If you find that your media files (videos, pictures and GIFs) on WhatsApp are suddenly reporting as being unavailable, it can be a heart-sinking feeling.
Things might not be quite as terminal as they first appear though, as there are ways to recover data when WhatsApp says it’s gone. Here are the things to try when WhatsApp says your media is no longer available.
Check your microSD card
Should your phone be one that supports SD cards, then the issue could be the card itself, if you've put one in the slot. Sometimes rebooting your device can reload the card properly, clearing any odd problems that may have arisen during use.
If this doesn’t help, you can always try removing the card and testing it in a PC or other device, just to rule out any hardware issues with your phone. If the card has failed, then you’ll need to look at a data recovery tool for salvaging any data stored onboard.
Check you haven’t moved your files to another folder
A common reason for media not being available is when items are moved from the expected folder into another one. On your device there should be folders within the Gallery app called WhatsApp Images, WhatsApp Animated GIFs or WhatsApp Video.
If you’ve moved the files from these folders to another location, then WhatsApp won’t be able to find them, hence the ‘not available’ warning. To have them back in WhatsApp once more, simply copy them from the new location and paste them back into the relevant folder.
Recover WhatsApp media by restoring a backup
Should all of the above methods not return your media to you, one last option is to uninstall the app, reinstall it, then choose you restore a previous backup.
Of course, you will need to have set up the backup option when you originally installed the app, otherwise there will be nothing to restore.
To check on an Android phone, open the Google Drive app and tap on the three lines in the upper left corner.
(If you're on an iPhone, then check if an iCloud backup exists in Settings > Chats > Chat Backup.)
From the menu that appears, tap Backups and search for a WhatsApp backup. If one is there, then you’ll be able to restore it when you reinstall the WhatsApp app.
For more details on the steps you need to take, read how to back up & restore WhatsApp.