Almost every instant messenger allows users to, besides text messages, exchange photos, videos, and every imaginable file in the 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:
- Allow WhatsApp to access the SD card
- Clear data from WhatsApp
- Reinstall WhatsApp or try an older version
- Check the connection and storage
Unable to send documents via WhatsApp
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 an 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:
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, which is more important in this case, even prevent some of the key features from working. That’s probably a good reason to clear all data. Just don’t forget to back up all WhatsApp photos, as this procedure will likely relieve you of all received files. Here’s how to clear the data:
Solution 3 – Reinstall WhatsApp or try an older version
Also, you can try reinstalling the app or even installing some older iterations 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:
- Uninstall WhatsApp from the Play Store or App Settings.
- (Optionally) Open Google Drive > hamburger menu > Backups. Delete WhatsApp.
- Restart your device.
- Open the Play Store and download WhatsApp.
- Sign in with your phone number and confirm the code.
- 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. These steps should show you how to install an older APK version of WhatsApp:
- Uninstall WhatsApp.
- Navigate to Settings > Advanced settings > Security, and Enable installation of non-official apps.
- Navigate to APK Mirror and download one of the older WhatsApp versions. Avoid Beta versions.
- Accept when prompted about unknown sources, install the APK, and restart your device.
- 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’s 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 lacklustre, the app will automatically prevent updates. For that reason, try restarting your device and router and, if issues still follow, reset the Network settings. Here’s where to look for Mobile data WhatsApp settings:
- Open Settings.
- Tap Apps.
- Open WhatsApp.
- Tap Data usage.
- 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 back up 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:
- Open Settings.
- Choose Memory & Storage (Storage).
- Open the SD card.
- Tap Format and confirm the selection.
That 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 initially published in August 2018. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.