In this post, you’ll see the steps to stop automatic media downloads in WhatsApp.
You’ll also see the steps to turn on or off media visibility and stop WhatsApp from saving photos and videos on the Camera Roll. Let’s start.
Stop Auto-Download on WhatsApp
Note that you can’t disable media auto-download on WhatsApp Web.
In the WhatsApp app, select “Settings” at the bottom.
Tap “Storage and Data,” and you’ll see these options in the “Media Auto-Download” section:
Choose one of them, and you’ll view these three options:
- Never – This disables the auto-download of selected media. For example, if I choose “Never” for “Video,” WhatsApp will not auto-download the video.
- Wi-Fi – This only downloads selected media on a Wi-Fi connection.
- Wi-Fi and Cellular – This download selected media on Wi-Fi and mobile data.
Choose the one you prefer.
You can follow the steps above for other options in the “Media Auto-Download” section.
In WhatsApp, tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
Select “Settings.” Hit “Storage and data” between “Notifications” and “App language.”
You’ll see these three options in the “Media auto-download” section above the “Media upload quality” section.
To turn off the auto-download of the media on mobile data, select the “When using mobile data” option.
Deactivate the ones (Photos, Audio, Videos, and Documents) you don’t want to auto-download.
To disable auto-downloads on Wi-Fi, select “When connected on Wi-Fi.” Uncheck the checkbox of your preferred ones and tap “OK.”
To cancel automatic downloads while roaming, select “When roaming.” Uncheck the desired ones and tap “OK.”
In the WhatsApp Desktop app, hit the “Gear” icon in the bottom left.
Click “Storage,” and you can view these options: Photos, Audio, Videos, and Documents.
Disable the one which you don’t want to auto-download.
Stop WhatsApp From Saving Photos on iPhone
WhatsApp for iPhone automatically saves images and videos you receive to Camera Roll by default. You can stop this for individuals and all chats. Let’s see both.
In WhatsApp, tap the “Settings” tab at the bottom. Select “Chats.” Please turn off “Save to Camera Roll.”
- The above can’t override a single chat “Save to Camera Roll” setting.
- You can revert to it by turning it on.
Tap the name on top of the WhatsApp conversation.
Hit “Save to Camera Roll,” and you’ll see these options on the popup:
- Default (On or Off) – This option will apply WhatsApp’s “Save to Camera Roll” setting to this chat (which you’ll see below). The “On” or “Off” you see in parentheses is the current state of that setting.
- Always – Always save photos and videos from this chat.
- Never – Never save photos and videos from this chat.
Choose the second one, and that’s it.
Turn On or Off Media Visibility on WhatsApp
WhatsApp’s media visibility is turned on by default, causing downloaded media to appear in the gallery.
Here are the steps:
Open the WhatsApp app and tap three vertical dots on the top right.
Select Settings > Chats.
Turn that on (to enable it) or off (to disable it) as per your preference.
For a Single WhatsApp Chat
Note that the media visibility you set for a single chat will override the one you set for your entire WhatsApp app.
Open a conversation (contact or group) and tap its name at the top.
Select “Media visibility” beneath “Custom notifications.”
You can see this message: Show newly downloaded media from this chat in your device’s gallery.
And these options in the popup:
- Default (Yes or No) – This applies WhatsApp’s media visibility state (which you’ve seen above) to the chat. The “Yes” or “No” you see in parentheses is the current state of that setting.
- Yes – Enable media visibility for this WhatsApp chat.
- No – Turn off media visibility for this chat.
Select the one you like and tap “OK.”
- If you only want to hide WhatsApp photos in the gallery, try these steps: Open the File Explorer app on your Android phone. Find and open the WhatsApp folder, then Media > WhatsApp Images. Create a .nomedia file.
Reset WhatsApp Auto-Download Settings
Here’s how you can reset WhatsApp auto-download settings on Android, Desktop, and iPhone:
In WhatsApp, tap the “Settings” tab and select “Storage and Data.” Tap the “Reset Auto-Download Settings” option.
That’s all. Note that you already have the default settings if you can’t tap on the option above.
By default, the Desktop has all four options got selected. You can reset it by selecting all the options.
Unlike the iPhone, there is no reset option for Android. However, you can reset it by applying the default settings manually. You can find them in the “Notes” below.
By default, the WhatsApp app automatically downloads:
- Photos on the mobile data connection.
- All media (Photos, audio, videos, and documents) on a Wi-Fi connection.
- Nothing on roaming. This one only applies to WhatsApp for Android.
Also, note that there is no option to stop voice messages from auto-downloading on WhatsApp.