WhatsApp has added an interesting new feature in version 2.18.113 of its app for Android, allowing anyone to redownload an image, GIF, document, or voice message which they deleted from their phone. This wasn’t possible before, but it seems the company has changed its mind in its latest update.
WABetaInfo points out that undowloaded media is currently stored in WhatsApp’s server for 30 days. Once it’s been accessed, the app immediately removes it from the server. The new change upends this system as it indicates that the brand will now be storing any media sent via its platform.
This way, if a person deletes a photo from their device, they just have to go back to the original conversation and get hold of the snapshot again. Of course, the message in question should still be intact. The media can’t be recovered if it’s been deleted from the chat.
This shift towards saving attachments in its servers might make privacy advocates pause, especially in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Still, WhatsApp makes sure to keep all media end-to-end encrypted, so it won’t be able to view the contents of what’s been sent.
WABetaInfo claims that it managed to download images and videos which were 2 to 3 months old, but only after several attempts. Extremely old stuff from August 2017 wasn’t accessible at all, with WhatsApp simply asking them to request the sender to forward the media again.
iOS users don’t appear to have the same option available to them as yet. The publication thinks this might be because the directory where WhatsApp saves media isn’t easily accessible, so the problem of accidentally deleting photos doesn’t occur as often. We’ll let you know if the tool gets added in the future.
You can download the latest version of WhatsApp for Android through the Play Store.