WhatsApp Messages Are Not Being Deleted From Your iPhone

WhatsApp Messages Are Not Being Deleted From Your iPhone

WhatsApp Messages Are Not Being Deleted From Your iPhone

If we are using WhatsApp for most of our communication then we should be careful on what we spend on the platform. Meanwhile, WhatsApp started End-to-End encryption on all messages on its platform, we would be sure that our private and sensitive messages are not being interrupted. But, there is one thing we should know for sure, and will be surprised.

When we delete a message or a batch of messages on WhatsApp, they disappear from our screen instantly. But we should know that messages that are not seen on our screen, are really still present on the smartphone, and are not forever deleted by WhatsApp.

WhatsApp has earned successes for its department on privacy and mainly for the end-to-end encryption that the app newly permitted. But the encryption doesn't mean that the WhatsApp messages are out of view from the prying eyes. The gap within the app means that even the deleted messages can be recovered because WhatsApp doesn't really delete the chats when used on an iPhone. 

Forensic hints of chats remain on the phone even after a user deletes or archives them, Zdziarski found, and could be read by someone with physical access to the device or by law administration issuing a permit to Apple for iCloud backups. While the data is deleted from the app, it is not overwritten in the SQLite library and therefore remains on the phone. 

“I installed the app and started a few different threads,” Zdziarski wrote in a blog post. “I then archived some, cleared, some, and deleted some threads. I made a second backup after running the ‘Clear All Chats’ function in WhatsApp. None of these deletion or archival options made any difference in how deleted records were preserved. In all cases, the deleted SQLite records remained intact in the database.

“The only way to get rid of them appears to be to delete the app entirely,” Zdziarski added.

Zdziarski's findings mean that other people or police could access messages that a user believed had been deleted if they were able to unlock the iPhone or download an iCloud backup of the device and the WhatsApp app.

Jonathan Zdziarski wrote in a blog post: 'Sorry folks, while experts are saying the encryption checks out in WhatsApp, it looks like the latest version of the app tested leaves the forensic trace of all of your chats, even after you've deleted, cleared, or archived them…even if you 'Clear All Chats'. 

'In fact, the only way to get rid of them appears to be to delete the app entirely.'


Earlier, WhatsApp’s End-to-End encryption was admired by many privacy supporters. But, this encryption is only applied when data is being transferred, avoiding carriers and other mediators from interrupting on our chats while the data is travelling over the network. But the findings from Zdziarski deals with what happens when the data reaches the phone kept on the device and on the cloud as a backup. He claims that cloud backups are not encoded and the mediators can obtain clear records of the chats by simply relating for a court order.

Zdziarski says that WhatsApp is not the only app that is affected by the problem. Even Apple's iMessage suffers from same issues.

The problem is also slightly similar to what PC users face when they erase an app. On a computer when you delete a file, it is not really deleted. Only its attributes change and if the sector where the data linked to the file is stored on hard disk is overwritten or wiped clean, the "deleted" file could be retrieved.
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About Mandvi Dwivedi

A Social Media and Cyber Security Expert. Love to write about latest technology and Gadgets.