Is the “Delete for Everyone” WhatsApp feature bias when it comes to deleting media files sent to iPhone users?

We are all guilty of sending messages, especially media files to someone on WhatsApp that we shouldn’t have! Luckily, WhatsApp, along with its rival Telegram introduced the ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature that allowed many (if not most) of us to reciprocate (unsend) our mistake – if realized almost immediately!

But did you know that the potentially ‘life-saving’ feature contains an unpatched privacy bug that leaves many of its users with a false sense of privacy?

According to a recent discovery by Shitesh Sachan, an application security consultant – the WhatsApp ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature doesn’t delete media files that are sent to iPhone users. In fact, TheHackerNews who first reported the story, claims that the media files are saved on the recipient’s iOS Camera Roll even if they are deleted from the messenger chat screen.

On the other hand, when the same feature is applied against an Android user, the messaging service will delete the sent media files automatically from the gallery.

Earlier this week, a similar flaw was also discovered in the Telegram messenger app, however, the company patched the flaw immediately in order to provide users with the optimal usability of the feature.

However, in the case of WhatsApp, the company refused to address the problem at Sachan’s request. In fact, the leading messaging service claimed that they cannot give any guarantee that the media file or the media message deleted using the ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature will be removed permanently from the device. Nevertheless, the company said that it might make some adjustments to the feature in the coming weeks.

Photo: Getty Images / Photothek

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