WhatsApp has a new feature to its Android app which will allow you to redownload media after deletion. The new feature is currently limited to Android version 2.18.113 and is expected to be rolled out to iOS users as well.
Earlier, media including images, GIF, video, voice message, and document, were stored on WhatsApp’s server for 30 days till they were downloaded by the user. If a user ended up deleting the content from the WhatsApp folder after downloading, there was no option to go back to the conversation and redownload the content after the expiration of the validity. As WABetaInfo reports, with the introduction of the new feature, it is possible for users to retrieve old media content again even if it has been deleted from their phone. This is how it works.
If you're on Android, ensure you're running the latest WhatsApp version 2.18.113. You can go to the app's settings to check for the version. If not, you can update the app to receive the new feature.
WhatsApp stores the media content for 30 days until you download it on your device. On Android, if you have chosen to save WhatsApp media on the phone, it gets saved into a dedicated folder in the path (sdcard/WhatsApp/).
Previously, if you deleted the content from this folder, there was no way to go back. However, with the new feature, you can simply scroll up the chat conversation and download the required media content again.
As WhatsApp servers are claimed to be secure and encrypted, it is unlikely that anyone else can access that data. It is important to note that the message in the chat needs to be present in order to retrieve the media. Otherwise, it will not be possible to redownload it.
With the new feature, WhatsApp has essentially extended the amount of time it stores the data on its servers. In a few tests by WABeta Info, content dating 2-3 months ago was successfully retrieved. However, very old data, such as images sent last year in August, were not retrievable.