WhatsApp is by far the most popular and famous instant messaging app in the market that let’s you send messages to your friends and family regardless of where they are. Considering that it’s an app which lets you send and receive media files apart from the regular messages, you will need to learn how to secure your personal and private data.
With the latest update of the software, WhatsApp now comes with a new feature called Media Visibility. This feature lets you hide media files from your gallery, improving your overall safety.
But, not everyone knows about the latest update and even how to use a private folder on WhatsApp.
Not to worry, our team at Private-Spy has got you covered. We will take you through everything you need to know about enabling and using the WhatsApp private folder and even list out some common issues and how to fix them.
Read on to find out more!
Recommended Read: How to Monitor WhatsApp Messages Using Spy Software
How to Use a Private Folder on WhatsApp
What is this new “Media Visibility” feature?
Private folders have been introduced to the following WhatsApp Media folders as part of this release for Android:
- WhatsApp Images
- WhatsApp Video
- WhatsApp Animated Gifs
- WhatsApp Audio
- WhatsApp Documents
This new WhatsApp feature allows users to hide media downloads by simply creating a private folder. Images, movies, gifs, audio files, and documents are the supported data types among them.
How are images and other media handled in WhatsApp?
Any image or video that you download in WhatsApp is immediately indexed in the file manager and finally appears in the Gallery. We share a range of data via WhatsApp groups and individual chats.
This data may be confidential at times, and you don’t want anyone else to see it through the Gallery. In order to get some privacy with respect to your data, you have to hide these media files from the gallery or move them to the memory card altogether.
Let’s have a look at the exact location of the WhatsApp media folder first. There are folders for WhatsApp images, documents, profiles, and other documents.
By default, WhatsApp uses “Internal Storage > WhatsApp > Media> WhatsApp Images| Video | GIF | Documents | Voice Notes” to store all media exchanged via the app.
There are chances that the folders may be different based on your smartphone and you might be able to find your WhatsApp private media folders here:
Android > Media > com.whatsapp > WhatsApp > Media > WhatsApp Images > Private
Enabling the WhatsApp Private Folder
When you update to the latest WhatsApp for Android, the private folders will be generated. You must, however, activate the setting to hide media for all chats or specific individual and group chats in order to use them.
You can do this by creating a .nomedia file in the destination folder to hide all your media.
Here’s how you can create a .nomedia file to hide your images and other media from your gallery.
- Download any file explorer from the Play Store or use the built-in file explorer on your Android smartphone.
- Navigate to WhatsApp/Images or Images/WhatsApp Images and open the folder.
- Create a new file in the folder via the file manager and name the new file as “.nomedia“
- Save the file in your WhatsApp folder and your pics will now be hidden from your gallery.
If you’re looking to hide videos or GIF’s, create the same file within the WhatsApp Video folder or the WhatsApp Animations/Gif’s folder and none of them would be visible in your gallery.
Note: You will be able to view any file that was sent to you via WhatsApp earlier even after creating the .nomedia file. This new file will only hide any pictures, videos or Gif’s that were sent post its creation.
Disabling WhatsApp Auto-Download
If you think that creating a .nomedia file will be too much of a hassle, you can resort to switching off auto-download for all your media files and you will be able to choose what needs to be downloaded onto your phone and what should not.
The setting can be activated for all chats by heading to:
WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Media Visibility > Show media in gallery
If it is for certain chats, then open the particular chat and:
Tap the three dots at the top right > Group info > Media visibility > No
Note that when either of these options are selected, only freshly downloaded media in your chats will be hidden.
How does the WhatsApp Private Folder hide Media?
Images and videos in private folders are hidden by WhatsApp from being viewed in the gallery by using a .nomedia file, (which is normally hidden). You can see it by changing your file manager’s settings to make hidden files visible.
The .nomedia file hides the media by telling Android’s media scanner to skip directories where it was discovered when looking for new images and videos to add to the gallery. As a result, deleting this file will no longer hide the media.
This isn’t limited to the default gallery, and it will also hide content in other gallery apps. The only exception is if an app, such as MX Player for videos, has a setting to ignore .nomedia files.
When it comes to audio files, the .nomedia file will hide them from both the stock Music app and other music players.
Transferring Files to the WhatsApp Private Folder
You can manually relocate images or videos to private folders using a file manager to hide any old media that has previously been downloaded from the gallery. They will, however, lose their connection to the chats if this is done.
You could try deleting the media from the chats and re-downloading it when the Media visibility is set to NO as a workaround. Technically, this should hide the pictures while keeping the conversation connections (test prior before trying wide scale).
Simply disable the media visibility setting to restore the gallery’s hidden images and videos, and WhatsApp will take care of the rest. However, this will only work for media that was downloaded after the setting was turned on.
You can also only restore the visibility of previous media that you manually hid by manually moving them out of the private folder.
Troubleshooting the WhatsApp Private Folder
So you have played around with the media visibility settings and now your images/videos are probably not visible in the Gallery.
Well, anticipating these kinds of circumstances, we have lined up some solutions to fix the issue.
Fix WhatsApp media files not showing in the gallery
It is most likely that you have enabled the above feature for hiding the images that are causing your newly downloaded images to disappear from the Gallery. Simply switch on the Media visibility feature to make your WhatsApp media files visible again. Here’s how to go about it:
- On your phone, open WhatsApp.
- At the top-right corner of the screen, tap three dots (menu button).
- Then select Chats from the drop-down menu.
- The “Media visibility” option can be found in the chat settings. To turn it on, toggle the button.
You’ll be able to see newly downloaded WhatsApp media in your phone’s gallery once you’ve enabled this media visibility feature.
Delete .nomedia file from the WhatsApp folders
WhatsApp hides your downloaded media from the gallery using the .nomedia file format. A .nomedia file can be found in each WhatsApp media folder. The .nomedia files are likewise hidden by default, so you can’t see them in the file manager.
You must enable the “Show hidden files” feature in your file manager app to make .nomedia files visible. This option will be available in the menu or settings.
Go to Internal Storage > WhatsApp > Media after enabling the “Show hidden files” feature in the file manager app. Then open the Private folder by selecting WhatsApp Images or WhatsApp Videos.
A .nomedia file can be found here. Simply choose it and delete it.
Move photos and videos out of the WhatsApp folder
By moving WhatsApp images and videos out of the WhatsApp folder, you can make them available in your phone’s gallery. You’ll need a file manager app to do this task. After that, take the following steps:
- On your phone, open the file management app.
- Create a new folder under Internal Storage. This is the folder into which you should copy your WhatsApp media. You can name it whatever you like.
- Now navigate to WhatsApp > Media > WhatsApp Images or WhatsApp Videos. There are two sub-folders titled Private and Sent in this folder. Navigate to the Private folder.
- Choose the images or videos you wish to display in your gallery. Select Move, and then paste them into the folder you previously made.
After you’ve completed these steps, open your phone’s gallery app to see if your WhatsApp photographs and videos are now viewable.
WhatsApp’s new feature can help us protect our precious photos/videos from suspicious eyes.
Just make sure that you know the full impact of it. And if there are any issues you can always refer to this article.
- How To Transfer WhatsApp Chats From Android To iPhone
- How To Get Animated Stickers on WhatsApp
- How to Hack Someones WhatsApp Without Their Phone
Daniel Moore is the Founder & Editor-in-chief of Private-Spy, an experienced hacker, lecturer and an all-round fun guy! A writer by day and reader by night, he holds a Master’s degree in Computer applications and believes that privacy is our god given right. Daniel has been known to have published in-depth guides and tutorials that have been used by millions of people across the world.