How to Stop WhatsApp from Saving Photos and Videos to Your Phone

If you don’t want your WhatsApp activities to be public or known to other people who might use your phone, you have some settings you need to change. Here’s how to stop WhatsApp from saving photos and videos on your phone.

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

We at TechJunkie don’t make judgments. For whatever reason you use WhatsApp, play it safe. To help you protect privacy while using WhatsApp, here’s how to stop WhatsApp from saving photos and videos on your phone. I will add more privacy settings later as I spend a lot of time playing around with different settings.

Stop WhatsApp from saving photos and videos to your phone

When WhatsApp was installed, it created a Media file with several files, Wallpaper, Animated Gifs, Audio, Documents, Pictures, Profile Photos, Video and Voice Memos. When you upload or download media from WhatsApp, they are saved in the corresponding file.

You can delete all your call and chat history, but these files will remain. If for some reason you are trying to completely cover your tracks, you should empty these files after replacing any media.

Let’s first stop WhatsApp from saving photos and videos on your phone and then we can delete the downloaded ones.

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. Under Media auto download, select ‘When using mobile data’.
  5. Uncheck all media boxes and hit OK.
  6. Repeat for ‘While connected to Wi-Fi’ and ‘While roaming’.

This will stop WhatsApp from downloading any media to your device in the future. Note, however, that you cannot keep any of this media after deleting the chat or call log unless you manually select it and hit Save.

In relation :  WhatsApp: You'll soon be able to use the app to pay merchants

For iphone:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your iPhone.
  2. Select Settings and Chats.
  3. Turn off the ‘Save Incoming Media’ option.

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 after saving them.

If you want to download media from WhatsApp but don’t want them to appear in Google Photos or Android Gallery, you can hide them. We are creating a .nomedia file that will cause Google Photos and Android Gallery to skip the folder when searching for media.

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

Having the NOMEDIA file in place tells Google Photos and Android Gallery that this isn’t the folder they’re looking for and they move on.

You can also create a folder and create your own NOMEDIA file if you want. Again, I find it easier to do on the desktop rather than 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’. Be sure to use the dot in front of the name.
  5. Move all the pictures and videos you don’t want to appear to your new folder.
  6. Restart your phone for the changes to take effect.

This method takes some manual effort, but is useful if you’re trying to save a picture or video from someone who knows how WhatsApp works. They might get suspicious if they see a .nomedia file in your Images or Videos folder, so this is one way around it. Don’t forget to restart your phone to clear the image cache as it will contain all the images it has cached before.

The other thing to watch out for is whether you have images and videos synced to Google Drive. You may want to delete the uploads manually. Or turn off sync 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 more tweaks you can try if you want to push this even further.

In relation :  WhatsApp reveals list of data collected on your smartphone

Turn off message preview

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

  1. Open WhatsApp and select Settings in the top right.
  2. Select Notifications & Pop-up Notification (Android) or Show Preview (iOS).
  3. Turn off notifications.

Your phone will continue to play the default tone or vibrate when a message appears, but will no longer display part of the message.

Disable ‘Last Seen’

Depending on how often you use WhatsApp and with whom, you may not want some people to know 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 & Privacy.
  3. Select ‘Last seen’ and select Nobody.

This will prevent other people from seeing exactly when you were last in the app, and this should completely cover your tracks while using WhatsApp, among other tweaks.

Like I said, TechJunkie doesn’t judge. If you want to keep your activities private, that’s your job, not ours. At least now you know how to use the app while maintaining maximum privacy.

Do you have any other tips to keep WhatsApp private? If you do, tell us below!