Whatsapp lets you send images, documents, audio messages, and videos to your friends. Almost all chat apps support these basic file types and for good reason. These are some of the most common files that people share. Often, it’s extremely helpful to be able to send files over a chat app. Other times, it’s just a drain on your device. Whatsapp is a power hungry app to have on your phone. If you use it often, or you’re in one too many groups, it will drain your battery. On top of that, it will also consume significant storage space. Whatsapps by default saves all files sent over a chat thread. The media files shared over a muted thread will download when they are received. Here’s how you can turn off auto-download files in Whatsapp.
Open Whatsapp and go to the Settings tab.
Turn Off Auto-Download
Tap the Data and Storage Usage option on the Settings tab. The Data and Storage Usage screen lets you choose what type of content is automatically downloaded. You can select auto-download settings for photos, audio, video, and documents. Tap the type of content you want to turn off auto-download for.
For each type of content, you have three options; Never, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi and Cellular. To turn off auto-download in Whatsapp, select the ‘Never’ option for each type of file listed under Data and Storage Usage.
The other two options are simply there to save bandwidth if you switch to your cellular network.
View Files With Auto-Download Off
When you turn off auto-download files in Whatsapp, the files appear in a chat thread with a download button over the thumbnail. You cannot see a preview of the file. To view it, you must tap the download button. The file will then begin to download. It will download regardless if you are connected to your cellular network or a WiFi.
Turning off auto-download files in Whatsapp has its pros and cons. The pro is that images, audio, and video you aren’t interested in aren’t saved to your device. This is mostly content shared over chat threads you’ve muted. The con is that this setting applies to all chat threads. Some of those threads might actually be relevant. It might be important that you see the files shared over the thread with you. Instead of them downloading when they are received, you have to manually download them. This is particularly annoying if there are a lot of them.
Whatsapp doesn’t let you disable this setting for individual threads.