When you’re the most used instant messaging app around the world, with 2 billion monthly active users, the amount of data shared on your app daily must be colossal. Even for the average WhatsApp user, the amount of data accumulated on their phone in a single month can be staggering. So what happens when you have years upon years of accumulated voice notes and clips, photos, gifs, videos and more clogging your device?
WhatsApp is releasing a new storage management tool to finally make clearing space taken up by media shared on the app easier. This feature will roll out this week around the world.
Currently, going about deleting shared content from WhatsApp chat is quick, but a bit haphazard. If you go to Settings > Data and storage usage > Storage usage (on Android), you’re greeted by a list of all your chats, listed by the amount of data you’ve received from each, in descending order. Clicking on any of these chats gives you a breakdown of how the data you’re currently storing for each chat is divided: photos, videos, audio messages, etc.
To free up space, you have to select an entire category, like Photos for example, to delete. You can’t access the saved photos you’ve received from this contact to delete individually or by bulk, which makes the process very risky if you’d still like to keep a few of the files this person has sent you.
Now, with WhatsApp’s new tool, it’s actually possible to inspect every file before you delete it.
The tool gives a visual representation of the files in question by using thumbnails, and categorizes the data by more than just type like it used to before. Some of the new categories include “Forwarded many times” and “Larger than 5 MB,” making it easier to prioritize what needs deleting.
Among the other features WhatsApp is introducing soon, it recently announced that disappearing messages will be coming to the app. Once you enable the feature, new messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear after seven days. This applies to media files as well if the option to auto-download them is switched off.