WhatsApp photos can be deleted in two ways – from WhatsApp itself and from the photo viewer (gallery app). The steps and functionality differ for Android and iPhone.
Let's see different methods to delete WhatsApp photos. But before that, you need to understand how WhatsApp media is stored on your phone.
How and where are WhatsApp images saved on Android and iPhone
Generally, you need to tap on the received photo to upload it to WhatsApp. On Android and iPhone, you get a feature in WhatsApp called Media Auto-Download. Once activated, WhatsApp automatically downloads the photos received.
However, the operation differs after their download on WhatsApp. On Android, photos once uploaded to WhatsApp are also saved in the gallery app. You can see them in WhatsApp and the gallery app.
On iPhone, when you receive a photo, it is not automatically downloaded to the camera roll. The photos remain on the WhatsApp servers and are only visible in WhatsApp. You need to save them manually using the Save button present in WhatsApp or activate the "Save to Camera Roll" setting to view them in the Photos app or any other gallery app on your iPhone.
Now let's see the six methods to delete photos from WhatsApp on iPhone and Android.
Method 1: Delete recent photos from WhatsApp Chat
Here are the steps.
Photos deleted using this method would only be deleted from WhatsApp, even if you saved them to your Camera Roll. You can view these images in the Apple Photos app after you delete them from WhatsApp.
To delete photos, open the chat. Long press the photo you want to delete. Tap More, then tap Delete.
You can select multiple photos by tapping on them. Then tap the delete icon at the bottom. Finally, tap Delete for me.
Open the WhatsApp chat from which you want to delete photos. Long press the photo you want to delete. If you want to delete multiple photos, you need to select a photo and tap other photos to select them.
Tap the delete icon at the top. A window will appear. In case you want to delete the photo from WhatsApp only, uncheck "Delete the media in this chat" and press Delete for me. The photo will continue to take up space on your phone and it will also appear in the gallery app. To also remove it from the gallery app, make sure the "Remove media in this chat" option is checked. Then press Delete for me.
Method 2: Delete old photos from WhatsApp chat
The above mentioned method is convenient for deleting recent photos. If you want to delete the old photos, you will need to scroll up and find them. This makes it tedious. To avoid this, follow the steps mentioned below.
Tap the name of the contact or group at the top of the WhatsApp chat. You will be redirected to the information screen. Tap Media, Links and Documents.
Press Select. Then tap the photos to select them. Tap the delete icon at the bottom, then tap Delete for me. The selected photos will be deleted from the WhatsApp chat. However, these images will remain on your phone, if you had saved them, and are available in the Photos app.
Tap the name of the contact or group at the top of the WhatsApp chat. You will be redirected to the information screen. Tap Media.
You will find all your photos, videos and even documents there. Long press the photo you want to delete. Then tap the others if you want to delete multiple photos. Finally, tap the delete icon. Again, as in the previous method, you will get a pop-up window. Check the "Remove media in this chat" box if you also want to remove it from your gallery application. Tap Delete for me to allow it.
Method 3: delete WhatsApp photos from gallery
You can use any gallery app present on your phone for this method, including the Google Photos app and Apple Photos.
On iPhone, only photos that you have saved manually can be deleted from Apple Photos or other apps in the gallery. Deleting WhatsApp photos using this method will not delete them from WhatsApp. They will always appear in the chat.
Launch the Apple Photos app and open the WhatsApp photo you want to delete. You can select multiple photos using the Select option at the top. Then tap on the delete icon and confirm on the next screen.
Launch the gallery app and find the photo you want to delete. Then tap the delete icon.
Now when you delete a photo from the gallery app it will also be deleted from WhatsApp on Android. You will then see a download icon on the photo. You will need to download it again. However, this is only possible if the sender has not deleted the photo from his side. Otherwise, WhatsApp will show you an error message.
Interestingly, if the gallery app, from which you deleted the photo, supports the ability to recover deleted photos within a fixed time, the photo will remain on WhatsApp and in the deleted items folder of gallery application. Most applications consider it a trash or a trash can, which can often be full. Once the specified time has elapsed, the photo will be permanently deleted from your phone and WhatsApp.
Method 4: delete all photos from a conversation without erasing the conversation
WhatsApp provides a native option to manage the storage occupied by it. In other words, you can delete messages, multimedia files like photos, videos, documents, etc. separately from each individual discussion. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Launch WhatsApp and tap Settings at the bottom. Tap Data and storage usage.
2nd step: Tap Storage usage at the bottom.
Step 3: Tap the contact whose photos you want to delete. Tap Manage at the bottom of the next screen.
Step 4: Keep the Photos option checked. Then press Clear at the bottom. Confirm in the pop-up window.
All photos will be removed from this chat. However, any photo you have saved to your Camera Roll will remain unchanged.
For that, proceed as following:
Step 1: Open WhatsApp and tap the three dots icon at the top. Select Settings from the menu.
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Step 3: Tap on the contact name from which you want to delete all photos. Use the search to find the contact.
Step 4: WhatsApp will show space occupied by various elements such as photos, videos, GIFs, etc. Tap on Free up space at the bottom.
Step 5: Uncheck other things and keep Photos checked. Tap on Delete items. A pop-up will appear. Tap on Clear Messages.
Note: When you use this method on Android, then pictures will be removed from WhatsApp and gallery app.
Method 5: Delete All WhatsApp Photos by Clearing Chat
If you are okay with clearing all the messages and other media files from a chat, you can clear the chat. Doing that will remove all the photos, videos, and other documents from WhatsApp.
When you use this method on iPhone, your saved WhatsApp photos in Camera Roll will not be deleted from the Photos app. Only the photos in WhatsApp will get deleted along with messages and other things from that chat.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Open the WhatsApp chat and tap on the contact name at the top.
Step 2: Scroll down and tap on Clear chat. A confirmation box will appear. Tap on Delete all messages.
Step 1: Open the chat and tap on the three-dot icon at the top. Select More.
2nd step: Tap on Clear chat. A pop-up will appear. If you want to delete the photos from your gallery app, you should keep the ‘Delete media in this chat’ checked. Tap on Clear.
Method 6: Delete WhatsApp Photos from All Chats
If you want to save space on your phone, you can delete all the received WhatsApp photos at once. Here's how to do it.
On iPhone, this method will only work for the photos saved to your phone. The photos in WhatsApp will remain untouched.
To do so, open the Apple Photos app and go to the Albums section. Tap on WhatsApp.
Tap on Select at the top followed by tapping on Select All present at the top-left corner. Then, hit the delete icon at the top.
You will find a folder known as WhatsApp Images on your gallery app. Open it and select all the photos. You can even select some photos.
Bonus 1: How to Stop Auto-Download of Photos on Android and iPhone
On Android, open WhatsApp settings and go to Data and storage usage. You will find three options — mobile data, Wi-Fi, and roaming. Tap on each of them one by one and uncheck Photos. By doing so, photos will stop downloading automatically. You will have to tap on the photos in WhatsApp to download them.
On iPhone, tap on WhatsApp Settings followed by Data and storage usage. Then tap on Photos. Select Never.
Bonus 2: How to Stop Auto Saving of Photos on iPhone
To stop your iPhone from automatically saving the downloaded WhatsApp pictures to Camera Roll, go to WhatsApp Settings > Chats. Turn off the toggle for Save to Camera Roll.
Delete for Everyone
When you delete a received photo, it is only deleted from your end and not from the sender's side. However, WhatsApp has a feature where you can delete a sent message from the receiver's end too. The feature is called Delete for everyone. If you are curious about deleted messages, know how to see deleted WhatsApp messages.
Next up: Did you accidentally delete an important photo? Here's a detailed guide on how to recover deleted images in WhatsApp.