A better way to send photos via WhatsApp

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve told my friends and their friends not to send pictures over WhatsApp. If you must do it, please at least change this one thing first to make everyone’s life easier.

In most cases, pictures sent over WhatsApp are only useful as a preview on screen. They are often too low-quality to be printed or used on websites.

WhatsApp offers two options for sending pictures: Data Saver, which compresses the image to 0.9MP (720x1280, approximately 80kB), and Best Quality, which sends the image at its original resolution of 1.4MP (899x1599, approximately 113kB).

By default, WhatsApp is set to Auto (recommended), which means that it will automatically choose the best quality setting for the image based on your internet speed and the recipient’s device.

If you can’t reuse pictures sent in either resolution due to poor quality, receiving them in 0.9MP is the worst-case scenario. Therefore, you should always choose “Best” quality as your default.

Please open WhatsApp, go to Settings > Storage and Data > Media Upload Quality, and change the setting to Best Quality today.

Even though you still won’t be able to reuse picture that you received, it will look better. If the image contains any details, it will be much clearer.

You can compare these settings to watching a movie on a 4K screen. Just like how a 4K movie will look much clearer on a 4K screen than on a 1080p screen (Full HD), a 1.4MP image will look much clearer than a 0.9MP image.

Furthermore, compare this to buying a high-end 4K TV just to watch content that is not even available in Full HD. It would be like buying a Ferrari to drive around your neighbourhood.

Overall, WhatsApp is not the best app for sending or receiving pictures. If you don’t need to, I recommend using Google Photos instead. Google Photos offers a wider range of features, such as the ability to add pictures to albums and share albums with your contacts.

Google Photos offers two backup quality options: original resolution and Storage saver. I recommend Storage Saver to everyone, as it provides good-quality images without taking up too much storage space.

Storage saver optimizes your photos by compressing them while maintaining their resolution up to 16MP (which is about 5312 x 2988 pixels). This is a significant difference. If you have an iPhone with a 12MP sensor, your photos will still be available for post-processing, such as cropping, even after they have been compressed. This will give you some wiggle room, especially if you want your final image to be 2048 pixels in size.

I recently listened to a podcast where the guest claimed that a resolution of 1200 pixels is sufficient. If that were the case, the pictures sent by WhatsApp would be fine. However, I disagree with that assessment. Given the prevalence of retina displays and Full HD screens, I recommend 2048 pixels as a starting point.

Conclusion: If you want to send high-quality photos, WhatsApp is not the best option. The best way to send photos on WhatsApp is to not send them at all. If you do need to send photos, I recommend using Google Photos instead.