Fixed! Download Was Unable to Complete in WhatsApp

Want to save WhatsApp media files but showing “Download was unable to complete” in WhatsApp? This guide will introduce the reasons behind the issue and offer you effective solutions to help you out.

Demi by Demi Updated October 17, 2023
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WhatsApp has undoubtedly revolutionized the way we communicate, making it easy to connect with friends and family across the globe. However, like any other app, it is not without its share of issues. One common problem that WhatsApp users often encounter is the "Download was unable to complete" error. This frustrating error can disrupt your chat experience, especially when you're eagerly waiting for an important file or media to download.

whatsapp download unable to complete

In this article, we'll explore the reasons behind this error and guide you on how to fix it, ensuring a seamless WhatsApp experience.

Why is it showing the download was unable to complete?

Before delving into the solutions, it's essential to understand why you might encounter the "Download was unable to complete" in WhatsApp. Several factors can lead to this issue, and a proper understanding can help you troubleshoot effectively.

⛔ Poor Internet Connection
WhatsApp relies on a stable internet connection to function properly. If your connection is weak or intermittent, it can hinder the downloading of media files.

⛔ Insufficient Storage Space
If your device has limited storage space, it can lead to difficulties in downloading files. WhatsApp requires adequate storage space to save media files.

⛔ Outdated WhatsApp Version
Running an outdated version of WhatsApp can result in compatibility issues, leading to download errors.

⛔ Media File Size
Large media files can take longer to download, and if your connection is not stable, it might result in the error message. Be patient if you're downloading a large file and ensure a stable internet connection.

⛔ Corrupted Media Files
If the media files themselves are corrupted, you won't be able to download them. This issue is typically on the sender's end, and there's little you can do to fix it except asking the sender to resend the file.

How to fix the download was unable to complete in WhatsApp

Now that we've identified some common reasons for the download was unable to complete in WhatsApp. Let's explore the solutions to resolve this issue. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth downloading experience on WhatsApp

1# Check the internet connection

The first and most crucial step is to ensure you have a strong and stable internet connection. Make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi or have a strong cellular signal. If your Wi-Fi signal is weak, try moving closer to your router. Alternatively, you can switch to cellular data if your Wi-Fi is problematic.

2# Check the Date and Time settings

Encountering “The download was unable to complete please try again later” in WhatsApp could be a result of incorrect device date and time settings. This is because inaccurate date and time settings might prevent your device from effectively communicating with WhatsApp servers to download media and retrieve messages.

Open the Settings app on your iPhone > Go to General Date & Time > Ensure that Set Automatically is enabled to allow your iPhone to set the correct time based on your location.

date time

3# Enable Background App Refresh

To download WhatsApp media files in the background, ensure that you've granted all necessary permissions for WhatsApp to run and perform its functions in the background. This allows the app to seamlessly handle tasks like media file downloads even when it's not actively in use.

Go to the iPhone Settings app > Scroll down to choose General > Tap Background App Refresh > Toggle on the switch next to WhatsApp if it is disabled.

whatsapp background app refresh

4# Update WhatsApp and iOS

If the problem is related to a bug, it might involve either the WhatsApp app itself or the operating system. In such cases, you can often resolve the issue by applying an update. This highlights the importance of keeping both your apps and your operating system up to date at all times.

Update WhatsApp
Go to the App Store on your iPhone > Tap your profile > Scroll down to locate WhatsApp. If there is a new WhatsApp, tap UPDATE to update it.

update WhatsApp

Update iOS
Go to the Settings app > Tap General > Choose Software Update. If there is a new iOS version available, tap Download and Install to update it.

ios software update

5# Clear WhatsApp cache

Check if your cache is full, as this can cause download issues on WhatsApp. Clearing an app's cache and data can improve its performance. To do this for WhatsApp, follow these steps:

Step 1. Go to the WhatsApp app > Settings > Locate and choose Data and Storage Usage.

Step 2. Click Storage Usage > Tap one of the contact and click Manage... > Click Clear.

delete WhatsApp cache iPhone

Repeat the steps, and you can clear WhatsApp cache.

6# Check media permission

Media permissions are crucial in this context. However, it's important to note that various operating systems may require different procedures to grant these permissions. To prevent "Download was unable to complete" in WhatsApp, follow the steps below to provide access to storage.

Go to the Settings app > Select Privacy option > Choose Photos > Tap WhatsApp > Assure that All Photos are checked.

check media permission

7# Check iPhone storage space

Insufficient storage capacity can play a significant role in this the download was unable to complete error in WhatsApp. To have a check, you can go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. If you have not enough iPhone storage, think of removing data from your iPhone.

check iPhone storage

One-Click Bonus: Export iPhone WhatsApp chat to PC

If you cannot download photos, videos, and files from WhatsApp, try FoneTool to secure and backup your WhatsApp data to PC. As a reliable WhatsApp backup and transfer tool for iOS devices, FoneTool enable you to backup all your WhatsApp files in one-click.

With a stable USB connection, WhatsApp transfer can be done quickly. You can click the download button to get FoneTool and follow the steps below to export WhatsApp chat from iPhone to PC.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch FoneTool > Connect your iPhone to computer via USB cable.

Step 2. Click WhatsApp Manager on the left pane > Go to Backup WhatsApp and click Get Started.

backup WhatsApp

Step 3. Enable backup encryption > Select the storage path > Click Start Backup.

start backup whatsapp

Step 4. When the backup is complete, you can click the View icon to check the backup files.

backup done

If needed, you can go to Backup History and click Restore to restore the backup to iPhone.

restore backup


Such download error download was unable to complete in WhatsApp can always happen. Hope solutions in this guide can help you get out of the trouble. Try to download FoneTool, and rely on it so that you don’t need to worry about WhatsApp data loss.


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