Does WhatsApp audio get saved?

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world with over 2 billion monthly active users. Recent reports show that WhatsApp users send an average of 7 billion voice messages, also known as voice notes or audio messages, every day. Voice messages allow users to quickly send short audio recordings to each other on WhatsApp. They have become an increasingly popular way for people to communicate casually and conveniently on the platform.

With voice messages being so widely used, many WhatsApp users want to know – does WhatsApp save these audio files? And if so, where and for how long? This article provides an overview of how WhatsApp handles saving and storing voice messages.

Saving WhatsApp Audio Messages

By default, WhatsApp saves all audio messages sent and received in the app automatically. This means users do not need to take any additional steps to save WhatsApp audio files on their device.

On Android devices, WhatsApp saves audio messages directly to internal storage in the WhatsApp/Media/WhatsApp Audio folder ( iOS is a bit different – audio messages are saved within the WhatsApp app itself, but can be accessed through the phone’s Files app (

So in summary, WhatsApp voice notes are saved by default without the need for manual action from the user.

Where WhatsApp Saves Audio

The location where WhatsApp stores audio messages depends on whether you’re using an Android or iOS device. On Android devices, WhatsApp saves audio messages to internal storage in a folder structure within the WhatsApp app data.

The typical location is: Internal Storage > WhatsApp > Media > WhatsApp Audio. The exact path can vary by device and Android version (Source).

On iOS devices like iPhones, WhatsApp stores audio messages in the app’s container which is sandboxed from the rest of the file system. The WhatsApp audio folder can be found by connecting the iPhone to a computer and accessing the phone’s files.

The location is typically: Internal Storage > Media > WhatsApp > WhatsApp Voice Notes (Source).

So in summary, Android saves WhatsApp audio directly to internal storage folders while iOS sandboxed it within the app. But in both cases the audio files are accessible through the file system.

Auto-Download Settings

By default, WhatsApp will automatically download any audio, video, image, or document sent to you in a chat. This allows you to instantly see or listen to the media without having to manually download it each time. However, users can turn off the auto-downloading of media if they want more control or to save storage space on their device.

On Android devices, open WhatsApp and go to Settings > Storage and Data > Media Auto Download. Here you can toggle off auto-downloading for when on mobile data, when connected to WiFi, and when roaming. This will prevent WhatsApp from automatically saving any media to your device [1].

On iOS, go to Settings > Data and Storage Usage. You can turn off auto-downloading for when on WiFi, on mobile data, and when roaming. Tap any media type like Photos, Audio, Videos, or Documents and toggle off “Auto-download” [2].

Turning off auto-download for some or all media types gives you manual control over what gets saved to your device’s storage. You can then choose to selectively download only the audio messages you want to save.

Manually Saving Audio

To save a specific voice message or audio clip, you need to manually export it from WhatsApp. Here are the steps for both Android and iPhone:

On Android:

– Open WhatsApp and go to the chat with the audio you want to save.
– Tap and hold the audio message to open the context menu.

– Select the “Forward” option.
– This will let you forward the audio to another chat or export it from WhatsApp.
– Select a sharing option like Email or Bluetooth to export the audio file.
– You can then save the audio file to your phone’s local storage.

On iPhone:

– Open the WhatsApp chat with the voice message.
– Tap and hold the audio clip until you see a “Forward” button.
– Tap “Forward.”

– Select the share icon in the upper right corner.
– Choose “Copy to Clipboard.”
– This copies the audio file to your clipboard.
– Now paste the clip in another app like Notes to save it.
– Export or share the audio file to save it locally.

Manually exporting audio messages in this way lets you save specific clips from WhatsApp chats to your phone’s storage. You can then access the audios in your music player or other apps.

Media Visibility

When you receive an audio message on WhatsApp, it gets saved automatically in the WhatsApp media folder on your device. Even if the sender deletes the audio message from their phone, it will remain visible on your device.

However, you can control the visibility of media in your phone’s actual gallery. Go to WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Media Visibility and toggle it off. This will stop your device’s gallery from displaying any media saved in WhatsApp folders. The audios will still be accessible within WhatsApp but hidden from the main gallery.

According to a discussion on Reddit, “They’ll just be stored in the WhatsApp media folder but no “pointer” gets added to the Gallery to display the media folder’s contents.” Source

So in summary, turning off media visibility removes pointers from your gallery to WhatsApp media, but does not delete the actual files. The audios stay saved in WhatsApp unless you manually delete them.

Storage Space

Audio messages received on WhatsApp take up storage space on your device. The amount of space depends on the length of the audio clip and audio quality. On Android devices, WhatsApp audio files are typically stored in an AMR (Adaptive Multi-Rate) compressed format which takes up less space than uncompressed formats like WAV or AIFF. However, longer audio messages can still consume a substantial amount of storage.

For example, a 1 minute long audio clip may take up around 1MB of space. So if you exchange a lot of long WhatsApp audio messages, over time this can add up and take a toll on your device’s available storage capacity. To save space, make sure to frequently backup chats to the cloud and clear WhatsApp storage, or manually save important audio clips and delete them from WhatsApp.

You can also adjust WhatsApp settings to auto-download less media content if you are tight on device storage. Overall, while compressed formats help limit file size, frequent WhatsApp audio messaging will inevitably utilize more and more local storage over time.


WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption for all communications, including audio messages. This means the audio is encrypted on the sender’s device and can only be decrypted on the recipient’s device.

Specifically for audio messages, WhatsApp generates a unique encryption key for each audio file sent. This key is transmitted from the sender to the recipient in a secure manner and is used to decrypt the audio message (WhatsApp). The key is deleted after the audio is listened to by the recipient.

WhatsApp states they have no ability to access the decrypted audio messages due to the end-to-end encryption. However, some critics argue WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook may still have access to encryption keys since they are stored on their servers (Forbes). Overall, WhatsApp audio messages have strong encryption to protect user privacy.

Audio Quality

Compared to other messaging apps, the audio quality of WhatsApp calls and voice messages is relatively lower. WhatsApp audio files use the OPUS audio codec, which compresses audio files to decrease file size. This allows messages to send quickly, but reduces audio quality.

Some users report degraded audio quality in WhatsApp compared to the native recording app on their phone. Recordings can sound distorted, with static or crackling noises. Voices may also seem quieter and lack clarity in playback. This lower quality is especially noticeable when using headphones.

Currently there is no way to adjust the audio codec or increase quality settings within WhatsApp. The company has focused more on keeping file sizes small rather than prioritizing high fidelity audio. However, some developers have released unofficial tweaks to allow changing the audio codec, which can improve quality.


In summary, WhatsApp automatically saves all incoming audio messages to your device’s internal storage by default. The audio files can be found in the WhatsApp/Media/WhatsApp Audio folder. You have options to disable auto-saving of media and to manually save specific audio messages. While the audio files are encrypted, the quality may degrade after multiple forwards. In conclusion, WhatsApp provides users with simple settings and tools to control how and where audio messages are saved, allowing you to optimize for privacy, storage space and quality as needed.

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