WhatsApp users now have more time to delete the messages that they send by mistake, which is perfect for people who always have second thoughts after tapping the send button or are prone to sending messages to the wrong contacts.
The feature that allows for the deletion of sent WhatsApp messages still comes with a few caveats, but the longer time has a better chance of saving users from embarrassment.
WhatsApp Delete For Everyone Feature Extended
In October last year, WhatsApp introduced the Delete for Everyone feature, which allows users to delete messages that they have sent to contacts or group chats. Previously, once a message has been sent, there was no way to recall it.
The feature, however, came with a few caveats. Users who wanted to delete a message only had seven minutes to tap and hold on the speech bubble to access the trash can icon. In addition, recalled messages will display a "This message was deleted" notice, so the recipients will know that the sender made a mistake. Lastly, and most obviously, there is the risk that the recipient will read the message right away before the sender deletes it.
WhatsApp quietly addressed the first issue with the Delete for Everyone feature through an app update that mostly contains bug fixes. From seven minutes, WhatsApp users will have one hour, eight minutes, and 16 seconds to delete the messages that they sent. Of course, that longer period also lengthens the time that the recipient has to read the message, but at least the option is there.
It is unclear why WhatsApp decided to lengthen the time allowed under the Delete for Everyone feature. Perhaps a bigger question, however, is why WhatsApp went with such a specific time. One hour, eight minutes, and 16 seconds is equivalent to 4,096 seconds, or 2 raised to the 12th power, but that does not really explain why WhatsApp used the number.
WhatsApp Security Issues
The longer time for the Delete for Everyone feature hopefully takes WhatsApp into a better direction, after the app opened 2018 with a pair of security issues.
In January, a WhatsApp security flaw that exposes group chats to hackers was discovered, despite the app's claims that it protects the messages of users with end-to-end encryption. Meanwhile, in February, an iOS bug was found to crash and block access to several popular apps, including WhatsApp, Messenger, Outlook, and Gmail. The bug involved sending a simple character from India's Telugu language.