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WhatsApp stores all sent and received images, documents, and videos in the following file structure:

Internal memory >> Android >> Media >> com.whatsapp >> Whatsapp >> Media ------ (A)

This Media folder has folders named

  • WhatsApp Audio
  • WhatsApp Documents
  • WhatsApp Images
  • WhatsApp Video
  • WhatsApp Voice Notes

Now, each of the above five folders has two sub-folders:

  • Private
  • Sent

These two sub-folders have .nomedia files inside them.

I have manually deleted all the .nomedia files from all these sub-folders and sub-sub-folders before backing up the chats using Chat backup in WhatsApp settings. However, these .nomedia files are getting re-created every time I tap "Back up now".


To go into a little more detail as to the steps I have followed, they are, in chronological order:

  1. Clear all apps from my Android phone RAM (OnePlus 7 Pro).
  2. Open app WhatsApp.
  3. Go to Settings >> Chats >> Chat backup (but do not tap anything).
  4. Tap the center circle (Home button) so that WhatsApp is not exited in the usual manner.
  5. Open a file explorer app (Solid Explorer) and go to the Whatsapp Media location mentioned in (A) above.
  6. Delete all the .nomedia files in all the folders, sub-folders and sub-sub-folders inside this location.
  7. Tap the center circle (Home button) so that Solid Explorer is not exited in the usual manner.
  8. Tap the recent apps button and go to WhatsApp. Now, I am on the same screen on WhatsApp as I had left it in Step 4 above (Settings >> Chats >> Chat backup screen).
  9. Tap "Back up now"
  10. Wait on the same screen till the backup is complete.

After following the above steps, I see that .nomedia files have been created inside all the folders that I had deleted them from, with the timestamp on each equal to the exact time when I tapped "Back up now" in Step 9 above.

This would mean that the data in the Private and Sent folders inside each of WhatsApp Audio, WhatsApp Documents, etc. have not been backed up.

Can anyone suggest a way so that the data inside those folders are also backed up?

Or if possible, share a different method so that I can have the data inside those folders in my backup?

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  • A backup generally means making a backup copy, not deleting files inside an application's data folders... unless I'm missing something?
    – Xen2050
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 8:17
  • @Xen2050 - Can you please elaborate a little on the "backup copy" thing?
    – koustav_ch
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 8:44
  • @Xen2050 - My goal is to take a full WhatsApp backup so that I can have the "sent images," "sent documents," etc. after installing WhatsApp on a new phone and restoring from the backup.
    – koustav_ch
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 8:44

1 Answer 1

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  • When you make a backup to Google drive from the chats option or schedule it, everything (including all media) is backed up and the same when restored on a new device.

  • IMO, the purpose of that .nomedia is only to prevent those images etc showing up in your gallery app or videos showing up in video player,etc. Edit: See this WhatsApp FAQ (which is probably not updated since you say .nomedia files are automatically created on deletion)

You can also create a .nomedia file in the WhatsApp images folder. Please note this will hide all your WhatsApp photos from your phone's gallery.

  • In no way do these .nomedia files hamper backing up and restoring from Drive backup.

This exercise of yours in deleting those .nomedia files is pointless,when your aim is to create a backup that can be restored on a new device as you clarified in comment.

I've backed up to drive and restored to new devices/old devices several times without messing with .nomedia files. Only point to note is that while restoring text messages are restored first, and media restored when you are connected to a Wi-Fi.

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