The iPhone Email Content Is Not Loading

By Carol Finch

Learn how to troubleshoot an iPhone that won't download email content or that has problems downloading emails.

Even if your iPhone downloads emails, you may not be able to read the content if they don't load correctly. Emails may download to the Mail app but show an error message and no content, or emails with attachments may seem to load OK, but you can't open the attached files. Sometimes, your iPhone doesn't download messages to your Inbox at all. Because an email problem usually doesn't have an obvious cause, you may have to follow several troubleshooting steps to fix it.


  • If an email downloads but doesn't allow you to view an attachment or see all content, swipe down to the bottom of the message. If you see a notification to Download Full Message, tap it and the content should load fully.
  • The iPhone's operating system supports various file attachments in Mail, including MS Office extensions, PDFs and some image files. If an email won't allow you to open an attachment, the file may be unsupported, and you may need to download a third-party app to view its content.

Check the iPhone's Connection

If the iPhone has no signal or has a weak or intermittent cellular or Wi-Fi connection, it may not be able to load emails. Check the signal and switch the way you connect:

  1. If you're using a cellular connection, look at the circles at the top of the screen; for Wi-Fi, look at the bars on the fan icon. If you have a signal, the circles or bars are white. If  they're all grayed out, you don't have a connection; if only a couple are white, the signal may be too weak to download emails, especially if they have big attachments.
  2. If you're using a cellular connection, switch to using Wi-Fi. If you're using Wi-Fi, try cellular.


  • If you aren't sure how strong the signal is, open Safari and load a Web page. If the page opens OK, the connection is fine; if it takes longer than usual or won't open, the iPhone has a connection problem that may also be affecting your email downloads. If the signal doesn't improve, contact your service provider to see if it has an outage or known technical problem.
  • Check Apple's System Status page  to see if there are any outages or ongoing problems that may be affecting your email.
  • If the iPhone is in Airplane Mode, it won't retrieve emails. If you've recently used the mode on a flight, check that you turned it off.
  • You can use Airplane Mode to refresh the iPhone's connections. TapSettings and then tap the Airplane Mode slider to turn it on. When you see theairplane icon at the top of the screen, tap the slider off. TheiPhone will reconnect, possibly fixing a connection glitch.

Check the Mail App

Sometimes, the iPhone's Mail app develops a problem that prevents it from downloading correctly. First, refresh the Inbox by pulling down its screen. This forces the app to check for new mail and may make it download. If this doesn't work, close the app and reopen it.

Step 1

Press the Home button to close the Mail app.

Step 2

Double-tap the Home button to open the background screen of apps you recently closed. Although you closed Mail on the screen, it still appears in this recently opened app list. To shut Mail down completely, go to the app in the list and swipe it up to close it.

Step 3

Restart Mail and wait to see if it downloads correctly.

Restart the iPhone

Turning the iPhone off and on again may clear a glitch that is making the Mail app unable to download emails.

Hold down the Sleep/Wake button until the Slide to Power Off message appears on the screen. Swipe the slider and wait for the iPhone to power down. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button to restart.


If restarting the iPhone doesn't work, reset the handset. Hold down both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons and release them when the Apple logo shows on the screen. Wait for the iPhone to reset and restart.

Delete and Reload the Email Account

Delete the Email Account

Step 1

Open the Mail, Contacts and Calendars menu.

Tap Settings and open Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

Step 2

Select Delete Account to start the deletion process.

Tap the account's name in the Accounts area to open its menu and select Delete Account.

Step 3

Tap Delete From My iPhone to remove the account

Tap Delete From My iPhone to confirm the deletion.


It's worth shutting down and restarting the iPhone before reinstalling the email account. This may clear a residual glitch with the account.

Reinstall the Email Account

Step 1

Tap Add Account to begin the reinstall.

Tap Settings and open the Mail, Contacts, Calendars menu. Tap Add Account in the Accounts area.

Step 2

Select a default account from the list or tap Other.

If your email provider is in the default list, tap its name. To add another account, tap Other. Follow the instructions to add the account.


If emails are still not downloading, check their account settings against Apple's recommended settings. Tap Settings and open Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Tap the account to open its menu and then tap its name to see current settings. Go to Apple's Mail Settings Lookup tool and enter your email address. Check Apple's settings against those on the iPhone. If they don't match, tap a setting on the iPhone to change it.

If you're only experiencing download problems with one email account, delete and reinstall it. Before you begin, make a note of the account's password; you need it to verify the account when you reinstall.