If you are running low on space on your iPhone or iPad and have decided which apps are taking up the most space, you may have noticed that WhatsApp is always near the top.
WhatsApp is popular, and anyone I know uses it, usually has at least 10 to 15 group chats they’re in. With all those chats, they have a ton of videos and photos shared, taking up a lot of space. Even if you disable the option to save media to your photo library, WhatsApp can still easily take up a few GB.
In this article, I will show you how you can reduce the amount of storage WhatsApp is using, and also save a history of your chats for future reference.
Find the biggest chats in WhatsApp
You should first try to figure out which chats are taking up the most space in WhatsApp. When you look at the iCloud Storage & Usage screen, it only shows you the total space being taken up by WhatsApp, which isn’t really helpful.
So we know the app is taking up almost 3GB of space, but what chats inside WhatsApp are the space triggers? To find that out, open WhatsApp, tap Setting in the bottom right and then tap Data and memory usage.
Next, tap Memory usage at the bottom.
Finally, you’ll get a list of chats (groups or individuals) that are taking up the most space on your phone.
As you can see, the My Family group chat is eating up almost half a gigabyte of data. So is the next group chat right below that. Now that we know which chats are using the most space, we can start deleting them.
Export and delete chats
The best way to reduce the size of your WhatsApp chats and still keep the chat history is to export and then delete. In WhatsApp, you have several options: delete a chat, delete a chat or archive a chat.
Deleting a chat deletes all current chat history from that chat, but keeping the empty chat still visible in Chat application. Here is an example of the two deleted chats at the top Chat dialog box.
Note that when you delete a chat, it deletes all previous chat history, so you need to export the chat before deleting if you want to keep the chat’s history. After you delete a chat, it will also disappear from the conversation backup to iCloud. Any new messages in those chats will start being saved on your phone and into iCloud as usual.
You can delete or export a conversation by swiping from right to left on the chat and then tapping Than Icon.
This will bring up a set of options at the bottom of the screen. Here you can choose Export chat first, save chat history to a third party program like Notes, Google Drive, OneNote, OneDrive etc. This depends on the app you have installed on your phone. If nothing, you can save it to iCloud Drive.
Deleting chats will help you save as much space as possible as quickly as possible. If you have a large group chat, I recommend deleting it every few months, it will save you a lot of space.
Note that archiving a chat simply hides it from view in Chat navigation. If you archive all your chats, it won’t reduce the space WhatsApp is using as the chats are simply hidden, not deleted.
If you delete a conversation instead of deleting it, it will delete all the message history, but in addition, it will delete the conversation from Chat navigation. For a group, if you exit the group, it will not automatically delete the group or chat history. After exiting a group, you must swipe back, go to Than and then tap Delete group.
Adjust chat settings
You can do all of this individually for each chat on the chat tab, or you can tap Setting And after that Chat to perform actions on all chats.
You can archive all chats, delete all chats or delete all chats. I don’t really recommend doing this unless you really don’t care about saving any kind of chat history. Deleting all chats is still a better option than deleting as you will still be able to see the chats on Chat navigation.
You should also go on and off Save to Gallery because that can add a lot of space, especially if you’re in one of those groups where people share photos and videos all the time. You don’t want all that stuff clogging up your iCloud photo library.
Finally, if you press Chat backup, you can see exactly how much space is being used in iCloud for WhatsApp chat history. In my case, before deleting large chats, my total space was more than 1 GB, but now it is only about 64 MB.
So hopefully that will help you free up some space on your iPhone that you might have thought was unremovable. With the option to export chats, there’s no reason why WhatsApp should take up more than a few hundred MB on your phone. Interesting!