How to Fix iCloud Photo Link Not Working

fix iCloud Photo Link not working

Find that the iCloud Photo link that you share is not working?

Using iCloud Photo links are a WHOLE LOT simple and less tedious than having to share one by one each photo to whoever you’re sending to.

Also for the people that receive our photos, it’s much more convenient for them to access the link rather than download the large images to their devices. 🙂

The problem is sometimes the iCloud photo link just doesn’t work.

There are a few methods to go over to get the iCloud photo link working again and specifically in this guide I’ll go over those “methods” and try and help you sort it out.

Let’s dive right in.




1. Make Sure Everything Is in Place.

The very first thing you need to do is to make sure that iOS 12 is installed.

You would not want to have your iPhone or iPad be on an older iOS version. It is because iCloud Photo links are not available with the older versions of iOS.

You can check if your iPhone or iPad is on iOS 12 by jumping into your Settings app and then tapping General.


fix iCloud Photo Link not working


Next tap on About.


fix iCloud Photo Link not working


You should see the Software Version that your device is on.


fix iCloud Photo Link not working


Once you make sure that your iOS version is iOS 12, next you need to double-check that both your iCloud Photo (iCloud Photo Library) and Shared Albums options are enabled.

You can do this by jumping into your Settings app and then scroll down until you see Photos. Tap on Photos.


fix iCloud Photo Link not working


Next, make sure under iCloud that iCloud Photos is enabled as well as Shared Albums is enabled.


fix iCloud Photo Link not working



Like a carton of milk, your iCloud Photo Link has its expiration date. 🍼 (i couldn’t find an emoji for a “carton of milk”)

This expiration date lasts for 30 days as soon as the link is sent.

Once after the 30 days, the link expires, and the person that you had sent it to will not be able to access any photos as it will no longer appear.

So if you get that the sender tells you “dude, I’m getting a “Failed to Retrieve” error, then that is most likely the case.


Failed to Retrieve


Take note that none of your photos will be deleted. You can check this by logging into with the email address that you use for your Apple ID and then check if all the photos are still there.


fix iCloud Photo Link not working


So what do you do if your iCloud photo link expires?

Simple. Just resend those photos as a brand, new iCloud Photo link. 🙂



3. Are You on Low Power Mode?

You may have tried to open an iCloud Photo link, but you get stuck on the loading of the actual images with an endless “Waiting for photos” message.

The truth is, there are three reasons why it the issue persists, and that could be because of three things:

  1. Network error
  2. Slow internet connection
  3. Your device is on Low Power Mode.


I will get into (1) and (2) in the next few methods, but specifically, the latter (3) is a common fault for why your iCloud Photo link is not working as it is supposed to.

This is because when your device is low on battery, it turns on a mode called Low Power mode — which inherently limits the loading of images in the background and subsequently causes the images to take a longer time to load or maybe even not load at all.

So what you should try to do is charge up your iPhone or iPad and as soon as it has enough battery life to stay out of low power mode zone.

Once you’ve done that, try to download those photos again or send another iCloud Photo link.



4. Making Sure That Wi-Fi Is Not the Issue.

Receiving a “Network unavailable, please try again later” error means that the problem is with your cellular or WiFi connection.


Network unavailable, please try again later


Make sure that your device has a decent cellular connection.

If you are relying on your Wi-Fi, then make sure the WiFi is connected correctly and that it works.



5. It Could Just Very Well be Apple.

There is always an off-chance that Apple themselves are having a problem.

You can check if Apple is experiencing an issue or if they have downtime by jumping into Apple’s System Status page where it shows the status of each of their platforms and systems.


Apple System Status


6. Resetting Your Network Settings.

Resetting your device’s Network Settings helps to patch up any network related bugs. A bug that affects your Network Settings can impact the sending and receiving of iCloud Photo links.

It’s pretty easy to reset your network settings.

Jump into your Settings app and then tap General.


fix iCloud Photo Link not working


Next, tap on the Reset.


fix iCloud Photo Link not working


Lastly, tap Reset Network Settings.


Reset Network Settings


And ta-da! You’ve successfully reset your device’s Network Settings. Now that is done, try reconnecting back to your WiFi (you’ll be prompted to enter the WiFi password).

Alternatively, you can also use your cellular connection to do this.

Try once again to send or receive the iCloud photo link and check if it works.


7. Get in Touch with Apple.

If worse come to worst, you find that there is no problem with Apple and you’re starting to get worried if there might be a serious problem with your device, try reaching out to Apple via their online support.

You can also go to your nearest Apple Store and ask them directly.

All in all, the methods above should help get the issue fixed once and for all.

You can go through the comments posted by readers down below to see if any of their suggestions come of help. 🙂


Don’t forget to share this guide!


  1. I tried all the steps above. Still have the same problem. Just sitting there with the message: “Waiting for 4 Photos…” Network was reset, version 12+, no network issues, not an Apple problem as its been like this for months.

  2. None of the steps work above. The persons I sent link to can’t download. They get “photos not available”.

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