Most image files are saved in one of five file formats, with JPG, PNG, and TIFF being the most popular among them. JPG file format is mostly used for photographs, so much so that most digital cameras automatically save photos in this format. JPG also takes up less storage space when saving images to your hard drive. No matter the format, you want to know that photos you’ve taken or graphics you’ve created are saved properly and viewable at any time.
You may have encountered an issue where your JPG images are turning black when you attempt to open them using a program you’ve used hundreds of times before. There are a few reasons this could be happening:
- Application Issue
- Display Adapter/Driver Malfunction
- Software Update
- CMYK JPG
Most users experiencing this issue are using some version of Windows and the accompanying applications, but this issue could happen on any software. Of the possible causes we’ve listed, more than one component may be at fault. Let’s take a deeper look into these causes and lay out their step-by-step fixes.
Though most of the issues with JPG images turning black upon opening the file happen to Windows users, any of these causes and fixes could apply to Mac users. The steps may look different, but the result should yield the same results.
It’s possible to resave your JPG image as some other file format, like PNG or TIFF, and see if that fixes the issue, but there may be a legitimate reason why it’s in JPG format in the first place. Rather than changing the format and compromising something like needed storage space, try one of the workarounds and see if the issue gets resolved. Don’t try the fixes all at once, but go down the line one by one, checking the image after each one to see if it will display correctly before moving on to the next fix.
1. Application Issue
Nine times out of ten, the issue lies in the application you’re using to view the JPG image. Again, since most users with this issue are using Windows Photo Viewer or Microsoft Photos App, the fix will be focused on these applications. To figure out if it is an application issue, you can attempt to open up the image using another program. It doesn’t have to be as fancy as IrfanView or ImageGlass; you can open it in Paint and see if it opens correctly. You could even try viewing it on a website like placeit.net.
If the issue lies in Windows Photo Viewer or other image viewing applications, your best bet is to troubleshoot the application. Open up the control panel for the application and select the “Repair” option, then restart your computer and see if it fixes the issue. If not, you can take it a step further and reset the application or uninstall and reinstall. The course of action is dependent on the options in the control panel of the application. Either way, always restart the computer before attempting to reopen the application and bringing up your JPG image.
2. Display Adapter/Driver Malfunction
Your display adapter is also known as your graphics or video card— it’s responsible for processing graphics data and displaying it on your computer screen correctly. If your computer is not outputting the visual image, it could be due to the display adapter malfunctioning.
The options to fix this issue are similar to the fixes for the application issue; you can reset, disable or uninstall. If you’re using Windows 10, you can start by refreshing the graphics driver through a sequence of keystrokes Windows logo key + CTRL + SHIFT + B. The other options are disabling the driver in safe mode or uninstalling the driver in normal mode.
In safe mode, hit the Windows logo key + X, select Device Manager>Display Adapters>Display Drivers (right-click)>Disable Device, then reboot your computer. In normal mode, hit the Windows logo key + X, select Device Manager>Display Adapters>Display Drivers (right-click)>Uninstall, then reboot your computer. Be sure to try and bring up the image after a restart and before you jump from repair to reset or uninstall.
3. Software Update
An issue with software updates can be one side of the same coin, meaning a problem can arise if you haven’t updated your software or if you have recently updated your software. You’ll know which camp you lie in based on what you see displayed in your Settings>Update & Security>View Update History.
If it shows that you have to update your software, go ahead and select that option, allow updates to be installed, and then restart your computer— which your system should automatically prompt you to do. This update could potentially fix any bugs causing your JPG images to display black. If you have recently updated your software, go ahead and uninstall those updates, restart your computer and see if the issue is fixed.
4. CMYK JPG
If you’re using a program like Photoshop to edit an image and save it in a JPG format, the image may be saved as a CMYK JPG. CMYK is an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key—the colors that are used in the printing process. However, your display screen works in RGB (red, green, blue). CMYK images have little support in certain software like built-in OS preview handlers or web browsers, which could be why your JPG image is displaying black.
The fix for CMYK JPG is to go back into your program, whether that be Photoshop or some other application, and resave the image as an RGB JPG. Once you’ve resaved the image, you shouldn’t have any issues displaying it.
One of these fixes should resolve the issue of JPG images displaying black after opening. If you’ve exhausted this list and the problem persists, reach out for software support or take your device in to be repaired. A technician should be able to identify the issue and fix the issue.