How to Fix Load Content Error in iOS 15

Fix this error while maintaining your privacy settings

If you're running iOS 15 or higher on your iPhone or iPad and are using particular security and privacy features, you may sometimes get a content load error in the iOS Mail app. This article explains what causes the error and what to do to fix it.

Why Does My iPhone Say "Unable to Load Content Privately?"

Apple debuted a security and privacy feature in iOS 15 designed to prevent advertisers from tracking you via email.

Mail Privacy Protection hides your device's IP address. Then marketers can't learn your physical location or connect your device's IP address to your other online activities to build an advertising profile of you.

Mail Privacy Protection can interfere with images and other email items loading correctly in some cases. Interference mostly happens when you're using Mail Privacy Protection and a VPN or iCloud Private Relay. In that situation, if the images and other content can't be loaded in a way that preserves your privacy, the "unable to load content privately" error appears, and the content doesn't load.

These privacy features are part of a more extensive set of security and privacy features Apple has been developing over the years. Some of the features you might have heard of are App Tracking Transparency and App Privacy Reports.

How to Fix Load Content Error in iOS 15

To fix the content load error in iOS 15, try these steps, in this order.

  1. Bypass the Error and Load the Content. The simplest solution is to tap the Load Content button at the top of the email, next to the error. It manually loads the images and other email content (for this email only; you can still get the load content error in other emails). When you tap this button, your IP address is not hidden from this email sender, though if you're using a VPN, the content loads through the VPN and should be protected.

  2. Turn Off Mail Privacy Protection. Don't like getting the "unable to load remote content privately" error all the time? You can disable Mail Privacy Protection. Just be aware you'll lose the privacy and anti-ad-tracking features. To disable the feature, go to Settings > Mail > Privacy Protection > move the Protect Mail Activity slider to off/white.

  3. Enable iCloud Private Relay on Your Wi-Fi Network. The content load error can sometimes be caused by Mail Privacy Protection interfering with content loading over a VPN or iCloud Private Relay. If you're using iCloud Private Relay, you can get around the error by enabling Private Relay for the Wi-Fi network you're using. To do that, go to Settings > Wi-Fi > tap the i next to the network you're connected to > move the Limit IP Address Tracking slider to on/green. (On some iOS 15 versions, the slider is labeled iCloud Private Relay.) Force quit the Mail app, re-open it, and the problem should be solved whenever you use this Wi-Fi network.

  4. Whitelist iOS Mail in Your Firewall or VPN App. Since security software like a VPN can cause this issue, you may want to adjust your VPN configuration to not interfere with Mail. Various security apps handle this differently, but many support adding apps to a "whitelist" that allows them to function normally. Try to add the iPhone's built-in Mail app to your VPN's safelist to resolve the issue.

  5. Disable Your Firewall or VPN Software. If safe listing Mail didn't work (or if your VPN doesn't support it), you may need to disable that software to stop the error from happening. Since disabling security software leaves your device unprotected, it's not a great trade-off. Still, if you want to take this drastic step, disabling the software is a different process depending on what app you're using.

  6. Update iOS. If you've tried all of these things and you're still getting the content load error, there may be a bug preventing content from loading correctly in Mail. In that case, your best bet is to install an iOS update that contains a fix for the bug. Go to Settings > General > Software Update to see if there's an update and, if there is, install it.

  7. Contact Apple For Support. Have you tried everything and still can't fix the error? Then it's time to bring in the experts: Apple. Contact Apple online for support or make an appointment at your closest Apple Store for in-person help.

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