How to stop WhatsApp to automatically save down images and videos into your camera roll

WhatsApp is a free messaging application, owned by Facebook, that allows users to send text messages, voice and video calls, images, other media files and user location.

It is particularly well-known app, having over a billion users, and for many has become the preferred contact app of choice – some 60 billion messages are sent over the WhatsApp platform every day. Its popularity is partly due to the fact that it’s an encrypted service, meaning only you and the person you’re communicating with can read the messages you send to each other. It is therefore seen as one of the most secure and private ways to communicate.

However, although users can send as many media rich messages as they want, with no costs, even internationally, (unlike with SMS) one of its quirks is that when you download the app it automatically downloads and stores every media file received.

For those of us that already struggle with phone storage space this can be quite frustrating, especially when you look down at your phone and realize there have been 105 new messages, 75 of which are pictures, from that one group chat…

But switching off the toggle that controls automatic media downloads from WhatsApp is relatively easy on both an Android and Apple phones.

Below we have outlined the way to stop WhatsApp automatically downloading ALL media files.

To prevent all media files downloading on an iPhone:

  1. Launch WhatsApp on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Settings icon (small cog) at the bottom right of the screen.
  3. Tap Chat Settings.
  4. Swipe the toggle off the Save Incoming Media option so that it is no longer green.

If committing to this seems too much, it is also possible to switch off media downloads from one chat at a time, giving you more flexibility if you do want some images/videos to be saved.

To prevent media files from one chat for an iPhone:

  1. Launch WhatsApp on your iPhone.
  2. Click on the chat you’d like to stop downloading media files from.
  3. Click on the name of person or group from this chat.
  4. Scroll to the option Save to Camera Roll.
  5. Click ‘Never’.

This process will need to be repeated for each contact or group where you want to switch the automatic downloads off.

To prevent all media files downloading on an Android:

Preventing WhatsApp automatically downloading ALL media files is slightly different on an Android as it relies on settings involving Wi-Fi and Data, rather than a specific button in the app.

  1. Begin by opening WhatsApp and go to the window where chats are shown.
  2. Select Settings, the three vertical dots on the top right-hand side.
  3. Click on Data and storage usage.
  4. Head to Media Auto-Download, where you will encounter three options: When Using Cellular Data, When Connected on Wi-Fi and When Roaming.
  5. Disable auto-downloads by unchecking all three options, Images, Audio and Video.

To prevent media files from one chat for Android:

  1. Open a chat
  2. Tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner
  3. Tap “View contact”
  4. At the bottom there should be a section called “Media visibility”
  5. Choose ‘No’.

­­­We hope you found this guide useful. If you have problems when trying to stop WhatsApp from automatically downloading and saving media files into your camera roll, feel free to drop a comment below