How to disable auto-download media on WhatsApp

Chances are if you have a smartphone, you use WhatsApp. The social messaging app is one of the most used on the planet, but it certainly has some annoyances.

One of which is the default behavior of insisting to download any piece of media that is sent to your device and save to your internal memory. This poses a couple of problems. The first being that this is a very quick way to unexplainably run out of storage space. The second, and my personal frustration is the type of media that is sometimes sent to me in a number of the groups I am in isn’t exactly something I want to be stored on my phone, let alone want to even see. Finally, it chews up a ton of data automatically downloading every video that you get sent.

Luckily, there’s a way to turn it off.

Simply launch WhatsApp and hit the three dots in the top right-hand corner. Go to Settings > Data and storage usage. Head down to network usage and you’ll find some interesting stats on how much data has been wasted downloading those random videos from your various chats.

To disable auto-downloading of media, tap “when using mobile data” under “media auto-download.” Check the kind of content you want to auto-download and switch off as necessary. You can do the same for videos and audio files as well. If you don’t want auto-download of images, even on WiFi, tap on the “when connected on WiFi” option, and repeat the same process.

You’ll still have the option of downloading the media when it is received but you’ll need to manually tap the download button to view it.