Brain to Mike “Yeah kid, you do that… you delete that message you wrongly sent to your boss and then thank the good guys at WhatsApp.”
Mike thanked heavens, for the mistake he did was grave but the last moment’s save was even greater.
WhatsApp has allowed users to delete their sent messages to prevent disastrous incidents like this one—Mike had accidentally sent his new job application to his boss, who was considering him for promotion, rather than the competitor’s prospective headhunter.
Little did Mike know that John liked to geek out on technology and had a special interest in knowing what people deleted after sending it.
“Is this a bit Impolite? Yes!”
“But will it be eye opening? Most definitely!” …Is what they all think.
But first, let’s see if that is possible or not.
WhatsApp is a fairly simple, straight-forward app for sending messages. It was limited to texts first, then media was added, then there was voice chat and then a whole bunch of other features.
After the craze of the WhatsApp hype train was slowing down a bit, the app released new features—one of which was a “delete for Me” or “delete for everyone” option for sent messages. If that message is not received at the other side, it will be deleted without trace… Or so they thought.
Now the “this message has been deleted” mark left people curious and made them think about stuff they could do to get that deleted message back.
Considering the curiosity everyone must have felt and is feeling right now, we’ve come up with three solutions to the problem…
Yes, it is possible to get to see these deleted messages but it depends upon chance and how much are you willing to share the control of knowledge in your device.
Let’s discuss the three methods and see what they require…
1. The Notification Log
You may have noticed that all the messages you receive are not set on display on the main screen of your device, however, even if your mobile phone is locked, a new incoming message is displayed on the lock screen and in your notification panel (if your notifications for that app are on).
Now, imagine not wanting other people to see those messages and then feel the rush of blood to the face when someone just picks up your locked device and gets to see a glance of that notification.
When received, WhatsApp messages leave an entry in the notification log if you interact with them. Here is how you can see the log entries in notifications…
- Press on your home screen for a few seconds to get to the “add new widget” option.
- In the widget section, select the Settings Widget.
- Place the Settings Widget on one of the screens where you want it to be.
- Depending on your device manufacturer or Android version, you will be shown a list of options the Settings Widget can open up on tap.
- Search and choose the Notification Log option.
Once opened, your notification log will show you all the previous notifications the device showed you, along with all the messages, including the WhatsApp messages you received.
The catch here is, once again, that the notifications need to be interacted with to be available in the log for you to view.
The other catch is that the message will be available as much as it was shown on the notification. That’s it.
You can use third-party apps like WhatsRemoved to check the logs as well.
Note: We tested the notification log method—it doesn’t work on every smartphone.
2. Recover Backup
So the notification method did not work, and you still need those deleted messages. There is a longshot method that just might work—you can restore the WhatsApp chat from a stored backup.
For this to work, you need to understand that the deleted message should have arrived before the time your device made a backup.
If you are unclear about that, know this: WhatsApp makes a backup of the chat every day at 2 a.m. You can do a manual back up on command if you want to. The backup is loaded to your Google Drive every day/week/month, depending on your setting.
You can do it by following these steps:
- Uninstall WhatsApp.
- Then reinstall WhatsApp from the app store.
- When in the installation runs, after asking the usual questions, WhatsApp will prompt that it has found a backup and would ask you to restore from it.
- Select restore from the backup here by tapping Restore.
- After a few moments, your WhatsApp will be restored as it was just before the backup.
The catch here is that the recovery only works on messages deleted after the backup was made. This turns it into a big 24-hour window.
The probability would be much less of getting those messages. And to compare it with losing messages permanently received after the backup was done, the choice of using this method becomes a little bit tough.
Furthermore, there are no backups of notifications made by WhatsApp. Combined with the above-mentioned scenario, the probability of getting a deleted message by the sender becomes very slim.
3. Third-Party Apps, Lose Your Privacy
The final method is plain and simple. Download apps that are available on app stores for the very same purpose.
These apps work on the basis of logging notifications.
They keep tabs on the notifications made by the system for the user (you) and record them.
These include any kind of message from any app, including the native Messages, Skype or WhatsApp apps. It could even be messages from games.
The catches here are…
- That these notifications need to be interacted with to be saved by the system in the notification log. Since the apps take their data from the log, it is dependent on what is entered and stored in it.
- The phone should not have been restarted or turned off. If that happens, the notification log is cleared and set as new.
Third-party tools usually follow the freemium app economy model. They give you the app for free in exchange for:
- Showing you needless ads.
- Sharing/selling your personal data to marketers.
- Or promise a better experience in the paid version.
The promise of the paid version sounds compelling and is rarely available.
So weigh in your priorities before you start thinking about getting a third-party tool to just get a chance shot at retrieving a deleted message from the sender.
As a matter of fact, the only method that truly works in a safe manner is when you want to retrieve your own deleted messages and chats through a backup.
All the rest give you a chance and nothing more, that too with a heavy price with the probability playing against you.
Mike should rest assured that John and people like him will most probably have to quench their thirst of curiosity with some late night viewing of alien abductions on the History Channel, for now.