Don't panic, but that risky WhatsApp message you changed your mind about and "unsent" via the app's new feature? Yeah, it may still have been read. According to new reports, the messaging app's "unsend" mechanism isn't as foolproof as you may have hoped or assumed.
The long-awaited feature, known as "Delete for Everyone", was added to the app last month and purportedly allows WhatsApp users to make messages disappear from a conversation, making them invisible to both the sender and recipient. However, it turns out there are still ways to read these deleted messages.
The team at Spanish blog Android Jefe have discovered two ways that Android users can subvert the mechanism and read the regrettable text-based messages they weren't meant to see. The first is via the Notification Log on Android – simply hold down the Settings icon, tap the Widgets symbol that shows up at the top of the pop-up window and drag the Settings Widget to the home screen before scrolling down to Notification Log and selecting the relevant message on the list.
The other method is by downloading an app called Notification History and giving it permission to access the deleted messages. When a user receives a message, the app shows a notification log along with the text-based message – some devices show up to 100 characters while others display the whole message – even if it's subsequently deleted.
"What we found is that the messages are stored in the notification register of the Android system. So, it's just a matter of entering that record to see the messages that the other person deleted," the blog concluded.
However, some claim users can only read the deleted messages if they've already interacted with them, i.e. that they've already read (and been hurt/shocked/outraged by), rather than ones that were deleted before the recipient saw them. The deleted messages also reportedly disappear from your Notification Log when you restart your phone, so you won't have access to them forever, which may provide some reassurance.