WhatsApp adds an undo Delete for Me option to recover accidentally deleted messages

Dec 22, 2022

WhatsApp Messenger has a new feature that lets you recover a message that you deleted. But you'll have to be nimble fingered, as you only have 5 seconds to correct your mistake.

WhatsApp gets an Undo option to help you retrieve accidentally deleted messages

The feature was tested in the beta channel of the app a few months ago, but now the Meta-owned instant messaging service is rolling out the option for all users.

Before we see how it works, let us discuss why this could be an important change. When you select a message in a WhatsApp chat and choose the delete option, the message gets removed, and you can't access it anymore. There's nothing unusual about it, because that's how it is designed to work, but the option that you selected can actually make a difference.


Image courtesy: The Verge

Let's say you made a typo in a group chat, or posted something by mistake, for example, a link that you wanted to share with someone else, you can remove the message by picking the Delete for everyone option. However, if you accidentally chose to delete a message for yourself, instead of deleting it for everyone, that becomes a funny situation. Everyone else in the group would be able to see the message that you deleted, but you cannot.

That's a rather silly limitation, isn't it? That's why WhatsApp has introduced an Undo Delete option. Here is the catch, the undo feature does not work if you chose the delete for everyone option. I'm not sure why WhatsApp has this restriction in place, a person may want to use the undo action in both scenarios.

There is another reason why this feature can come in handy. What if you had deleted the wrong message, or maybe you changed your mind and decided that you wanted to view the deleted content? The Undo button can save the day.

Want to try it out? Update WhatsApp Messenger to the latest version on your Android mobile or iPhone, and send a message to someone, you can try it in the "Message Yourself" chat. Tap on it to select it, and then hit the delete button. Select the Delete for me option. You should see a pop-up that says Undo, tap on it to recover the message. It isn't limited to text messages, you can also use it to recover images, videos, links, etc. As I mentioned earlier, the undo action has a short window, i.e. a 5-second limit, beyond which you will lose access to the message permanently.

Now that you have corrected your mistake, you may choose to delete the message for everyone. The Undo option works in both personal chats and group conversations. There is no setting to manage the feature, or to control the time limit. WhatsApp's Undo Delete for Me option is only available for mobile devices, it does not work in the desktop app.

While the Undo option is useful, WhatsApp really needs an edit button. The messaging service was reportedly testing an edit feature in the beta version a few months ago. So maybe there is a chance we could see it in the near future.

Article Name
WhatsApp adds an undo Delete for Me option to recover accidentally deleted messages
WhatsApp adds an undo option to help you recover accidentally deleted messages. Here's how it works.
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  1. John G. said on December 22, 2022 at 9:59 pm

    WhatsApp should clear the silly message of “this message has been deleted”. If I deleted something there is no need at all that the other person see the explanation that the message has been deleted. Furthermore if a message is deleted it still persists in the notification area of Android. Telegram works better in this sense. Thanks @Ashwin for the article. :]

  2. Paul(us) said on December 23, 2022 at 12:50 am

    Five seconds is crazy short. Could Mark Zuckerberg have chosen five seconds because Mister Zuckerberg is super fast?

  3. storage_exp said on December 23, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    Once sent to “cloud” data can’t ever be deleted.
    Prove me wrong or right.

  4. Anonymous said on December 23, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    Good point. Nothing gets deleted at META/FB/WA.

    On a side note, Threema just got perfect forward secrecy added into an already very secure and COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS service (at a very low one-time cost). Use it with those you really care about ;-)

  5. Rick Bell said on December 24, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    Does this new feature “undelete” messages, deleted prior to this new feature?

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