What Does iPhone Pictures Loading Circle Mean?

Why photos on iPhone have a white circle? How to get rid of iPhone pictures loading circle? You will find the answers in this guide.


By Lena / Updated on June 13, 2023

Share this: instagram reddit

We can easily take great photos with the advanced camera of iPhone. In addition, we can edit photos in Photos app to make the photos much better. However, you suddenly noticed that there is one white circle in the lower right-hand corner on some of your photos. Well, you are not alone who meet the “iPhone pictures loading circle” error, many users have reported this problem before, like the picture shown below.

iPhone Pictures Loaing Circle

When the picture shows a circle, you cannot edit the picture, share it with others, or post it to social media app. This is a very annoying problem, but not insurmountable. It is very likely that the problem is caused by misconfiguration settings. Let’s start to solve this “iPhone pictures loading circle” problem now.

What Does Circle on iPhone Picture Mean?

If you see a small circle on the bottom right corner of the photo, it means that it’s waiting to download the fully rendered version from iCloud. Probably you will notice that if you see this circle, the picture is blurred. When that circle fills up it means that the picture has been downloaded in full resolution.

Why Does My Photos on iPhone Have a Circle?

There are many factors that may contribute to this “iPhone photos loading circle” problem, and below are some common causes.

● You have enabled Optimise iPhone Storage option. This is the most common reason. When this option is enabled, your photos are saved in iCloud and you can only see the thumbnails on your iPhone. When you tap the image, it will try to download the original image from iCloud so you will see the loading circle.
● Poor network connection. Viewing pictures from iCloud requires high-speed Internet. It will not be able to download photos from iCloud when there is no network connection or when the network condition is bad.
● iPhone does not have enough storage space. In order to show you the original photo, it will try to download the photo from iCloud on your iPhone. But you don't have enough space, then the picture can't be downloaded smoothly, so you will see the loading circle.

How to Fix iPhone Pictures Loading Circle Problem

It’s easy to get rid of the loading circle on iPhone pictures, you can try the following methods in turn until the problem is solved.

Tip 1. Turn on “Download and Keep Originals” Option

As we said before, the reason why "iPhone pictures loading circle" appears is that you have turned on the Optimize iPhone Storage option. When this option is enabled, all your photos are saved in iCloud. If you want to view those pictures, it will try to download them from iCloud.

To get rid of the loading circle, you can change the option from Optimize iPhone Storage to Download and Keep Originals. In this way, you can view photos directly on your iPhone.

Go to Settings > Tap [your name] > Tap iCloud > Tap Photos > Select Download and Keep Originals.

iCloud Photos

Then your iPhone will start downloading all your photos saved in iCloud. When the download is complete, you will be able to view these photos on iPhone as usual.

Tip 2. Make Sure You Have an Active Internet Connection

You should make sure that you have high-speed Internet. It requires a stable and active Internet connection to access content in iCloud. Otherwise, your iPhone will have trouble downloading pictures from iCloud, so you will see the loading circles on your pictures.

You can try to turn on and off Airplane mode or restart your router to refresh the connection. If you think you have a problem with your Wi-Fi, you can refer to this Top 10 Fixes to WiFi Not Working guide to get more solutions.

Check Router

Tip 3. Check iPhone Storage Space

When you find it is difficult to download pictures from iCloud, maybe you need to check if your iPhone has enough space to save these pictures. If there is not enough space, then your iPhone will not be able to download pictures from iCloud, so you will meet such "iPhone pictures loading circle" problem.

You can go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage to see what is taking up the memory space of your iPhone. It’s suggested to delete duplicate photos, offload some apps that are no longer in use, remove old messages or anything that’s occupying your iPhone memory.

iPhone Storage

Tip 4. Wait for the Photos to Load

When iCloud Photos is enabled, all your photos will be saved to iCloud. Every time you open a photo in an album, it needs to be downloaded to your iPhone so you can view it in full resolution. However, sometimes your iPhone may not load photos automatically due to software glitches or other reasons. At this point, you can take action to trigger the loading of all photos.

1. Open your Photos app and choose any photo which is loading.

2. Wait for photos to download, which may take longer than the usual loading time.

3. When the video has loaded, go back to the main screen of the Photos app and try to access other photos.

Tip 5. Access Your Photos in iCloud

Generally speaking, after trying all of the above methods, this "iPhone pictures loading circle" problem should go away. It may take some time to download all the photos. If you do not want to wait and want to use the photos immediately, you may go to iCloud.com to access your photos. You can download photos to computer and then transfer them to iPhone.

Download Photos from iCloud.com

1. Open a browser on your computer and open iCloud.com.

2. Enter your Apple ID and passcode to log in to your iCloud account.

3. After entering the website, click the Photos option to view all your photos saved in iCloud.

Photos in iCloud

4. Download photos to your computer.

Transfer Photos from Computer to iPhone

Once the image has been downloaded to your computer, you can choose to transfer photos from computer to iPhone. If you only want to transfer a few photos, just send them to yourself via email;  if you want to transfer a large number of photos, you can let the iOS transfer tool help you do it quickly.

Here we recommended FoneTool. It’s one professional iPhone data management tool for Windows users, which supports data transfer between iPhone and computer, between iPhone and another iPhone/iPad/iPod touch.

♦♦♦ With FoneTool, photos will be transferred to iPhone with their original quality without any compression. In addition, it will not erase any existing photos or any other data on iPhone. Below are the steps to transfer photos to iPhone.

1. Download, install and launch FoneTool.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

2. Connect iPhone to computer via USB cable and wait for FoneTool to recognize your iPhone.

3. Choose Phone TransferTransfer to iPhone option.

Transfer to iPhone

4. Click “+” to locate and choose the photos you downloaded from iCloud, or you can simply drag and drop photos to the box.

Choose Photos

5. Finally, click Start Transfer to start transferring photos to your iPhone.


Final Words

Optimize iPhone Storage is an option to save iPhone storage space. It only displays thumbnails of the photos, not the original photos. However, sometimes it does not load photos, so you will see the white circle.

To avoid such "iPhone pictures loading circle" problem, you can change the option from Optimize iPhone Storage to Download and Keep Originals. But please make sure your iPhone has enough space to store these photos.

PS: iCloud is not the only way to backup iPhone photos, you can choose to upload photos to Google Drive/Dropbox, or transfer photos to computer, external hard drive, flash drive via FoneTool.

Lena · Editor
Lena is an editor of FoneTool, she covers backup & restore, and phone data management and so on. She enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She takes most of time with her family when she is not working.