Top 9 Ways to Fix Gmail App Not Downloading Attachments

There is no drought of email apps on Android and iOS. Gmail remains the top pick for many, thanks to Google Meet, Google Chat integration, Smart Reply, Smart Compose, and email organization via Labels. It’s not error-free, though. Many have faced delayed notifications, Gmail not showing new emails, or not downloading attachments on mobile.

Gmail not downloading attachments

You can’t check your bank statements, invoices, recipients, credit card bills, or accounting files when the Gmail app fails to download the attachment. Before you ask the recipient to send attachments on instant messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram, use the tricks below to fix the ‘failed to download the attachment’ error on the Gmail app.

1. Check the Network Connection

First, check the internet connectivity on your phone. If your phone has network connection issues, it can’t download attachments from Gmail. As a temporary workaround, you can enable Airplane mode on your phone and disable it.

Android users can swipe down from the home screen and toggle on Airplane mode. If you have an iPhone, swipe down from the top right corner and enable Airplane mode from the Control Center.

Enable airplane mode on Android

If your iPhone or Android keeps disconnecting from Wi-Fi, read our dedicated troubleshooting guides to fix the problem.  

2. Restart Gmail

You can restart Gmail and try downloading the attachment again. The steps to restart Gmail remains the same on Android and iOS.

Step 1: Swipe up and hold from the bottom to open the recent apps menu.

Step 2: Swipe up on Gmail to close the app.  

Force close Gmail

3. Save Gmail Attachments

When you tap on an attachment, Gmail opens the file on phone. It doesn’t automatically download the attachment to the device storage. You need to save the file manually.


Step 1: Open Gmail app on your iPhone and select an email.

open gmail attachment on iPhone

Step 2: Tap on an attachment. Hit the Share icon at the top and tap ‘Save to Files.’

Save attachment to Files

Step 3: Save the attachment to a relevant folder with a new name and tag.

Save Gmail files on iPhone


Step 1: Launch the Gmail app on your phone and open an email.

Step 2: Tap the download button to save the file or upload it to Google Drive.

Download Gmail attachment on Android

Step 3: You can open the attachment and tap the three-dot menu in the top right corner. Select Download.

Download Gmail attachments

You can find the file from the Downloads folder in the default file manager app.

4. Enable Mobile Data for Gmail (iPhone)

Did you disable mobile data permission for Gmail on iPhone? Gmail fails to download attachments until you connect to a Wi-Fi network or enable mobile data access.

Step 1: Open the Settings app and scroll to Gmail.

Step 2: Enable the Mobile Data toggle and try downloading the attachment again.

Enable mobile data for Gmail

5. Check Gmail Servers

When Gmail servers face an outage, you may encounter issues with downloading attachments. You can visit Downdetector and search for Gmail. You can check high outage graphs and user comments complaining about the same. You’ll need to wait for Google to fix server-side issues and try after a couple of hours.

6. Ask the Recipient to Send an Email Again

If the recipient has sent a corrupt attachment over email, Gmail may face issues with opening and downloading the file. You can simply ask the recipient to send the email again.

7. Check for the Attachment Password

Your bank statements and credit card bills come protected with a password to prevent unauthorized access. When you open or download such attachments, the file asks for a combination of letters and numbers to access it. Usually, companies send the password combination instructions with the email. You can read the email, look for the relevant password, and use it open and save the attachment.

Password protect Gmail files

If you want to do the same, read our dedicated post to password-protect PDF files on Windows and Mac.

8. Update Gmail

If you have an old Gmail app on your phone, you may face issues with downloading attachments. You can update Gmail to the latest version from the App Store or Google Play Store and access your attachments without issue.

9. Use Another Email Client

Does Gmail still give you trouble with attachments? You can always ditch Google’s email app and move to some of the best alternatives. Microsoft Outlook is one such app with a Calendar, Tasks, Contacts, and neat email management. You can’t go wrong with the default Mail app on iPhone and the Spark email app.

Check Your Email Attachments

You can use the Gmail web to download attachments. Thanks to a smooth integration with Google Drive, you can upload attachments to your Drive account and access them from everywhere.

You can also download relevant apps (PDF reader, Word, PPT viewer, etc.) on your phone to view saved files on the go.

Last updated on 08 May, 2023

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