How to reply deleted messages on WhatsApp

(REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

WhatsApp: You can still read peoples embarrassing deleted messages even if they think theyve unsent them

While it isnt a particularly serious flaw, its still a strange discovery

Aatif Sulleyman
Thursday 16 November 2017 12:41
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Theres a way for WhatsApp users to read messages youve 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.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

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1/1212 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Unsend messages

You can unsend a message by tapping and holding it, hitting the Delete symbol and selecting Delete for Everyone. The feature works for all types of messages, but only if they were sent less than seven minutes ago.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Dodge the blue ticks

WhatsApps blue ticks show when sent messages have been read, but you can disable them buy going to Settings > Account > Privacy > Read Receipts. However, bear in mind that, by doing so, youll lose the ability to see when your own sent messages have been read. Another, more fiddly way of reading your messages without triggering the blue ticks, is enabling Aeroplane Mode before opening your messages - just remember to close the app before switching Aeroplane Mode off again.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Hide your 'last seen' time

Prevent your friends from finding out when you were last online by hiding your last seen time. Go to Settings > Account > Privacy > Last Seen. As is the case with disabling read receipts, hiding your last seen time will also stop you from seeing anybody elses.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Limit data usage

You can control how much data you munch through on WhatsApp by limiting the types of media you automatically download on a mobile connection. Go to Settings > Data Usage and choose the best option for you.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Customise notifications

If youre expecting an important WhatsApp message from someone, set a custom notification for them by opening the chat, tapping their name at the top and hitting Custom Notifications.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Format your messages

To jazz up any of your messages, simply highlight it by tapping and holding it, hit the More Options key on the pop-up menu and tap the formatting option you want - bold, italic, strikethrough or monospace.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Type hands-free

You can get Siri or Google Assistant to type your WhatsApp messages out for you by saying either Hey Siri or Okay Google, followed by the name of the person you want to message and the actual contents of the message.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Mark chats as unread

When youve read a message but cant reply to it straight away, you can set a visual reminder by marking it as unread. On Android, long-press the conversation, and on iOS, swipe from left to right on a chat.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Email entire conversations

You almost certainly wont do this on a regular basis, but its a handy option to have. You can export entire conversations - complete with emoji and media attachments - by hitting More inside a chat a selecting Email Chat.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Mass-message contacts

You can send the same message to lots of your contacts without lumping them all into one group, much like the BCC option on email, by hitting the New Broadcast option on the apps main menu.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Pin conversations

You pin up to three contacts and groups to the top of your WhatsApp conversation list by tapping and holding a chat, then hitting the pin icon.

12 useful WhatsApp features you didnt know existed

Make things easier to find

You can easily mark key messages with a star, allowing you to find them easily when you need to. Just tap and hold a message and hit the star icon to save it, and return to it later by selecting Starred Messages in WhatsApps main menu.

Android Jefe has found that you can read messages that have already been deleted through your Notification Log on Android phones. While it isnt a big flaw, its 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 wed already read in WhatsApp, for example, and any deleted messages that wed swiped away when they first appeared on-screen as notifications.

We werent, however, able to recover any deleted messages that we hadnt seen or interacted with before they were deleted, which should come as a relief for everyone.

  • WhatsApp trick lets you unsend embarrassing messages from days ago

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 its 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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1/1People can still read your embarrassing deleted WhatsApp messages

People can still read your embarrassing deleted WhatsApp messages

While it isnt a particularly serious flaw, its still a strange discovery

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