How to send unsupported files via WhatsApp

With just over 1.2 billion users globally, there is no denying that WhatsApp is close to being king, if not already king of instant messaging these days.  In recent months the app has undergone several changes, adding new features, refining the user-interface and improving performance, but it still falls short of apps such as Telegram and Hike Messenger which allow for the sharing of a larger cross-section of file formats.

So what do you do when you have an .apk, .pub, .zip, .avi or any other unsupported file format to send to a friend?

You can:

  1. Email the file to your friend.
  2. Use a messaging app which supports the file format you want to send, and hope your friend is using that app as well or
  3. Cut through all the red tape by using Steg.

Steg (short for Steganography – the art of hiding of a secret message within an ordinary message and the extraction of it at its destination) is an app developed by LordFME.  The app works in tandem with WhatsApp, allowing you to send unsupported file formats via WhatsApp once the file size falls within WhatsApp’s current file size limit of 100MB.

Basically Steg encodes the unsupported file as a supported PDF file and allows it to be shared on WhatsApp.  When the files is delivered, Steg (which must also be installed on the receiver’s device) decodes the file from within WhatsApp allowing for it to then be viewed or used on your friend’s device.

You can send files directly from your file browser, gallery app, etc. by simply using the Share via Steg option.

The Fun Stuff

  1. Download and install Steg on your Android device (once installed, there is no setup requirement for the app).  The app is currently unavailable on the Google Play Store.
  2. Open your file manager and navigate to the unsupported file you wish to send.
  3. Select the file and choose share
  4. Share with Steg
  5. Tap on Encode
  6. Tap on Share Encoded File
  7. Select WhatsApp from the list of apps which will pop up
  8. Select the WhatsApp contact you want to send the file to
  9. Tap the WhatsApp send button

Once the receiver has Steg installed on their device, all they need to do is:
  1. Tap the received file within the WhatsApp chat area
  2. Choose Steg from the list
  3. Tap on Decode
  4. Tap on Open Decoded File
  5. The file should now open in the default app for that particular file format on the device.

Give Steg a try and be sure to share your thoughts, comments, experience(s) or questions about the app in the comment section below.  You should also check out the official XDA Forum for Steg and say “thank you” to LordFME.

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Author: Jervis Dabreo

Jervis A. Dabreo (1979 - ) is a Grenadian author, blogger and high school teacher with a passion for technology and empowering others.

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