We all do mistakes and anyone can do. WhatsApp has realized this 2 years back and came up with the feature of “DELETE FOR EVERYONE”. WhatsApp users are very happy to get the tool to undo their action and unsend any text, contacts, photos, videos, and documents mistakenly sent. But if you’re sending media files to an iPhone user, then you can’t rely on this feature.
Likewise its competing Application, Telegram, WhatsApp also facilitates delete any message, text, photo, or video if the sender changes his mind. However, the action can be taken only within an hour, 8 minutes, and 16 seconds.
Mr. Shitesh Sachan who is a security consultant for smartphone applications has revealed in his recent findings that the “DELETE FOR EVERYONE” feature in WhatsApp for iOS is only deleting media files like images and videos from the application and not from the receiver’s iPhone. So, if it shows “This message has been deleted.”, media files are stored in the receiver’s iPhone.
However, no such issue is encountered for Android devices. WhatsApp for Android will delete photos and videos even from the receiving device’s gallery as well.
This issue occurs because the default settings of WhatsApp auto-saves all the media files unless the settings are changed manually. It has been seen that very few people bother to customize the default settings of WhatsApp and some of them are even don’t aware of these settings.
Moreover, Apple iPhone is known for its robust security features. That’s why no application can make any changes to files stored on iPhone’s camera roll or other folders due to the intact privacy and security features of the Apple brand. So, if an iPhone recipient has not changed the default WhatsApp settings and the images or videos are auto-saved to iPhone’s cameral roll, WhatsApp feature “DELETE FOR EVERYONE” won’t work.
Well, technically that’s a good thing that Apple cares for its user’s security but WhatsApp should have made this fact clear to its users that unless WhatsApp default media storage settings are not changed, “DELETE FOR EVERYONE” feature won’t work.
A few days ago, the same loophole is also identified by Telegram in its “Delete For Everyone’ feature. However, unlike WhatsApp, Telegram took immediate action to patch the issue to resolve and deliver for what it is intended for.
Coming back to WhatsApp, the company has not taken it seriously when the issue has brought into light by Mr. Shitesh Sachan.
According to WhatsApp –
“The functionality provided via “Delete for Everyone” is intended to delete the message and there is no guarantee that the media (or message) will be permanently deleted—the implementation focuses around the message presented in WhatsApp.” Upon further arguing on this matter, WhatsApp said that “recipients may see your message before it’s deleted or if deletion wasn’t successful,”.
Although the company has straightaway denied taking the responsibility, it might be expected that the functionality will get improvements in the near future as one of the WhatsApp spokespeople said that,
“This feature is working properly, and using the ‘delete for everyone’ feature in time will result in media being removed from the WhatsApp chat thread. We provide simple options to help iPhone users manage the media they receive from friends and family, per the best practices established by operating systems. If a user chooses to save images to their camera roll they are stored out of reach of WhatsApp’s ‘delete for everyone feature.“
So, as of now, WhatsApp “Delete for Everyone” feature is not of much use if the recipient has moved the media file to another location or folder or if he has taken the screenshots of the chat head.