Top 9 Ways to Fix Gmail App Not Downloading Attachments

There is no email app drought on Android and iOS. Gmail remains the best option for many, thanks to Google Meet, Google Chat integration, Smart Reply, Smart Compose, and email organization via labels. However, it is not free of errors. Many have faced delayed notifications, Gmail not showing new emails or not downloading attachments on mobile.

Gmail won't download attachments

You can’t check your bank statements, invoices, recipients, credit card bills, or accounting files when the Gmail app can’t 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 “failed to download attachment” error in Gmail app.

1. Check the network connection

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

Android users can swipe down from the home screen and turn on Airplane mode. If you have an iPhone, swipe down from the top right corner and enable Airplane mode from 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 to download the attachment again. The steps to reset Gmail remain 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 touch an attachment, Gmail opens the file on your phone. It does not automatically download the attached file to the device storage. You must save the file manually.


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

open gmail attachment on iphone

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

Save attachment to files

Step 3: Save the attachment in a relevant folder with a new name and label.

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 on the three-dot menu at the top right corner. Select Download.

Download Gmail Attachments

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

4. Enable mobile data for Gmail (iPhone)

Did you turn off mobile data permission for Gmail on iPhone? Gmail can’t download attachments until you connect to Wi-Fi or enable mobile data access.

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

Step 2: Enable the Mobile data option and try to download the attachment again.

Enable mobile data for Gmail

5. Check Gmail servers

When Gmail servers are facing an outage, you may have trouble downloading attachments. You can visit Downdetector and search for Gmail. You can check out the high cut charts and feedback from users who are complaining about the same. You’ll need to wait for Google to fix the server-side issues and try again after a couple of hours.

6. Ask the recipient to email again

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

7. Check the password of the attachment

Your bank statements and credit card bills are password protected 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, find the corresponding password, and use it to open and save the attached file.

Password protect Gmail files

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

8. Update Gmail

If you have an older Gmail app on your phone, you may have trouble downloading attachments. You can update Gmail to the latest version from the App Store or Google Play Store and access your attachments without any hassle.

9. Use another email client

Is Gmail still giving you problems with attachments? You can always ditch Google’s email app and move on to some of the better alternatives. Microsoft Outlook is one of those apps with 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 seamless integration with Google Drive, you can upload attachments to your Drive account and access them from anywhere.

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