WhatsApp has become insanely popular with smartphone users because it makes it completely free to send pictures, videos and text messages, and make calls - even abroad. But it does have its downfalls, and key among them is the fact it automatically downloads photos and other media, hitting your data allowance hard and clogging up your storage.

We'll tackle each of these problems below (shown here in Android, but the process is very similar for iPhone).

Stop WhatsApp Downloading Photos & Video

Launch WhatsApp and tap the three dots at the top-right corner. Choose Settings > Data and Storage Usage.

Stop WhatsApp downloading photos and video

Under Media auto-download you should see three options: When using mobile data, When connected on Wi-Fi, and when roaming. Tap on each of these options, deselect all options, then tap OK.

Stop WhatsApp downloading photos and video

Stop WhatsApp hogging your storage space

Because it's free to send photos and video over the service, before you know it your phone storage is running out. By following the step above you should have now stopped all media auto-downloading, and can choose to download only the files you want.

It makes sense to set a rule for yourself to immediately download anything you don't want to keep, although we suspect things have probably already got out of hand and WhatsApp is consuming a huge amount of storage on your phone. Thankfully, it is now much easier to manage your storage.

Launch WhatsApp, tap the three dots at the top-right corner and choose Settings > Data and Storage Usage > Storage Usage.

Tap on each contact listed here to see how much storage your conversation with that person is using, plus a breakdown of what's consuming that space.

To quickly clear out some junk and free up some space, click Manage Messages at the bottom of the screen. It will automatically select these data types hogging storage, and you can then click Clear Messages at the bottom to remove them.

If there is anything you do want to keep ensure it is backed up first or deselect it from this list.

Here's how to block someone on Whatsapp.