WhatsApp has added a new feature allowing its users on Android to re-download media files that they accidentally deleted from their smartphones.
The WhatsApp app logo, WhatsApp
This means that if you removed any images, GIFs, videos, audio files, audio recordings or even a document from the internal storage of your smartphone, WhatsApp will allow you to re-download them again from its servers.
This is particularly useful for users with limited storage space on their devices. According to a report by WABetaInfo, this feature is available for WhatsApp's Android users. Earlier, Android users could download data that was up to 30 days old, but that data would disappear once the file was downloaded by the recipient.
Given Facebook's situation right now, the privacy implications of this move immediately stand out. While earlier, there was an assumption of privacy in that it was possible that Facebook deleted files after they were downloaded. Now, it's quite clear that for the system to work, Facebook will need to store this data indefinitely. Facebook does claim that all media files are encrypted, so there is at least some solace to be found there.
To be clear, only those messages that are still in your chat log will be downloadable again. If the message has been deleted, that data is gone. The app will also check if the file is available in the 'sdcard/WhatsApp/' directory before downloading the file. There will be no changes when it comes to end-to-end encryption of the media messages. This feature is not available for iOS users because it is unlikely that users will delete anything from the internal file directory without access.