How to delete WhatsApp messages that are up to a week old

WhatsApp recently started rolling out a new feature that lets users ‘unsend’ messages. The long-requested feature has been in testing for some time, but now everyone with the latest update can spare their own blushes after sending an ill-advised message.

The catch? You can only delete a message sent within the preceding seven minutes. If you hit send on an awkward drunken spiel, say, eight minutes ago, you’re out of luck – or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Thanks to the folks over at Android Jefe, we now know of a way to circumvent WhatsApp’s strict deletion time limit in the Android app using a sneaky workaround that lets you delete messages that aren’t just more than seven minutes old, but up to (and sometimes more than) seven days old. Here’s how:

How to delete week old WhatsApp messages

First off, you’ll need to disable both Wi-Fi and mobile data. To do this you need to head to your phone’s Settings app and find both the Wi-Fi and Mobile data toggles and give them a quick tap.

Then navigate to the Apps selection and scroll down until you find WhatsApp. Tap on it and then Force Stop. Next, head to the Date & time option and set the date so it matches the day you sent the message you want to delete. You’re phone is most likely set to automatically use your network’s provided time, so you may need to turn this off first.

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Reopen WhatsApp and find the message. Tap and hold on it and then choose Delete > Delete for Everyone. Switch your Wi-Fi and mobile data back on, revert the date and your message should still be replaced with a placeholder message that reads: “This message was deleted.”

We’ve tried this ourselves with absolute success for message sent days prior, however there are a few caveats to the trick.

Android Jefe found that in extreme cases you’ll be able to delete messages older than a week using this method, but going too far back will prompt WhatsApp to force you to select the correct date. As with the regular delete feature, the trick also requires both the sender and receiver to have the latest version of WhatsApp (2.17.395).

While this particular bug may not last forever, for the time being it could be a lifesaver for anyone with instant message regret. Let us know if it’s worked for you in the comments!

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