting network settings on your iPhone helps fix corrupted profiles that are causing internet connection problems. To do that, go to Setting > Shared > Reset and choose Reset Network Settings.

You must manually reconnect to any Wi-Fi networks after the reset procedure. However, your cellular settings should update automatically — if that doesn’t happen, contact your carrier.

Network Settings Reset Button

Log out/Login back in to iPhone

If you’re still having issues, try signing out and back in with your Apple ID. Go Setting > Apple ID > Log out. Then enter your Apple ID password, choose to keep a local copy of data, and press Log out again.

Sign Out Button

Once you’ve done that, restart your iPhone, sign back into the device, and open the Photos app. Chances are, your photos and videos will start loading correctly.

Are you still having problems? Use iCloud.com

The fixes above may have helped resolve the “An error occurred while loading a higher quality version of this photo” issue on iPhone. If not, chances are you’re running into a problem that’s out of your control. Try accessing photos via iCloud.com until Apple gets things sorted out with a system or server-side software update.

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