Fix: WhatsApp won’t send files on Android

Almost every instant messenger allows users to, besides text messages, exchange photos, videos, and every imaginable file in form of an attachment. Besides privacy and group chats, this is the biggest selling point today. Sadly, even the most-used IM, WhatsApp, has some issues with sending files occasionally. It seems that WhatsApp won’t send files on Android.

The affected users said that they’re receiving files just fine, but can’t send them.

Table of contents:

  1. Allow WhatsApp to access the SD card
  2. Clear data from WhatsApp
  3. Reinstall WhatsApp or try an older version
  4. Check the connection and storage

WhatsApp on Android receives files, but won’t send them

Solution 1 – Allow WhatsApp to access the SD card

The most common reason why you’re unable to send photos is caused by WhatsApp’s inability to access external storage. If your photos are stored on the SD card, chances are you won’t be able to send them via WhatsApp.

That’s why you need to allow the WhatsApp app to access external storage. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Open Apps.
  3. Select WhatsApp.
  4. Choose Permissions.
  5. Toggle On Storage and Camera permissions.

Solution 2 – Clear data from WhatsApp

WhatsApp saves everything locally, including the chat history, recordings, and photos. These tend to pile up, and quickly so, which can slow down the app’s performance. Or, and which is more important in this case, even prevent some of the key features from working.

That’s probably the good reason to clear all data. Just don’t forget to backup all WhatsApp photos, as this procedure will likely relieve you of all received files.

Here’s how to clear the data:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Open Apps.
  3. Choose WhatsApp.
  4. Tap Storage.
  5. Clear All Data.

Solution 3 – Reinstall WhatsApp or try an older version

Also, you can try reinstalling the app or even installing some older iteration of WhatsApp. This way, if there’s some bug at hand plaguing the current version, it won’t harass you anymore.

After reinstallation and once you sign in again, you can restore messages from a backup. Of course, make sure to back up files to Google Drive first.

Here’s how to reinstall WhatsApp cleanly:

  1. Uninstall WhatsApp from the Play Store or App Settings.
  2. (Optionally) Open Google Drive > hamburger menu > Backups. Delete WhatsApp.
  3. Restart your device.
  4. Open Play Store and download WhatsApp.
  5. Sign in with your phone number and confirm the code.
  6. Try sending files.

APK installation is an even better troubleshooting step, especially since the frequent updates tend to break this instant messenger for various Android devices.

And these steps should show you how to install an older APK version of WhatsApp:

  1. Uninstall WhatsApp.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Advanced settings > Security, and Enable installation of non-official apps.
  3. Navigate to APK Mirror and download one of the older WhatsApp versions. Avoid Beta versions.
  4. Accept when prompted about unknown sources, install the APK, and restart your device.
  5. Try sending the files again.

Solution 4 – Check the connection and storage

Now, let’s take some time to inspect two important segments which are essential for WhatsApp performance. The first one is the network. If you use mobile data to send photos, recordings, or attachments, make sure that Mobile Data is allowed.

If the upload speed is lackluster, the app will automatically prevent updates. For that reason, try restarting your device and router and, if issues still follow, reset Network settings.

Here’s where to look for Mobile data WhatsApp settings:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Open WhatsApp.
  4. Tap Data usage.
  5. Allow both Mobile Data and Wi-Fi.

In case those solutions didn’t help, check out our articles about Wi-Fi and data issues on Android for more workarounds.

The second important thing to check is the storage memory. Since WhatsApp saves all in-app interactions locally, you need to have at least some spare space to use it seamlessly.

If you’re dangerously low on storage space, make sure to clear some files. Backing up photos to Google Photos or removing the cache for apps should give you some extra space.

Solution 5 – Format SD card

Finally, if you have enough internal storage space, you can choose to store all new photos in local storage. Just open the Camera and select Device as preferred storage. On the other hand, if you need to use the SD card but WhatsApp can’t access it and send files, we recommend formatting it.

Of course, you’ll need to backup all your files, preferably on a PC. After that, you can safely format your SD card on your phone or with a PC. Once you’ve dealt with it, both WhatsApp and other third-party apps should have an easier time accessing the content on an SD card.

Here’s how to format an SD card on phone:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Memory & storage (Storage).
  3. Open SD card.
  4. Tap Format and confirm the selection.

That’s should do it. Hopefully, after these steps, you’ll be able to send files via WhatsApp without any issues. Additionally, we strongly encourage you to tell us if the issue is gone in the comments section below and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for reading and we look forward to hearing from you.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2018. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

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