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Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Nov 17, 2017

How to read WhatsApp deleted messages

WhatsApp now lets people delete messages sent to group or individual users before they are read. While the feature works in most of the cases, there are typical cases when the feature fails. Let's see how can you read the WhatsApp deleted messages. This article is meant for educational purpose only.

There's something I observed with deleted messages. If the message is a photo or a video that has been downloaded on the receiver's phone (but not read), it's still available for the user to view it from their gallery.

You simply have to open your phone's gallery and look for the WhatsApp images or videos folder. You will be able to see all the photos or videos that have been 'deleted' by the sender. This works because WhatsApp can write to the gallery folder but not delete contents from it. It's a security feature put in place by Android.

But then, what about the text messages? It's simple. You'll need an app called Notification History. It keeps track of the messages received and deleted on your phone. WhatsApp stores the messages in the notification log. The app simply taps into the log and then reads all the messages in it.

I'm guessing that it's just a matter of time that this will be fixed through an Android OS update. The process is simpler for users running plain Android (stock) and Nova launcher. Here's how it works.

1. Nova launcher users need not have any third party app installed to read the deleted message. Long press home screen -> go to widgets section -> view the notification log to see all the messages.

2. Stock Android : I think the settings widget has the log stored. We need someone to confirm this. I do not have access to any phone running stock Android at this time.

Of course, there are several limitations to this. The most important one is that only first 100 chars of the message will be visible; because that's the max length notification can have.

We've another interesting discussion about what happens when WhatsApp is uninstalled: What Happens When You Uninstall WhatsApp?. Another interesting discussion to follow on CrazyEngineers is: Delete an undelivered message on WhatsApp

If you know other techniques or tips to read deleted WhatsApp messages, please let us know through comments below.
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Nov 17, 2017
Btw, there's the app called Notification History mentioned in the above post: Notification History - Android Apps on Google Play

One thing I forgot to mention was that the app can only read the messages that have generated a notification. The messages that have been muted will not enter the notification register of Android. If you've swiped away the notification message, which means an 'interaction', then the message is stored in the Android notification log.

Have you ever deleted a message that you accidentally sent? Let me know.

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