WhatsApp is the most well known end-to-end encrypted messaging app on the planet. Yet, while others can’t sneak around on what you’re communicating; that doesn’t mean other WhatsApp data is perfectly sequestered either.
By a wide margin the greatest information hoarding component of WhatsApp is the photographs, recordings, and gifs that can rapidly stop up your telephone’s stockpiling. Just as filling your telephone’s memory, photographs that spare to your camera roll can be a protection bad dream: in case you’re looking through pics with companions or family, no one needs that to be interspersed with something unseemly that showed up through WhatsApp.
WhatsApp automatically downloads new photos and videos that are sent to you. These are stored on your phone; but can also be saved to your camera roll. An updated version of WhatsApp now gives you more control over what media is stored on your phone.
By default, on both Android and iOS, WhatsApp will automatically download and save images to your phone. The platform does this so it can provide “quick access to your latest photos”. But it can be a pain; especially when you don’t want memes or other internet fodder clogging up your phone’s camera roll.
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These settings can be changed. Head to ‘Settings’, then ‘Chats’. On Android devices turning off ‘Media visibility’ will stop newly downloaded photos and videos from appearing in your phone’s gallery. While on iOS through the same chats menu; selecting the ‘Save to camera roll’ option will let you turn it off.
Now that images and videos aren’t showing up in your camera roll; there’s one more way to limit what happens to the media you receive. You’re able to control whether they are automatically downloaded to your phone; or whether you want to manually download the files when you’re ready to open them.
WhatsApp has a few options for download settings – they’re found in the ‘Data and storage usage’ menu. The options are broadly the same on both Android and iOS. You can select whether media will automatically download; if you’re relying on mobile data, connected to a Wi-Fi network, or never. Android also has the option to limit automatic downloads when you’re roaming.
By default WhatsApp will download images when you have a mobile data connection and video when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network. Changing these options to never, or only to download everything on Wi-Fi, can help to save some mobile data; but also comes with the caveat that you’ll have to tap each image or video when you want to download them.