WhatsApp Defaults To 'HD' Image And Video Sharing: A Balance Between Speed And Quality


File compression is both an angel and a devil.

On one side, in the world where smartphones are equipped with increasingly powerful cameras, images and videos can be massive in size. But thanks to compression, those content to be sent across the world in an instant. But on the other side, compression will lower the quality of the content.

WhatsApp, the most popular instant messaging app in terms of number of users, rely on image compression to make experience of sending content a jiffy.

But resorting to compression make content look bad, and WhatsApp knows this very well.

Back in 2023, the messaging app stepped a bit further by introducing support for high-resolution image sharing.

This time, it's making it the default option.

In the modern days of internet, smartphones get better, and also the internet itself, which gets speedier. With screens that provide higher and higher resolution, it's getting easier to see flaws in those compressed content due to their compromised size, resolution and quality.

On the media-first platform, like Instagram, which is also owned by Meta, compression is generally frowned upon.

But on WhatsApp, people expect things to be instantaneous, and WhatsApp has been providing that experience from the very beginning.

However, since WhatsApp started enticing users to create communities, copying rivals like Telegram, WhatsApp also resorts to increase file limits for uploads, allowing users to send completely uncompressed images and videos.

The thing is doing so means that users should attach them as documents instead of media.

In ordinary chats, where chats are usually made, users want a speedy experience, but a better image quality.

So HD image sharing here, is the ideal ground between the default compression and documents-type attachment that can be too massive.

Whereas the standard quality resize everything to a regular 1600 x 1052 resolution, HD supports images up to 4096 x 2692.

So indeed, this is a massive bump in quality.

By making it the default option, users won't have to manually choose HD every time they want to share a media, making high-quality sharing less of a hassle.


It's worth noting through, that HD doesn't mean WhatsApp is not doing any compression.

Compression is still there, but not as much.

It's also worth noting that the compression it uses for HD is not lossless.

This happens because most files sent through the messaging app use the JPEG format, which cannot easily support lossless compression due to its lossy format.

Regardless, it's a big step up from WhatsApp's usual compression, which often ruined image and video quality, turning them into pixelated disasters.

While many celebrate the crystal-clear quality of HD uploads, WhatsApp warns that these files use more bandwidth and storage space compared to standard options.