Think You Deleted WhatsApp Messages for Good? Well, Think Again

If you thought gone are the days when your ‘accidentally sent’ WhatsApp message wasn’t going to become the talk of the town (thanks to the ‘delete message’ feature that WhatsApp has rolled out), I have bad news for all of you!

Earlier, users were under the impression that they would be able to delete WhatsApp messages, where both the sender and the recipient wouldn’t be able to view the message after it was deleted.

To the horror of the callous WhatsApp users, a loophole has been discovered by ‘The Next Web’, which shows that there is a way you can view the deleted message.

The only catch – the message can only be deleted for everyone within the first seven minutes of it being sent. After that, you can only delete it at your end.

According to the report, if a message has been ‘quoted’ by the recipient, then the sent text can be viewed even after the original message has been deleted by the sender. What is a quoted text message? See below.

Above, “Dude work with me” is the quoted text with a reply “I am a dedicated player”
Above, “Dude work with me” is the quoted text with a reply “I am a dedicated player”
(Photo: The Quint)

Alright! This is for the ones who lost me up there!

So, for example: If a message has been sent to you on WhatsApp and you highlight that particular message and click on the ‘reply’ option, the message is automatically quoted.

Since the text in the quoted message is visible in your window, it will always be visible even if the sender deletes it from his/her end. The only way to permanently delete the message is if you delete the quoted message from your end as well!

The same process works for WhatsApp group messages too.

How ‘Deleted for Everyone’ Feature Can Be Bypassed

Bypassing the ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature on WhatsApp. The message “Dude work with me” has been sent from one end
Bypassing the ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature on WhatsApp. The message “Dude work with me” has been sent from one end
(Photo: The Quint)

The sender delivers a message, “Dude work with me!” which, as you can see, has been read by the recipient.

WhatsApp app screenshot showing WhatsApp’s ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature 
WhatsApp app screenshot showing WhatsApp’s ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature 
(Photo: The Quint)

The message “Dude work with me!” is highlighted and deleted for everyone from the users end. However, before the message is deleted, the recipient quotes the message “Dude work with me!” and replies on the same with “I am a dedicated player”.

WhatsApp screenshot of the recipient showing the original deleted message, and the same text in a quote window with a reply “I am a dedicated team player”
WhatsApp screenshot of the recipient showing the original deleted message, and the same text in a quote window with a reply “I am a dedicated team player”
(Photo: The Quint)

The picture above shows that the message, “Dude work with me!” has been deleted for both, the recipient and the senders, but the text can still be viewed in the reply window of the recipient.

The only way that the message can be deleted at both ends is if the sender and the recipient delete the message sent, along with the quoted message as seen below.

WhatsApp screenshot of the sender showing WhatsApp message deleted completely
WhatsApp screenshot of the sender showing WhatsApp message deleted completely
(Photo: The Quint)
WhatsApp screenshot of the recipient showing WhatsApp message in the quote window “Dude work with me” deleted 
WhatsApp screenshot of the recipient showing WhatsApp message in the quote window “Dude work with me” deleted 
(Photo: The Quint)

Another way you can view deleted WhatsApp messages is by installing third party Android apps like Notification HistoryThe application allows users to view notifications from various apps, and in this particular case, WhatsApp. However, only the first 100 characters of the message can be seen.

Notification History app showing the deleted WhatsApp text (first message)
Notification History app showing the deleted WhatsApp text (first message)
(Photo: The Quint)
Notification History app doesn’t show the text if there is more than one message. The second message from ‘Adeetya Quint’ is an example 
Notification History app doesn’t show the text if there is more than one message. The second message from ‘Adeetya Quint’ is an example 
(Photo: The Quint)

Notification History records notification updates from many apps, including WhatsApp and stores in its memory. The only way you can view the deleted WhatsApp text is if only one message has been sent. If there are more than one, then the notification reads as ‘two new messages’.

The Notifications History app is available for free on Google Play Store. There are similar third-party applications available online but ‘The Next Web’ used this.

There is another way to hunt for deleted messages which involves accessing the notification log on the Android device.

For people using third-party launchers, you need to access Widgets by long pressing on the home screen, then tapping on Widgets > Activities > Settings > Notification log. The system’s notification log can be accessed from here.

So the next time you delete a ‘questionable’ or an ‘accidentally sent’ message and think you’ve gotten away with it, be careful, that can of worms can be opened again!


About The Quint

The Quint is media with intelligence. The Quint is media for mobile consumption – quickly, visually and socially. The Quint is popular, digital journalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.