2-Thienylpyridyl iridium(III) complexes containing an o-, m-, or p-carboranylvinyl-2,2'-bipyridine ligand and various counteranions (denoted o-PF6, m-BF4, m-PF6, m-SbF6, m-ClO4, m-OTf, m-NO3, m-BPh4, m-F, m-Cl, and p-PF6) were synthesized by using C-formyl carboranes as starting materials. The solid-state structures of o-PF6, m-PF6, m-ClO4, and m-BF4 showed that the cations form twisted cavities in which the anions are fixed by multiple hydrogen bonds. Anion-hydrogen interactions were investigated for nine m-carborane-based complexes with different counteranions. All carborane-based iridium(III) complexes show similar phosphorescence yields in solution but significantly different emission in the solid state. Anion-exchange titration and theoretical calculations revealed the relationships between structures and optical properties. The size of the anion and C-H⋅⋅⋅X anion-hydrogen bonds strongly influence the phosphorescence quantum yield in the solid state. In particular, the Ccar-H⋅⋅⋅X hydrogen bonds between the carboranyl unit and the anion play an important role in solid-state phosphorescence. Complex p-PF6 was successfully applied in phosphorescence-lifetime bioimaging owing to its low toxicity and near-infrared emission.