WhatsApp is the most used messaging tool in the whole world and it is likely that most of your friends and family use it to stay in touch with you, which means you’ll get all kind of messages, a lot of them with photos, GIFs or videos. The problem? Our phone’s storage is not unlimited (we wish) and sometimes we get that terrible “full memory” message.
In many cases, the files we receive via WhatsApp are responsible for the fact that we’ve run out of space to save more memes and cat GISs on our phones. Here we explain how to delete these files to recover the precious space you need so much, but we also teach you how to do a security backup so you don’t lose anything and most importantly: how to avoid this in the future.
First step: doing a security backup
Maybe you don’t want to keep any of the files that people send you via WhatsApp, in this case, you can skip this step. However, if you want to keep all the memes, Christmas greetings, prank videos and other files you’ve been piling up, it is possible to do a backup in a fast, simple and also free way.
The solution is Google Photos and its unlimited storage for life. To make a copy of your WhatsApp files you just need to open the app, log in with your Google account and activate the backup on the folders where the WhatsApp files are kept.
On the screenshots above these lines you can see the process. First, we open Google Photos and access the menu by clicking on the button with the three horizontal lines located on the upper left corner. Then, we access the “Device folders” where you can see all the image folders on your device. Here, you just need to select the folders WhatsApp Images, WhatsApp Video and WhatsApp Animated GIFs and that’s it.
Google Photos will keep a backup copy of all the files, but be careful, because it will usually do this when you are connected to a WiFi network, it’s best to wait for the copy to finish before moving on or you risk losing all the photos.
Second step: deleting photos and videos
Let’s get down to the messy part: deleting photos and videos to free up space. There are many apps on the Play Store that promise to clean our WhatsApp, but this is something we can do manually without any complications, you just have to locate the folders where WhatsApp keeps these photos and videos that are sent to us and delete them.
Depending on the phone model you have, it is possible that the design of the photo gallery changes, but basically, the steps you should follow are the same. The first thing you need to do is to go into the image gallery and explore all the available folders. Obviously, we are interested in those generated by WhatsApp, usually called WhatsApp Images, WhatsApp Videos and WhatsApp Animated GIFs.
Once located we just need to open them, select the content we want to delete (if you’ve done a backup you can delete it all without fear, your files are safe on the cloud) and delete it.
If you have been using WhatsApp for some time and have never deleted the photos and videos, you’ll probably gain a good share of internal storage and the full memory message will disappear, but remember, you should repeat this process periodically so this doesn’t happen again.
Third step: avoid filling the phone’s storage again with WhatsApp photos and videos
We’ve already explained how to do the backup and how to delete files, but we’re still missing the most important part: how to avoid filling the phone yet again with WhatsApp’s photos and videos. Don’t worry, the answer is not to uninstall the app, we just need to do some adjustments on WhatsApp.
Sure you are in many WhatsApp groups in which people send huge amounts of photos and videos in which you are not interested, but they get downloaded to your phone anyway, filling up your phone’s storage. What we are going to do is [limit the automatic download function](How to deactivate WhatsApp’s automatic download on Android) so not EVERYTHING you receive is saved, but only those things that interest you.
To do this, we have to open WhatsApp and go to the menu on the upper right corner, here we select the option Settings and then Data and Storage. In this section there’s a block called “Automatic download” where we can decide which files will be automatically downloaded depending on the kind of connection we are using.
Besides saving mobile data, with this option we can also enable the option not to download any photo or video on our phone automatically, we just need to deselect all of the boxes in the three sections (mobile data, WiFi and roaming).
Does this mean you won’t be able to receive photos? Absolutely not, as we said, deactivating the automatic download means we avoid the photos and videos saving but we can download them any time by simply pressing on them.