WhatsApp media file...
Clear all

WhatsApp media file naming convention

8 Posts
4 Users
0 Reactions
22.4 K Views
Posts: 3
New Member
Topic starter

Dear friends, experts,
is there an information on the generation of media file names in WhatsApp?
When does WhatsApp generate the name
When it is taken?
When it is received?
When it is sent?
When it is synched?
Is it possible to say
"This clip was sent/received on 1.12.2018"?
Could not find an answer after hours of goggeling.
Thank you
Bernhard Kotnig

Posted : 28/12/2018 10:04 am
Posts: 20
Eminent Member


Quick synopsis for android

In Android the Video does it sit in?

WhatsApp/media/WhatsAppVideo/ (root)

If it sits in root it's received the date is 01/12/2018 and the WA0000 denotes its the first received video of the day via WhatsApp

If it sits in sent folder it is the first video of the day sent. the date is 01/12/2018 and the WA0000 denotes its the first video of the day sent via WhatsApp

WA0001 = second
WA0002 = third
and so on

Posted : 28/12/2018 10:51 am
Posts: 3
New Member
Topic starter

Dear pcook8198,
thank you very much for your immediate and clear response.
If it's ok for you, please let me ask two more questions
As I need this information officially
Where can I find this statement in an official paper (by WhatsApp)?
Does the numbering depend on the receivers counts or is it created from the transmitter?
Thank you again!
Kind regards
Bernhard Kotnig

Posted : 28/12/2018 11:30 am
Posts: 20
Eminent Member

WA0000 numbering is dependant upon the handset you have

Ie two separate people using WhatsApp send you a video today at 0001 hrs 28/12/2018

They will both be VID-20181228-WA0000 on their handsets in the sent folder

The first video of the day to be received by your handset ie one of the two sent to your handset will be in the received folder named VID-20181228-WA0000 and the second vid to be received will be VID-20181228-WA0001. This is even though the corresponding videos on the two senders handset will be VID-20181228-WA0000

There are still issues that depending upon settings ie Auto download Via Data or WIFI only may cause certain issues.

I do stress though this is a very basic quick explanation of how it works.

The videos or picture with a VID/IMG-20181228-WA000X name RE generally created through the WhatsApp application itself. This means the user has started whatsApp and used the camera / video function of the handset through WhatsApp and not attached a picture or video from the DCIM folder.

Posted : 28/12/2018 12:12 pm
Posts: 3
New Member
Topic starter

Thank you
Bernhard Kotnig

Posted : 28/12/2018 5:06 pm
Posts: 5
Active Member

I have a question with my brother’s iphone X, the naming convention of photos is PHOTO-yyyy-mm-dd-hh-mm-ss.jpg. These pictures are inside the Files app —> On my iPhone. Where is this naming convention coming from ? I have a hunch its whatsapp but I dont have proof.

Does anyone know whats going on? 

Posted : 28/02/2023 12:48 am
Posts: 184
Estimable Member

The way to answer questions like this is to do your own experiments using the same versions of software, os and devices. Then see what conclusions you can draw.

Posted : 17/03/2023 7:30 pm
Posts: 5
Active Member


Hardware and software specs:

Whatsapp Business on Iphone X =

Iphone X iOS version = 16.4

AVD pixel 5 = android 13

Whatsapp on AVD pixel 5 =

I just did a test between my iphone X and AVD pixel 5 on android 13 on android studio. The steps:

1. sent a picture from iphone X to AVD - picture name is img-todays date-wa0010

2. I deleted the picture received on AVD pixel 5

3. I resent the same picture again from iphone X to AVD  pixel 5

4. the filename has changed to img-todays date-wa0012.jpg !!! wtf this this !! I couldn't believe it so I had to redo the test just to make sure i didnt make a mistake

5. I did step 2-3 and deleted the previous picture. Once again I found the filename has changed from img-todays date-wa0012.jpg to img-todays date-wa0014.jpg !!!!

conclusion: the very act of deleting a picture and resending the same picture doesn't progress the WAxxxx progress by one, but by 2 !!! Is this a known bug for anyone ? Please reproduce my steps to check if you encounter the same issue.

Added info: Whatsapp seems to remember how you add pictures. What I mean about this is that when you send a duplicate picture, Whatsapp remembers how you sent the picture the first time and updates the timestamp only, not making a new instance of the picture. Let me demonstrate

There are 2 ways to send a picture with Whatsapp on iPhone

1. "+" sign --> "Photo & Video Library" --> bottom right "More apps" --> Pick your picture inside Files app  --> click the "HD" button on the top --> send!

2. "+" sign --> "Photo & Video Library" --> select photo in photos app --> click on HD above then under photo quality heading click "HD quality" --> send!

Furthermore, it gets even more complicated when sending a picture, then sending a different picture, then re-sending the 1st picture as duplicate. I will demonstrate both ways as above and with including a different picture in the mix. 

With method #1, the 1st picture received from iPhone X to AVD pixel 5 :

name = IMG-20230704-WA0027.jpg 1:07:23 PM

Re-send the same picture using #1 method

name = IMG-20230704-WA0027.jpg 1:16:46 PM (only the time has updated but the filename has not progressed)

Now I'm gong to add a different picture so that the progression of the filename is increased by 1 (verified this because a new filename was created IMG-20230704-WA0028.jpg) then send the same duplicate picture using #1 method. After adding a different picture and then sending IMG-20230704-WA0027.jpg as duplicate, the timestamp has been updated again! but no new filename has been created!

name = IMG-20230704-WA0027.jpg 1:20:13 PM

So, this demonstrates that when sending duplicate pictures, a new instance of the picture is not created, the original timestamp of the original photo is lost and the latest timestamp of that duplicate replaces the original picture in your phone's gallery app. Original filename, latest timestamp. Very strange to me.

Let me send the same picture using method #2 above, so again a new filename and timestamp is set for the picture received and the other duplicate IMG-20230704-WA0027.jpg does not have it's timestamp changed. How strange indeed. 

name = IMG-20230704-WA0032.jpg 1:50:38 PM

Then the same analogy follows if using method #2 above, a new timestamp will be set for the original filename IMG-20230704-WA0032.jpg. If I send a new picture from iphone X to pixel 5 AVD, then send the 1st duplicate again after, only the timestamp will be updated and no new filename is created. Since, we have the 1st duplicate IMG-20230704-WA0027.jpg which was sent using method #1 and IMG-20230704-WA0032.jpg which was sent using method #2. Now, let's re-send the same pic using method #1 and see if the timestamp get's updated for IMG-20230704-WA0032.jpg or IMG-20230704-WA0027.jpg (because the last duplicate which was sent was using method #2 so we are trying method #1 to see which variant gets updated). Sending the same picture using method #1:

So, IMG-20230704-WA0027.jpg is now updated with timestamp 2:02:14 PM!!! using method #1 and not IMG-20230704-WA0032.jpg !!! Let's try to re-send the same picture using method #2:

Once again, IMG-20230704-WA0032.jpg has it's timestamp updated to 2:04:05 PM!! and no new filename is created, which proves the point that whatsapp remembers how you send a photo from iphone X to AVD pixel 5 and once it's received, it updates the timestamp depending on which method you use to send the picture !!

Let's try method #2 a second time and see which file gets updated -- IMG-20230704-WA0027.jpg or IMG-20230704-WA0032.jpg. Sending the same picture using method #2 produces:

IMG-20230704-WA0027.jpg does not get updated! it retains a timestamp of 2:02:14 PM but this time IMG-20230704-WA0032.jpg is updated from previous timestamp of 2:04:05 PM to 2:14:22 PM !! further proving my point. 

To extend this further to friends and family who don't know about this, they may send duplicate pictures using either of these methods or whichever they find a hurry and through carelessness, send a large number of the same pictures at different times. They may add previous pictures that they already sent together with new pictures taken and you now have A BIG problem with original pictures received with updated timestamps through duplicate photos along new pictures and new filenames. 

When importing photos to windows, Whatsapp pictures are imported with updated timestamps instead of original timestamps. It becomes very, very difficult to backtrack and pin point when photos were first received using whatsapp's filename convention - IMGYYYYMMDD (since it doesn't include time information in the filename). Let's say for example, a whatsapp picture was received from your friend on Dec 3, 2022 and then several months later was sent again On Feb 24, 2023. After you import your whatsapp pictures from your android phone to windows, the photos date modified will be Feb 23, 2023 and not Dec 3, 2022 (when you first received it). Or even perhaps, you disable media auto download for pictures and relied on manually saving whatsapp pictures by yourself, if you save a picture several days later after your receive it, it will be saved with the current date and time that it's aved within gallery. If a photo was received on Dec 3, 2022 and you had media auto download disabled and decided to download the picture on Feb 24, 2023. It will be saved as IMG-20230224-WAXXXX.jpg. If they sent you duplicates together with media auto download disabled, then you be adding the same photo with the same filename but with updated to more recent timestamp. 

Is there a workaround for this to retain the original timestamps of photos when they were first received with the original filename and original timestamp and prevent the original file from having it's timestamp updated with duplicates being sent either with media auto download enabled or disabled?

I've contacted whatsapp about this and I didn't get any explanation from them. Are you guys experiencing the same issue ?

This post was modified 11 months ago 3 times by ghostanime2001
Posted : 04/07/2023 7:07 pm