How to prevent WhatsApp from saving images in the gallery

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Judit Llordés

By default, WhatsApp saves the received images and videos on your phone. This option can be extremely convenient, allowing you to easily save all interesting memes and group photos for later use.

The downside is that the phone memory can fill up quickly, especially if you are active enough on the app.

In this article we show you how to disable WhatsApp from auto-saving photos in your phone's gallery.

Whether you own an Android or iOS device, you will have more control over your device's memory with this option disabled.

How to disable WhatsApp from saving photos on Android

In order for WhatsApp on Android not to automatically save media files to your phone, there are two settings you need to change. Note that you can only disable these options from the WhatsApp mobile app and not from the desktop client.

Turn off all auto download options for all media

  • Open WhatsApp on your Android phone.
  • Tap the three-dot menu in the top right corner of the display.
  • Select "Settings".
  • Select "Storage and Data" from the menu.
  • Find the section "Automatic download of media files" at the bottom of the screen.
  • Tap each option and uncheck all media options, then press “OK”.
  • Note that voicemail messages are always downloaded automatically, so you won't be able to change them.

Disable media downloads

Follow the steps below to disable media downloads.

  • As shown above, start WhatsApp and go to “Settings”.
  • Select "Chat".
  • Find the "Medium visibility" switch in the list of options and turn it off. This will prevent the newly downloaded media from being displayed in the phone gallery.
  • You can also choose to have WhatsApp not show downloaded media from selected chats only by opening WhatsApp and tapping the target contact's profile picture.
  • Press the "i" button on the tab that appears.
  • Tap "Medium Visibility".
  • Select "No" in the pop-up window.

How to manually save pictures or videos on Android

With this feature turned off, you may still want to save the occasional image or video to your phone. Follow the instructions below to do it without too much trouble.

  • Open a WhatsApp chat with a photo or video.
  • Tap it to preview it.
  • Press on the three dots in the upper right corner.
  • Select "Save" from the menu that appears.
  • The photo or video should now be saved in your gallery.

How to stop WhatsApp from saving photos on iOS

Just like on Android, you will have to disable two options on iOS, although in this case, for the second one, you will have to make sure that your iPhone is not saving images to the camera roll.

Turn off all auto download options for all media

  • Open WhatsApp on your iOS device.
  • Go to settings. "
  • Select "Storage and data".
  • Find the "Automatic Media Download" section.
  • Tap all the options, including "Photos", "Audio", "Videos" and "Documents" and set them to "Never".

Turn off Save to Camera Roll

On iOS devices, the photos you receive via WhatsApp are also saved in the camera roll. Even with the above feature disabled, your phone may still hold onto images. Follow these steps to prevent your iPhone from saving WhatsApp images to camera roll.

  • Launch WhatsApp on your iPhone.
  • Go to settings.
  • Select "Chat".
  • Find the “Save to Camera Roll” switch and turn it off.

How to manually save images or videos on iOS

Similar to Android, you can still save the occasional image or image, even if WhatsApp no ​​longer saves ALL images in your Gallery.

  • Open a chat in WhatsApp that contains the image or video you want to download.
  • Tap it to preview it.
  • Press the share icon at the bottom.
  • Select "Save" from the pop-up menu.

Alternative: Turn on Pop-up messages for selected chats

An alternative to disabling WhatsApp from saving sent messages in SOME chats is to activate the disappearing messages option.


  • On Android you can do this by opening WhatsApp and tapping the profile picture of a group or person.
  • Tap the "i" button.
  • Select "Ephemeral Messages" from the menu.
  • Set the desired time for WhatsApp to delete images and videos sent from chat AND from your gallery.


  • On iOS, you must first open a chat.
  • Tap the contact's name at the top.
  • Select "Ephemeral Messages".
  • Choose your preferred option.

Note that even if WhatsApp initially saves the media files on your phone, once the chosen time period has expired, they will no longer be available in your gallery.

How to manage multimedia storage in WhatsApp for Android and iOS

Now that you have disabled WhatsApp's automatic option to save photos to your phone, you still have to deal with the media you have accumulated so far. You can easily delete all large files via WhatsApp settings.

  • In the WhatsApp app, go back to “Storage and data” as shown in the previous sections.
  • Select "Manage Storage" at the top.
  • You will see a detailed breakdown of the media files you have already saved on your device.
  • Tap the “Greater than 5MB” option to see a list of large files that you may want to delete to empty your storage space.
  • Select the images you want to delete by tapping them.
  • Press the trash can icon in the top right corner to delete them from your phone. You should now have a little more storage space on your phone.
  • Alternatively, if you want to delete only the media associated with a particular conversation, you can do so by opening the chat in question.
  • Tap the three dots in the top right corner.
  • Select "Media, Links and Documents" from the menu that opens.
  • In the Media section, manually select all the images you want to delete by tapping them.
  • Press the Trash icon in the top right corner.

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