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WhatsApp has a Media Visibility feature which if disabled, hides the media files from phone gallery. It is claimed that "apparently" it reduces file storage.

But WhatsApp still has to store media in some location, otherwise how would it show in chats. I am able to access the media while scrolling through a whatsapp chat, even while offline, so the media is definitely getting stored somewhere on my phone. Can I access this location? I have to access many media files that whatsapp must have downloaded somewhere on my phone.

I am using parallel whatsapp on my One Plus 5 android phone. It creates a "999" directory under emulated.

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In most devices, I have used WhatsApp creates a folder in internal storage. The folder for media files is /internal storage/WhatsApp/Media. It contains subfolders for images, videos, etc.

/internal storage/WhatsApp/Media/WhatsApp Images
/internal storage/WhatsApp/Media/WhatsApp Video
/internal storage/WhatsApp/Media/WhatsApp Animated Gifs
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  • When "Media Visibility" is disabled, the media files DO NOT get stored in WhatsApp/Media directory. – jerrymouse Jun 25 at 8:45
  • @jerrymouse they do, for sure, in Private subdirectory. – Irfan Latif Jun 25 at 16:15
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The Android operating system uses empty .nomedia files to tell smartphone apps not to display or include the contents of the folder. (1).

And,

Treat all files as non-media in directories that contain a .nomedia file (2).

So all that Media Visibility feature of WhatsApp does when disabled, is to put the newly downloaded media in a subdirectory of main media type directory, named Private which contains a .nomedia file e.g. /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media/WhatsApp Video/Private/. Therefore the media files are not visible in gallery apps. But you can access that using any file explorer.

Parallel WhatsApp is a different thing, which makes use of Android Multiple Users/Profiles feature to isolate whole /sdcard as well as other contents. But the media is still visible in gallery app installed within that profile. See this answer for details.

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