WhatsApp is the most popular end-to-end encrypted messaging app in the world. But while other people cant snoop on what youre saying, that doesnt mean other WhatsApp data isnt being processed.WIRED UK
This story originally appeared on WIRED UK.
By far the biggest data-hogging element of WhatsApp is the pile of photos, videos, and gifs that can quickly clog up your phones storage. As well as filling your phones memory, photos that save to your camera roll can be a privacy nightmare. If youre scrolling through pics with friends or family, nobody wants that to be punctuated with something inappropriate that arrived through WhatsApp.
WhatsApp automatically downloads new photos and videos that are sent to you. These are stored on your phone, but can also be saved to your camera roll. An updated version of WhatsApp now gives you more control over what media is stored on your phone.Clear Everything Out
First, you want to start with a clear-out. Some of your longest-running and most active WhatsApp chats most likely take up a sizable chunk of your devices storage. WhatsApp has introduced some new storage management tools to help you take back control. Storage management may not be the most glamorous task, but it could help to improve your phones performance pretty quickly.
In WhatsApp, navigate to Settings (found in the menu represented by three dots in the top right of WhatsApp), then Storage and data, and finally Manage storage. This page shows a list of your conversations and how much storage each of them was using. Tap on a person or group and youll see how many messages, contacts, photos, locations, gifs, videos, documents, and audio messages are stored. You can free up space by selecting the option onscreen and deciding which categories of data to get rid of from the chat.
While this method can help crush some of the biggest storage culprits, its a pretty blunt tool. Deleting all photos from a chat risks losing some of the images that you want to keep. WhatsApps latest storage tool, which is rolling out to everyone at the start of November, is designed to give people more granular control.
It has redesigned the Manage Storage page to show how much of your phone is being consumed by data stored in WhatsApp. it also highlights photos and videos that have been forwarded to you multiple times and the biggest files on your device. The two new sectionsForwarded many times and Larger than 5MBcan be accessed in a gallery view where you can batch-delete files. Tap on all the files you want to get rid of and hit the delete icon. Theres also the option to select all and move them instantly to trash.Stop Saving WhatsApp Photos to Your Phone
By default, on both Android and iOS, WhatsApp will automatically download and save images to your phone. The platform does this so it can provide quick access to your latest photos. But it can be a pain, especially when you dont want memes or other internet fodder clogging up your phones camera roll.
These settings can be changed. Head to Settings, then Chats. On Android devices, turning off Media visibility will stop newly downloaded photos and videos from appearing in your phones gallery. While on iOS through the same chats menu, selecting the Save to camera roll option will let you turn it off.Stop Automatic Downloads
Now that images and videos arent showing up in your camera roll, theres one more way to limit what happens to the media you receive. Youre able to control whether they are automatically downloaded to your phone or whether you want to manually download the files when youre ready to open them.
WhatsApp has a few options for download settingstheyre found in the Data and storage usage menu. The options are broadly the same on both Android and iOS. You can select whether media will automatically download if youre relying on mobile data, connected to a Wi-Fi network, or never. Android also has the option to limit automatic downloads when youre roaming.
By default, WhatsApp will download images when you have a mobile data connection and video when youre connected to a Wi-Fi network. Changing these options to never, or only to download everything on Wi-Fi, can help to save some mobile data but also comes with the caveat that youll have to tap each image or video when you want to download it.
This story originally appeared on WIRED UK.
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