Fix: Google Photos shows blank photos

Google Photos is popular because it’s convenient. It allows you to access all your photos from all your devices with literally one tap. The idea is simple in design, and it should work flawlessly, right? Well, issues occur, more or less often. Because Google Photos on your Android phone is still just an app. The particular problem we’re talking about in this article is when Google Photos shows blank photos.

It may not be a big and complicated issue, but it sure is annoying. So, if you just see blank containers when you open Google Photos, check out the following solutions. I hope you’ll resolve the problem.

Table of contents:

  1. Change the page style
  2. Check your internet connection
  3. Check the Data Saver
  4. Clear the app cache and data
  5. Update Google Photos
  6. Reinstall Google Photos

Solution 1 – Change the page style

Sometimes, solving the problem could be as simple as changing the Gallery layout. A certain bug might have occurred, causing photos to appear blank. Just try a different layout, and the problem might magically disappear.

To change the Gallery layout in the Google Photos app, tap the three dots in the search bar, go to Layout, and change one of the Layouts (Day view, Month view, or Comfortable view).

Solution 2 – Check your internet connection

If your internet connection is unstable or ‘weak’, Google Photos might not be able to display all your photos properly, especially if they’re all on the cloud, and not in your device storage.

So, before moving on, make sure you’re properly connected to the internet. In case you notice any issues, check out this article for additional solutions.

Solution 3 – Disable Data Saver

Speaking of the internet connection, if you’re on a cellular network with the Data Saver on, Google Photos might not work properly, because it’ll try to save as much data as possible. So, if you want to access your photos while using the cellular data, go on and disable Data Saver.

Just keep in mind, accessing Google Photos without a data saver can eat up a huge chunk of your data if you have a lot of photos/videos to upload, so handle it with care.

Here’s how to disable Data Saver in Android:

  1. Go to Settings > Network & internet.
  2. Tap Data usage > Data Saver.
  3. Disable the Use Data Saver option.

Solution 4 – Clear the app cache and data

I know clearing the app cache and data is a generic solution, but it definitely helps sometimes. So, it won’t hurt if you try it, in case no other workaround resolves the issue.

Here’s how to clear Google Photo cache in Android:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Head over to Apps or Apps Manager (depending on your phone).
  3. Find Photos.
  4. Tap Storage.
  5. Tap Clear cache.
  6. If clearing cache doesn’t resolve the problem, you can come back and Clear storage (data). Just keep in mind this will completely reset the app, and you’ll have to set it up from scratch again.
  7. While in App Info settings, you can also tap on the 3-dots menu and uninstall updates if clearing data didn’t solve your problem.

Solution 5 – Update Google Photos

Updates solve problems! That’s the main purpose of an update, besides improving an app’s functionality and features. There’s a chance the problem with blank photos was caused by the very last update you installed, and the next update will deal with it. So, just make sure the Google Photos app and all other Google apps are up to date.

That’s about it. I hope at least one of these solutions helped you resolve the problem with blank photos in Google Photos. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to write them down in the comments below.

Solution 6 – Some additional solutions

Finally, we have a few more steps to suggest. Check them out and, if nothing helps, report the problem to Google, here.

Some additional things to check:

  • Check Trash and Archive.
  • Check Storage permission for Google Photos in Settings > Apps > Google Photos > Permissions.
  • Inspect device folders that are set to back up. Open Google Photos > Profile icon > Photos settings. Once there, open Back up & sync > Back up device folders.
  • Wait until Google sorts things out. Some users report that they stopped seeing blank photos after some time. Your photos are, Google Support claims, completely safe and this is a temporary problem specifically present on Google Photos for Web.

This article is a part of our Google Photos coverage. If you want to learn more Google Photos tips and tricks, or you have a certain problem with this app, visit our Google Photos Hub for more content.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2019. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

If you just learned something new about your phone, and want more of that, subscribe to our newsletter.

We guarantee 100% privacy. Your name/email address will never be shared.

Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
July 13, 2021 7:23 pm

I currently have one folder of blank squares. Thankfully, it’s nothing major, only about ten photos. But the thought that I could possibly lose all my photos – My memories – due to some stupid glitch is deeply unsettling. I think am going to download Amazon Photos as a back-up app (A back-up to my back-up??)

April 30, 2021 2:18 am

Nothing helped – tried all of the above (except clearing storage as it said it would delete everything). Now with the updated app it only shows grey boxes until feb – so the last 3 months I can only access through file searching but not through the app. I have a google phone so that’s the only picture app I have – it is bad – also my recordings are gone too.

I need a tip that can solve this please.

Ghislaine Maith
Ghislaine Maith
September 8, 2020 3:57 am

I have an old galaxy s3 that have photos in the google photos that is not showing up on my galaxy s9 in the google photos. I went in and saw that it did not sync right. I had the galaxy s3 back in 2009 do i did not realize it at the time that it did not sync. I am able to view the pictures but a lot of them are grey boxes. I took it to the sprint/t mobile store and he wanted to update my google app to see if that would help. I stopped him because… Read more »

Kamel Zeineddin
Kamel Zeineddin
August 6, 2020 9:55 am

I have the same problem, All photos from a certain date and earlier are all black. I tried to open them from Desktop and Android application, but the problem still the same.
Is there any other solution I can try, through windows for example?

Leif Erickson
Leif Erickson
February 29, 2020 11:14 am

Thanks! Updating got it working for me.