WhatsApp, a messaging app used by millions worldwide finally gave everyone the ability to delete sent messages from an individual conversation or group chat back last year in November.
It’s unquestionably one of the most important features of the chat app and allows anyone to quickly remove any embarrassing messages.
For anyone who hasn’t used the feature – which is available on Apple iOS, Android and Windows – it replaces your deleted message with a new note in the feed which reads: “This message was deleted”.
However, there is a limit currently put in place which means that messages can only be recalled in the chat within the first seven minutes of it being sent.
Once it passes the magic seven-minute mark, you can only delete it from your own smartphone timeline, but importantly, not your friends and families feeds who can still see the message.
Which is unquestionably the most redundant feature of all and doesn’t help people in the slightest if they’re attempting to hide a message they don’t want anyone else to see.
But, a new update has hinted that WhatsApp might be about to improve the feature with a significant change.
According to WABetaInfo, a site which is built on trawling through the latest WhatsApp patches, beta releases and updates, a new change is in the works that will increase the time which you are able to delete a message.
The change will reportedly raise the limit from the existing seven minutes to 1 hour 8 minutes and 16 seconds.
And no, we’re not entirely sure why it’s such an oddly specific time, but we imagine there’s a logical reason behind it.
However, at the moment this change is only being reported for the latest Android beta, version 2.18.69 and not for iPhone users.
More recently Tech website The Next Web reported a loophole within the app which meant that the deleted messages will continue to appear in a conversation if it has been quoted.
“We noticed that quoted messages in group chats continue to show in quotes even after they have been wiped,” reported the site.
“Attempting the same thing in a private chat bred the exact same results.”
“While the original message will successfully disappear, the deleted text continues to show in the recipient’s quote.
“WhatsApp highlights in its FAQ that you can only delete messages for up to seven minutes after they have been sent – as long as both the sender and the recipient are using the latest version of the app. Curiously, it makes no mention how the feature works in cases of quotes.”
It’s possible that this is a bug, but equally, it might be a feature which WhatsApp has failed to disclose.
Either way, it’s not the first flaw that’s been found relating to WhatsApp’s delete for everyone feature.
According to Spanish tech blog AndroidJefe, it’s possible to read messages that have already been deleted via the Notification Log on Android phones.
Alternatively, it was also possible by downloading an app called Notification History.
The Independent tested both methods at the time and found that while it was still possible to view messages that have been deleted, you needed to have already interacted with them.
“We were able to read any deleted messages that we’d already read in WhatsApp, for example, and any deleted messages that we’d swiped away when they first appeared on-screen as notifications.
We weren’t, however, able to recover any deleted messages that we hadn’t seen or interacted with before they were deleted, which should come as a relief for everyone.