WhatsApp: You can still read people’s embarrassing deleted messages even if they think they’ve ‘unsent’ them

While it isn’t a particularly serious flaw, it’s still a strange discovery

Aatif Sulleyman
Thursday 16 November 2017 12:41

There’s a way for WhatsApp users to read messages you’ve sent and deleted.

The messaging app recently launched Delete for Everyone, a useful feature that lets you “unsend” embarrassing messages, which effectively removes them from the conversation for both you and the recipient.

However, it has an unusual shortcoming.

Android Jefe has found that you can read messages that have already been deleted through your Notification Log on Android phones. While it isn’t a big flaw, it’s still a strange discovery.

You can do this by long-pressing the Settings icon, tapping the Widgets symbol that appears at the top of the pop-up window, and dragging the Settings widget to your home screen.

After that, scroll down to Notification Log and tap on the relevant entry on the list.

Alternatively, you can view the same list by downloading an app called Notification History.

The Independent tried out both methods and found that, while it is possible to view messages that have been deleted, you need to have already interacted with them.

We were able to read any deleted messages that we’d already read in WhatsApp, for example, and any deleted messages that we’d swiped away when they first appeared on-screen as notifications.

We weren’t, however, able to recover any deleted messages that we hadn’t seen or interacted with before they were deleted, which should come as a relief for everyone.

After all, if someone has already seen a message you accidentally sent before you manage to delete it, the worst of the damage has already been done.

That said, you can still gain a little peace of mind by removing an embarrassing message from view, even it it’s already been seen. This flaw, unfortunately, preserves it.

There are further caveats too. The methods described above only work for text messages, and they'll disappear from the Notification Log when you restart your phone.

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