How can I fix problems with downloading or sending media files on WhatsApp?

Summary

Common issues that can cause problems downloading or sending photos, videos, or Voice Messages include:

  • Your phone might be having connectivity problems.
  • Your phone's date and time are set incorrectly.
  • There is an issue with your SD card:
    • There is not enough space on the SD card.
    • The SD card is set to read-only mode.
    • The SD card is corrupted.

Details

Double check (and even triple check) that your phone has an active internet connection with a strong signal. Try loading a webpage to make sure. If you are certain that your phone is connected (try connecting to different Wi-Fi hotspots and/or 4G), keep reading.

Check that the date and time are set correctly on your phone. If your date is incorrect, you will not be able to connect to the WhatsApp servers to download your media. See how to correctly set your date here.

Sometimes WhatsApp may have difficulty saving files to your SD card. If so, follow these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Make sure there is enough space on your SD card. If your SD card is full, WhatsApp will not be able to save anything to it. Make more space available by deleting any unnecessary files.
  2. Ensure your SD card is not set to read only mode. Try saving a file to your SD card that is not from WhatsApp. If the file saves, your card is not read-only, WhatsApp Messenger should be able to save files to it. If you cannot save anything, your card is likely set to read only mode. You will need to change this; please check your phone’s manual for instructions.
  3. If there is enough free space and you can save files to your SD card, but you still cannot download any files to it from WhatsApp, you may need to delete WhatsApp data from your SD card:
    IMPORTANT: This will erase ALL WhatsApp chat history backups and downloaded files.
    1. This would be a good time to back up your WhatsApp data. To back up your WhatsApp data, copy the "WhatsApp" folder on your SD card to your computer.
    2. Open the SD card folder on your phone and delete the "WhatsApp" folder. All of your WhatsApp media is now erased. WhatsApp will still open - and your chats will still be there - but your media (photos, videos, audio) will be gone.
    3. Restart your phone.
    4. WhatsApp should be able to save your downloaded files now.
  4. Still reading? Remember step 2, when you checked to see if your SD card was read only? If you could not save any files to it, your SD card may be corrupted. In this case, you may need to reformat your SD card. This means erasing the entire SD card and resetting it:
    IMPORTANT: This will erase ALL data on your SD card.
    1. Once you format the SD card you will not be able to get back your data.
    2. If possible, backup anything on the SD card. One way to do this is to plug the SD card into a computer with an SD card reader, and copy the files over.
    3. On your Android phone, go to Settings > Storage.
    4. If it exists, tap Unmount storage card.
    5. Tap Format SD card or Erase SD card.
    6. Reboot your phone.

If all of these steps did not work, it may be that there is an issue with your SD card. You may need to purchase a new SD card in order to save/send files.

Cheers,
WhatsApp Support Team