Tiny tech tip #2: WhatsApp ‘delete for everyone’ has a strict time limit

Sent a sensitive message to the wrong chat, or want to delete something NSFW you sent an ex?

WhatsApp’s ‘Delete For Everyone’ feature seems like a godsend, but a lot of people don’t realise it has a very strict time limit. I know this because I get pleas for help *all the time* from people who have sent NSFW messages or pictures to someone, and now want to retract them.

The ‘Delete For Everyone’ feature makes it seem like that’s totally possible, which in turn has made lots of people freer about sending stuff — because they think they can always undo it later.

Of course, screenshots and saving files outside the chat were always big problems with that approach, but even that aside, there’s a rather large spanner in the works: the ‘Delete For Everyone’ feature has a time limit of one hour.

In other words, it’s intended very much for the “oops, wrong chat” use case rather than “here’s a nude that I might want back if we split up.”

After the one hour time limit, the only option you have is ‘Delete For Me.’ That’s useful if you don’t want to see the message in your version of the chat anymore, or you’re worried about someone going through your phone — but everything you sent is still there on the other person’s side.

If you’re going to send nudes, NSFW or other sensitive stuff — and all power to you if that’s what you’re into — just be aware that you won’t be able to revoke it after sixty minutes, and even if you could, all it takes is a screenshot, forward or share for that to be effectively useless.

Look after yourselves, folks.

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