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How To Stop WhatsApp Saving Photos & Videos to your Phone

Posted by Jamie on May 24, 2017

If you don’t want your WhatsApp activities to become public or known to others who may use your phone, you have some settings to change. Here is how to stop WhatsApp saving photos and videos to your phone.

WhatsApp has to be one of the best smartphone apps around right now. It is secure, encrypts all conversations, allows you to chat, call or video chat to your friends, send and receive files and interact with groups. All for free. It also makes it easy to delete chats, phone logs and video logs. What it doesn’t do is make it simple to delete any images or videos you might share.

We here at TechJunkie don’t judge. Use WhatsApp for whatever reasons you like, just play safe. To help you retain privacy when using WhatsApp, here is how to stop WhatsApp saving photos and videos to your phone. I’ll also include some other privacy tweaks afterwards as I have spent a lot of time playing around with different settings.

Stop WhatsApp saving photos and videos to your phone

When WhatsApp installs, it created a Media file which contains several files, WallPaper, Animated Gifs, Audio, Documents, Images, Profile Photos, Video and Voice Notes. Any time you upload or download media from WhatsApp, they are deposited in the corresponding file.

You might delete all your call and chat history but these files remain. If you are trying to completely cover your tracks for any reason, you need to empty these files after swapping any kind of media.

First let us stop WhatsApp saving photos and videos to your phone and then we can delete any that have already been downloaded.

For Android:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your device.
  2. Select the three dot menu icon in the top right.
  3. Select Settings and then Chat settings
  4. Select ‘When using mobile data’ under media auto-download.
  5. Uncheck all media boxes and hit OK.
  6. Repeat for ‘When connected on Wi-Fi’ and ‘When roaming’.

This will stop WhatsApp download any media to your device in the future. Bear in mind though that you will not be able to keep any of that media once you delete the chat or call log unless you manually select it and hit Save.

For iPhone:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your iPhone.
  2. Select Settings and Chats.
  3. Toggle ‘Save Incoming Media’ to off.

The same rules apply here if there are files you want to save. Open them in WhatsApp and select Save. You can then move them as you see fit once saved.

Hide WhatsApp images from Google Photos or Android Gallery

If you want to download media from WhatsApp but don’t want them appearing in Google Photos or the Android Gallery, you can hide them. We create a .nomedia file which will cause Google Photos and the Android Gallery to skip the folder when looking for media.

  1. Connect your phone to your computer via USB.
  2. Open the WhatsApp folder and navigate to WhatsApp Images.
  3. Select Sent and copy the NOMEDIA file.
  4. Go up one level to Images and paste the NOMEDIA file.

Having the NOMEDIA file in place tells Google Photos and the Android Gallery that it isn’t the folder they are looking for and to move along.

You can also create a folder and create your own NOMEDIA file if you want to. Again, I find it easier to do it on the desktop rather than on the phone itself.

  1. Connect your phone to your computer via USB.
  2. Create a folder anywhere on your phone and call it something meaningful.
  3. Browse inside the folder and create a new file.
  4. Name it ‘.nomedia’. Make sure to use the period in front of the name.
  5. Move all the images and videos you don’t want to appear into your new folder.
  6. Reboot your phone for changes to take effect.

This method requires a little manual effort but is useful if you are trying to keep images or videos from someone who knows how WhatsApp works. They may become suspicious if they see a .nomedia file in your Images or Videos folder so this is one way around it. Just remember to reboot your phone to wipe the image cache as it will include any images it cached previously.

The other thing to watch out for is if you have images and videos synced to Google Drive. You may want to manually delete any that have been uploaded. Or turn sync off for a little extra security.

Other WhatsApp tweaks for better privacy

By default, WhatsApp is a secure chat app that offers all the privacy you could hope for without getting in the way of its utility. There are a few other tweaks you could try if you want to increase that further.

Turn off message preview

Depending on who you’re messaging and where you are, you might not want a snapshot of a message appearing on your home screen. Turning it off will help.

  1. Open WhatsApp and select Settings in the top right.
  2. Select Notifications and Popup notification (Android) or Show Preview (iOS).
  3. Turn off notifications.

Your phone will still play the default tone or vibrate as a message appears but will no longer show an excerpt of it.

Disable ‘Last Seen’

Depending on how often you use WhatsApp and who you use it with, you might not want certain people knowing when you were last on the app. You need to turn off the ‘Last Seen’ feature.

  1. Open WhatsApp and select Settings in the top right.
  2. Select Account and Privacy.
  3. Select ‘Last seen’ and select Nobody.

This will stop other people from seeing exactly when you were last on the app and alongside these other tweaks should cover your tracks completely when using WhatsApp.

As I said, TechJunkie doesn’t judge. If you want to keep your activities secret, that is your business and not ours. At least now you know how to use the app while maintaining maximum privacy.

Got any other tips for keeping WhatsApp private? Tell us about them below if you do!

3 thoughts on “How To Stop WhatsApp Saving Photos & Videos to your Phone”

Jamie says:
Can anyone help for a Galaxy Note 8?

I’ve looked at Chat settings but there is no option.

Reply
Sul says:
Didn’t work!! All media are saved to gallery even after I did the steps here.
Reply
Kvkumar says:
I tried above (disabling media d/L on WiFi, m. data etc, but still it’s d/l all what’s up vedios , images-tried rebooting my mi5 mob but no use??
Reply
Vipin says:
Same here. I am using Xiomi redmi note 5 pro
Reply

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