A few months ago, at the end of October, Whatsapp rolled out the long-requested and wished for feature by almost every single Whatsapp user, the ability to delete or “unsend” messages. There is no user of messaging apps in general who haven’t had this awkward situation where they would send a message that is either inappropriate or sent to the wrong person and immediately regretted sending it and wished that he or she could roll back and undo sending it, and Whatsapp is no exception.
The feature was rolled out by Facebook-owned messaging app, Whatsapp messenger, for every platform out there: IOS, Android, Windows Phones, and even the desktop version. It is quite simple and straight forward to use, too, all it takes for you to delete the message you regretted sending is to tap on it long enough for your options to show, choose “Delete” from those options, then select “Delete for everyone”, that is it! The dreadful text is gone!
The company promised its users that the message is truly gone as long as it is deleted within 7 minutes from sending it and all its recipients have the latest updated version of Whatsapp installed on their devices.
Yet, considering the one constant rule we all learnt from years of using the internet that once you say or post something online it is almost impossible to take it back or make it go away as if it never happened, we must question the effectiveness of Whatsapp’s “Delete for everyone” option. Especially when an Android blogger found out a way to read the so-called deleted messages on Whatsapp messenger only days after the company rolled out the option and it was pretty simple, too!
On Android devices, the device’s notification list always contains stored Whatsapp messages whether they were deleted after sending by the sender or not, as long as they are received, they can be found in that list. All a user need to do to read the “deleted” message is to check that log where he or she can find about 100 characters of that message, as they appear on the apps notifications, stored in there. If you think that this is too much work, there are many apps available on Google Play store that can present you with a direct link to that notification history file.
It is fair to add, though, that the blogger who found this work-around said that there are limitations to it. For example, messages can be retrieved only if they have been already seen or interacted with and it only applies to text messages whereas other types like images or videos cannot be retrieved once they are deleted.