Typically, images and videos received on WhatsApp will download normally when you tap on them. Yet, many users are facing the issue where tapping a media file throws you an error that says, “download failed”, “download was unable to complete,” “please try again later,” and similar. If you are unable to download images and videos from WhatsApp, the following fixes will help you solve the media download issue on WhatsApp.
1. Restart Phone
The first step you should always perform when you are troubleshooting an app or device is to restart it. Likewise, with the WhatsApp images and videos not downloading issue, restart your Android phone or iPhone. Sometimes just restarting the phone will fix the media not downloading issue on WhatsApp.
2. Check WhatsApp Server for Issues
At times, the problem could be with WhatsApp itself. It has happened several times where people are unable to send messages, download images, and similar. To verify whether WhatsApp is down or not, you can use third-party tools like Outage.Report or DownDetector. Open one of the websites, and the tool will tell you whether WhatsApp servers are working properly or not.
3. Set the Right Date and Time
Having the correct date and time on your phone is important for WhatsApp to sync to its servers, otherwise you won’t be able to download images or videos, as mentioned on the official WhatsApp support page.
To set the correct date and time on Android, go to “Settings -> System (General Management) -> Date and time.” Enable the toggle for “Use network-provided time (or automatic time).”
On iPhone, go to “Settings -> General -> Date & Time.” Enable the toggle for “Set Automatically.”
4. Audit Internet Problems
Many times, users are unable to download media files on WhatsApp due to an issue with their Internet connection. These troubleshooting tips should help with the issue:
- If you are using WhatsApp on Wi-Fi, start by restarting your router.
- Next, try opening a website on your phone. If the website doesn’t load or images do not load properly, your Wi-Fi connection may be down.
- You can also try switching between Wi-Fi and mobile data to identify whether the Internet connection is causing the issue.
- Make sure you have enough data balance.
- Try turning Airplane mode on and off on your device for a while.
- For Wi-Fi networks, try to forget the Wi-Fi, then connect to it again.
- If possible, try to connect to a different Wi-Fi connection or router.
- You can also try changing the DNS server for your router. If you are on Android, find out how to use Google DNS or OpenDNS.
- Disable the metered Wi-Fi connection on Android.
- Enable data roaming on your phone if you are not in your home state.
5. Check Mobile Data Settings (iPhone)
For many WhatsApp users, the images and videos not downloading issue happens only with mobile data. To fix that on iPhone, go to “Settings -> WhatsApp.” Enable the toggle next to “Mobile Data.”
6. Check Network for Problems
You should be using the fastest, correct network for the proper functioning of WhatsApp.
To check your network on Android, go to “Settings -> Network & Internet -> Mobile Network -> Network Selection.” Choose Automatic.
7. Allow WhatsApp to Access Photos
WhatsApp requires storage permission on both Android and iPhone to download media files. If WhatsApp doesn’t have the required permission, you will face issues while using it. To grant storage permission on Android, go to “Settings -> Apps -> WhatsApp -> Permissions.” Tap on “Storage (Files and media)” and choose “Allow.”
On iPhone, go to “Settings -> WhatsApp -> Photos.” Choose “All Photos.”
8. Check Media Auto-Download Settings
If there are problems with WhatsApp not automatically downloading images and videos on your phone, you should take a look at the media auto-download settings in WhatsApp.
For that, go to “WhatsApp Settings -> Storage.” Here you will find a Media auto-download section. Tap on the options under it and allow the type of media files that should download automatically when connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi, depending on your needs.
9. Turn Off Data Saver Modes
Both Android and iPhone come with data-saving modes. If media isn’t auto-downloading on your phone, try disabling these modes.
For Android, go to “Settings -> Network & Internet -> Data Saver.” Turn it off.
On iPhone, go to “Settings -> Mobile Data -> Mobile Data Options.” Turn off the toggle next to “Low Data Mode.”
10. Check Available Storage
Your phone should have sufficient storage to be able to download media files from WhatsApp. If the phone doesn’t have enough storage, files won’t be able to download.
To check the available storage on Android, go to “Settings -> Storage.”
11. Unmount SD Card
If you are using a memory card on your Android phone, often that is responsible for causing media download issues in WhatsApp. To fix it, you will need to either remove the card or unmount it.
To unmount the card, go to “Settings -> Storage.” Look for your memory card. Tap on the option or icon that says eject or Unmount. Do note that unmounting the card will not delete your data in the card.
12. Turn Off Move Content to SD Card
If your Android phone offers a native setting for moving data to an SD card, you should try turning it off for WhatsApp.
The steps may differ according to your phone model. Basically, what you need to do is navigate to “Settings -> Storage -> Storage Booster.” Tap on “Move Content to SD Card” and turn off the toggle next to “WhatsApp.” You can also use the search in Settings to look for the “Storage Booster” setting.
13. Enable Save to Camera Roll (iPhone)
On iPhone, even though you will be able to view the downloaded media in WhatsApp, it’s not automatically downloaded to the camera roll. This is not an issue but a feature in WhatsApp. If you want media files to download automatically to your iPhone, in the WhatsApp app, go to “Settings -> Chats.’ Enable the toggle for “Save to Camera Roll.”
14. Ask for File to Be Resent
If you are getting the “Ask XYZ to resend the file” error while downloading old media files from WhatsApp, that’s what you will need to do. The person could have cleared the chat, leaving you unable to download the files. Request that the sender resend the file.
15. Clear WhatsApp Cache (Android)
Try clearing the cache for WhatsApp on your Android phone. Doing so will not delete your chats or any associated media.
To clear cache on Android, go to “Settings -> Apps -> WhatsApp -> Storage & cache.” Tap on “Clear cache.”
Restart the phone after clearing the cache. Do not tap on “Clear data” (or Clear data), as it will delete your WhatsApp chats.
16. Turn Off Ad Blocker
If you are using adblocker apps on your phone, try turning them off for a while to see if they are conflicting with WhatsApp media.
17. Update WhatsApp
Many times, updating WhatsApp also helps to fix the issue of images and videos not downloading.
Go to the Play Store (Android) and App Store (iPhone) and search for WhatsApp. Tap on the “Update” button if available. Restart the phone. Don’t worry, as updating WhatsApp will not delete your chats.
18. Reinstall WhatsApp
If the issue persists, uninstall WhatsApp from your phone and install it again. However, make sure to back up the data first using the native option. You can back up to Google Drive on Android and iCloud on iPhone. That way you will not lose your chats and files.
19. Rename WhatsApp Folder (Android)
On Android, apart from uninstalling WhatsApp, you should also try renaming the existing WhatsApp folder. This is done so that WhatsApp creates a new folder when you install it again. However, this is a nuclear option so please make sure that you back up your WhatsApp data first. Once that is done, uninstall WhatsApp.
After uninstalling, open any File manager app on your phone and go to “Internal Storage -> Android -> media.” Look for the “com.whatsapp” folder. Touch and hold it to reveal the options. Select “Rename.” Change the name to whatever you wish.
Then install WhatsApp again and restore your data from back up. If something goes wrong, you will find your old WhatsApp database and files in the renamed folder.
20. Reset Network Settings
You should try resetting the network settings on your Android phone or iPhone. Doing so will delete all the saved networks (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.) and connected devices. You will need to add and pair them again. However, it can solve issues like images and videos not downloading on WhatsApp.
To reset the network settings on Android, go to “Settings -> System (General Management) -> Reset. Choose either “Reset Network Settings” or “Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth.”
On iPhone, go to “Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings.”
21. Reset App Preferences
Similar to resetting network settings, you should try to reset all settings on your phone. Doing so will not delete your personal data. However, all settings on your phone will be reset. So if a setting is responsible for WhatsApp images and videos not downloading, resetting the settings should fix it.
On Android, go to “Settings -> System (General Management) -> Reset.” Choose “Reset app preferences” or “Reset settings.”
On iPhone, go to “Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset All Settings.”
After trying each fix, I would suggest you restart your phone. Hopefully, you should be able to download images and videos normally from WhatsApp. Once that happens, check out Android apps to enhance the WhatsApp experience.