You may have not realized it, but your messaging app of choice may be resizing or compressing the pictures you share to send them more easily. This is useful if you have a limited or spotty connection, but sometimes the shrinking makes your photos look small or even pixelated when they finally get to their destination.
To make the most of your images, it’s important to share them at their very best quality, and knowing where to tweak these settings on any app will give you the freedom to adjust them in every situation.
To open up WhatsApp’s media quality options on iOS, tap Settings, Storage and Data, and Media Upload Quality. On Android, tap the three dots (top right), and go to Settings, Storage and data, and Photo upload quality.
You get three options: Auto (recommended), Best quality, and Data saver. WhatsApp hasn’t gone on record saying exactly what specs the auto mode uses, or how it decides which settings to pick in any given occasion. But if you want to make sure your photos always look their best when you share them, choose Best quality.
You’ll see a message telling you that best quality photos are larger and can take longer to send, so if you don’t have a particularly fast connection then you might want to use Data saver sometimes as well.
To adjust the image sharing quality settings in Signal, tap the three dots (top right) and then Settings, Data and storage, and Sent media quality.
You’ll have to choose between Standard or High. Signal doesn’t offer any information about the details of these two alternatives, but High is the one to pick if you want to maximize the quality of the media you’re sharing.
When sending images through Telegram, tap the attachment button (the paperclip), then select the images you want to include. But don’t tap the send button straight away—Instead, tap the three dots (in the top right corner of the pop-up gallery) and select Send without compression.
If you rely on Apple’s instant messaging service, you should know that there is a data saver mode that will reduce the quality of the images you share. It only takes a moment to make sure that this mode isn’t enabled—from the main iOS Settings pane, select Messages, then scroll down to the Low-Quality Image Mode toggle switch. If it’s on, turn it off to maximize the quality of your shared pictures.
Twitter also has settings for managing the quality of photos and videos you share. From the main screen in the app, tap your profile picture (top left), then Settings and privacy. There, go to Accessibility, display and languages, and Data usage. Set both the High-quality image uploads and the High-quality video options to work on both cellular data and WiFi to make sure you’re always sharing the best versions of your files.
There aren’t any quality settings to know about in the Photos app on the iPhone, but be aware that the platform automatically resizes images on shared albums to a maximum width or height of 2,048 pixels. To get around this, choose a different method of sharing through the Apple Photos app that doesn’t involve shared albums. Sending a direct iCloud link, for example, is a good alternative.
Google Photos doesn’t have image and video quality settings for sharing photos, but it has them for uploading these files to the cloud. If you want to share images and clips at their maximum resolution, you’ll only be able to do so with files you’ve uploaded in this way.
[Related: How to easily share anything from your phone]
From the mobile app, tap your profile picture (top right), then Photos settings, Backup and sync, then Upload size and Original quality.
For apps that we haven’t mentioned—including the likes of Facebook Messenger, Google Chat, and Instagram—there are no quality settings for images and videos that you upload.
Not only that but there’s very little in the way of information about whether these platforms compress your photos at all. If you really want to avoid apps changing the quality of your pictures and videos, use an instant messenger that has these settings available, or use direct links through apps like Dropbox, for example.