How to delete WhatsApp account and download your personal chats, data: step by step guide

By: |
January 16, 2021 3:31 PM

Here’s all you need to know.

A bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde, while seeking response from the Centre, WhatsApp and Facebook, said that it would have to intervene to protect people’s privacy.A bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde, while seeking response from the Centre, WhatsApp and Facebook, said that it would have to intervene to protect people’s privacy.

WhatsApp privacy policy: WhatsApp may have delayed the rollout of its ‘controversial’ privacy policy update till May, but it is safe to assume that those terms and conditions are not going anywhere. At best, the delay can be seen as a temporary breather from the Facebook-owned company for users to better understand how their data will be handled going forward. In the words of WhatsApp, there is currently a lot of confusion around this aspect.

Due to privacy concerns over the new update, several users have been thinking about leaving WhatsApp and looking for alternatives. Some may have already moved on which is possibly the reason behind surge in downloads for apps like Signal and Telegram over the last few days. If you’re someone, still looking to delete your WhatsApp account for good, here’s how you can do it. You can also download all the data that WhatsApp has on you, before making an exit.

Here’s all you need to know.

WhatsApp update: Deleting or Deactivating account

Android users need to follow these easy steps to delete their WhatsApp accounts.

  1. Open the Android app, locate on the top right corner the three-dotted icon and tap on it.
  2. Upon the menu dropping from this, click on Settings, head to the Account option and select the option to ‘Delete my account’.
  3. At this stage, users would need to enter their mobile number. Once the number has been keyed in, users would need to click on ‘Delete my account’.
  4. WhatsApp would ask users for the reason why they want to delete their account. The options would be visible in a drop down.
  5. Once the reason has been selected, users would again need to tap on ‘Delete my account’.

On the other hand, iOS users would have to follow the following steps:

  1. Open WhatsApp and head to Settings, then to Account and finally select ‘Delete my account’.
  2. After this, the users would be required to key in their phone numbers, and post that, they would have to tap ‘Delete my account’.

Consequences of deleting WhatsApp account

Once a user deletes their account, they would not be able to access their account, and in order to use WhatsApp, they would have to create a new account. Meanwhile, WhatsApp can take up to three months to delete the user data from their servers.

Moreover, this information could be in a backup storage for more than three months. This storage, according to WhatsApp, is used to recover the data in case any disaster, or software error occurs, or any other data loss event takes place. During this time, however, this data is not available to the users. Apart from that, WhatsApp could retain copies of information like log records, but it states that in such cases this data is separated from personal identifiers.

Collecting data from WhatsApp

A user can know what data WhatsApp has stored by requesting access to that data, which they would be able to download. Once the data collection request has been submitted, WhatsApp can take three days, or even more sometimes, to compile all of the data that the app collected since the user joined.

In order to request access to data, the user would have to follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Settings panel in WhatsApp.
  2. Go to the Account section, and tap on the option to ‘Request account info’.
  3. Once done, click on ‘Request’ again to confirm, and the request would be submitted.

Upon the generation of the report, the user would be intimated through a notification, and the users would be able to access the report by returning to the ‘Request account info’ section. There, the report would be available for download in a zip file. The report, downloaded into the smartphone, would then have to be extracted and users would be able to find out the information stored by WhatsApp.

Manual download of chats and media from WhatsApp

Personal chats can easily be exported from WhatsApp. For this, the user would have to go to the chat they want to export, click on the three-dotted icon, click on ‘More’ and then ‘Export chat’ on Android.

For iOS, users would have to go to the chat info, and then scroll down. They would find the ‘Export chat’ option among the last few options.

Once the ‘Export chat’ option has been selected, users would be given the option to include all the media while exporting it, or only export the text messages.

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