How to delete WhatsApp messages

Too many WhatsApp messages clogging up your chat? Find out how to manage your messages a little better with this guide.

Deleting your messages on WhatsApp

WhatsApp chat and groups, for schools, friends, colleagues and every relationship in between, is now part of life. All this buzz of constant communication also means it is all too easy to say something you didn’t mean, to the wrong person; or even a comment that’s no longer relevant to a conversation that’s moved on.

Deleting WhatsApp messages is straight-forward and only takes a few swipes. You have two options , you can either select to delete messages just for yourself or get rid of a message for every one of its intended audience – within approximately a one hour time limit.

How to delete a WhatsApp message for me

To get rid of offending or unwanted message...

  1. Open WhatsApp on your Android device or iPhone.
  2. In the Chats menu, tap on the chat which contains the message you need to remove.
  3. Press and hold the screen on the message to reveal a list of options.
  4. Tap Delete.
  5. An edit box should appear, with the message selected. Select more messages if you like, then tap the trash can symbol on the screen to go ahead.
  6. Hit Delete for Me to confirm the deletion. The message will then be deleted.

Deleting a WhatsApp message for everyone

You can also delete a specific message you’ve sent off to an individual or group chat on WhatsApp. This is handy if you’ve sent the wrong message, or if there are errors on the screen. One thing to note: this will leave a “This message was deleted” notice where the deleted message once was.

To delete messages for everyone:

  1. Open WhatsApp and find the chat with the target message to delete.
  2. Tap and hold said message. You also have the option to delete multiple messages.
  3. Hit Delete (rubbish bin icon) and then; Delete for everyone.

Other things to consider

Everything you wanted to know about deleting your messages but were afraid to ask.

  • In order for your messages to be deleted from everyone’s machine, both you and your recipients must be using the latest versions of WhatsApp.
  • Recipients using WhatsApp for Apple devices may still have media saved to their Photos, even after the message has been deleted from their chat.
  • Your friends might see your message before it has been deleted or if the deletion wasn’t successful.
  • You will not be notified if deleting a message for everyone is not successful.
  • Time limit: you have one hour after you’ve sent a message to request a “Delete for Everyone”.

How to delete messages once the time limit has elapsed

If you really need to delete a message, that you are pretty sure has already been read, there is a work-around that allows you do just that. Follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect you mobile’s internet connection (both WiFi and mobile data). On an iPhone, go to your settings to turn this off to be sure.
  2. Stop WhatsApp by closing down the window or app.
  3. Change the date of your phone to the day before the message you want to delete was sent.
  4. Open WhatsApp again and find the offending message to delete.
  5. As mentioned above, hold down on the message and use the option Delete for Everyone.
  6. Then go back and reset your phone’s date to the current date.
  7. Reconnect to broadband or mobile roaming services.

Once you reconnect to the world, the message will be deleted from your recipient’s conversations.

How to retrieve deleted WhatsApp messages

There is a process for bringing back WhatsApp chats that works if you are using cloud backup, which is a feature of both iPhones (with iOS) and Google Drive for Android. Let’s take you through it:

  1. Uninstall WhatsApp from your Android or iPhone.
  2. Reinstall WhatsApp and configure it with your phone number again.
  3. Once the app is set up, you will be asked to restore messages from a cloud backup. This backup will sit either in Google Cloud on Android, or iCloud on iOS.
  4. It will now restore the messages you accidentally deleted. Sidenote: any messages you received, or sent after your most recent cloud backup will not be restored. Good luck.

Related articles

Useful links