WhatsApp’s ‘Delete For Everyone’ Feature Doesn’t Work With iPhones

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WhatsApp from Facebook has a feature called Delete for Everyone that lets people unsend messages, photos, and videos from an individual’s phone, or everyone in a group. But it doesn’t delete them from iPhones.

According to Shitesh Sachan, an application security consultant, who found this privacy issue and shared his findings exclusively with The Hacker News, the feature for WhatsApp for iOS has not been designed to delete received media files saved in the iPhone’s Camera Roll.

Check It Out: WhatsApp’s ‘Delete For Everyone’ Feature Doesn’t Work With iPhones

WhatsApp’s ‘Delete For Everyone’ Feature Doesn’t Work With iPhones

3 Comments Add a comment

  1. wab95

    Christian and Andrew:

    Agreed, that this is not a privacy but an advertisement, classification or even expectation management issue.

    It does work as advertised if iPhone users disable their automatic upload to Camera Roll in Settings. They also indicate that it might not work as advertised even for Android users.

    FB would have done better to label this as, ‘Delete for Many People’, ‘Delete for Most People’, ‘Delete for Android and Whatever…Unless It Doesn’t’, or even ‘Delete For Everyone Not Using an iPhone’, but not ‘Delete for Everyone’, unless FB intends, ‘If you’re using an iPhone, then you’re nobody’.

    I doubt that FB were intentionally being that snarky. They were just being situation normal; careless.

  2. Christian

    Somehow, I do not get the issue here…

    Basically, WhatsApp has a feature to delete content that is located within the app’s sandbox.

    WhatsApp has no means to delete stuff that already has been exported to other locations like Apple’s Camera Roll (if the user on the receiving end has set up WhatsApp to save its garbage to the Camera Roll).

    And to be honest: it would be a huge security hole if WhatsApp had the power to delete stuff that is on the Camera Roll without the user’s consent.

    As I said, I do not get it. This “privacy issue” is a non-issue. If you send someone something via WhatsApp, it is gone. You can request a “deletion” and technically it might be deleted in WhatsApp, but you can never know what has happened in the meantime. The same is true for digital data everywhere: as soon as it has left your device, you have lost control about the whereabouts of the data. You can request whatever you want, but you never can be sure, if your request has any success.

    • Andrew Orr

      I agree, it doesn’t seem to be a privacy issue. More of a false advertising issue, since WhatsApp doesn’t appear to make a distinction between the app’s actions on Android and iOS.

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