- WhatsApp used to give users seven minutes to delete a message after sending it. This deletion would affect all recipients.
- Now, for reasons unknown, the time is one hour, eight minutes, and 16 seconds.
- Still, there are ways for message recipients to keep a message, even if the sender deletes it.
We’ve all done it: we’ve sent a text to the wrong recipient, or decided to speak our mind to someone and regretted it right after hitting “Send.” Fortunately, WhatsApp users have had about seven minutes to delete messages they’ve sent, but now they’ll have even longer: one hour, eight minutes, and 16 seconds.
Why the time limit is so specific is not really clear, but surely WhatsApp users will welcome the extra time.
Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, has a “secret conversations” setting in its Messenger app for Android and iOS. Starting a secret conversation ensures that the only people with access to the messages are those involved in the discussion; Facebook and any third-parties will not screen the conversation for any reason. But, a secret conversation can only be deleted from one side, i.e., if a member eliminates the conversation from their device, the other people in the conversation still have it.
With WhatsApp, the one hour removal period enables users to delete their messages from all sides of the conversation, whether that’s with one person or multiple people.
However, savvy WhatsApp users discovered recently that if a message you send gets quoted in that grace period, those quoted messages do not get deleted. So even if you delete a message before the hour is up, the other person could have quoted it and thus prevented it from being removed.
There’s no word on if this quoted-text workaround will be solved by WhatsApp at some point in the future, so for now, you still have to message with some caution.
Conversely, if you want to have totally secure, private, and easily deleted conversations, check out DONTALK, which lets you retract sent messages and delete conversations from all recipients. It’s free!