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    What happens when you uninstall WhatsApp?

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    Joel Fulleda

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    Social media and instant messaging apps can get on our nerves. I bet you must have thought about going to social media and deleting those apps at least once. Sometimes, it's just a single app like WhatsApp that annoys us. With the pressure to respond instantly and a barrage of spam messages, uninstalling it sometimes seems like a good idea.

    But what happens when you uninstall WhatsApp? You must have different queries related to old and new messages, profile picture, settings and more. Well, sit back and buckle up as we set out on this journey answering all your questions about uninstalling WhatsApp. Let's begin.

    Delete the Whatsapp account and uninstall the WhatsApp app

    Let's start from the beginning. It is important to know the difference between uninstalling the WhatsApp app and deleting the WhatsApp account… they are two different things.

    Uninstalling the app means that you have simply deleted it from your phone. After doing this, you temporarily lose access to your account because you will not be able to send and receive messages during that time. Technically, your account is still registered with WhatsApp and, with a simple reinstall, you can start using it again as if nothing had happened.

    Conversely, deleting the WhatsApp account will delete all message history, remove you from all WhatsApp groups and hide your WhatsApp profile from other people's WhatsApp contacts.

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    What happens to old messages

    When you reinstall WhatsApp on the same phone after proper verification, you will have the option to restore the backup (if created) of your chat history and media files from the cloud: Google Drive for Android and iCloud for iPhone.

    So, yes, nothing happens to old messages and media as long as you select the restore option when prompted during the reinstall process. If you get it wrong, the WhatsApp app will appear blank with no chat history except for the groups you belong to. If so, uninstall it again, then select the restore option.

    On Android phones, you can also restore chat history and media from your local backup (without Google Drive) if you don't remove the WhatsApp folder. The local backup feature isn't available on iPhone, so if you uninstall WhatsApp on iPhone and don't have an iCloud backup, your chats disappear.

    Media files on the phone

    Uninstalling WhatsApp from your phone will not delete existing WhatsApp media files such as photos, videos, documents, etc. All will still be accessible on your phone via a file manager, gallery app, and other similar apps.

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    New messages and calls

    When you uninstall WhatsApp, people can still text and call you. However, since the app is not installed on your phone, you will not be notified. Only when you reinstall WhatsApp will you get those missed call messages and notifications.

    What happens to the groups

    You will continue to be part of your groups even if you uninstall WhatsApp. Also, if you are a group admin, you will continue to be the admin.

    Profile people can see your profile photo

    Yes, depending on your previous privacy settings, your contacts can still see your last profile picture and About. It will not be removed after uninstalling WhatsApp. However, if you delete your WhatsApp account, your profile picture will also be deleted.

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    Look at the last login

    If the last login was before uninstalling WhatsApp, your friends would see the time you were active for the last time before uninstalling WhatsApp.

    Blocked settings and numbers

    Both remain unaffected when you uninstall WhatsApp. Meaning, after reinstalling WhatsApp, you will have the same account and privacy settings. Likewise, previously blocked numbers will continue to appear in the blocked numbers list.

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    Visibility in contact lists

    After uninstalling the app, WhatsApp will not remove you from your friends' chat or contact list. However, deleting the account will have a different effect for your account not detected as an active WhatsApp user. So others won't see you in their WhatsApp contacts.

    Ticks are important

    You need to be aware of what the various ticks on WhatsApp mean. To quickly recap:

    • A single gray check mark on WhatsApp means the message has been sent.
    • A double gray check mark indicates that the message has been delivered.
    • A double blue check mark indicates that the message has been read.

    When you send a message to a WhatsApp account owner who has uninstalled the app, you will see a single gray check mark displayed.

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    How to know if someone uninstalled Whatsapp

    There is no direct way to know if someone has uninstalled WhatsApp. You can only guess if you see single gray check marks for sent messages. However, that's not a definite way to know. It is possible that the person may be in an area with no internet or that their phone is not working.

    How to uninstall Whatsapp

    There are several ways to uninstall WhatsApp. For simplicity, I'll just talk about one.

    On Android, open WhatsApp on the Play Store and press the Uninstall button. On iPhone, long press the WhatsApp icon on the home screen. Once the icons start shaking, tap the cross icon on WhatsApp.

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    How to reinstall WhatsApp

    If you want to reinstall WhatsApp, download it from the respective app store on Android and iOS devices.

    NOTE: you can install it on another phone and restore chats using cloud backup.

    Once installed, the installation process is similar to when you first set it up. That is, you will have to verify your number again and assign a name. However, since you haven't deleted the account, WhatsApp will automatically load the previous profile picture.

    After verification, WhatsApp will ask if you want to restore the backup from the cloud. On the Android phone, the message is a bit misleading for the same can be used to restore from the local backup as long as you are reinstalling on the same phone. Tap Continue to restore the backup.


    Uninstalling WhatsApp deactivates the account which can be restored at any time. It can best be defined as quitting steroids where old messages are not deleted (if a backup is created) and you will also get new messages after reinstalling WhatsApp.

    It is useful when you want to deactivate WhatsApp for a short time without deleting your WhatsApp account. You can also uninstall the app to fix some problems.

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    Further Reading:

    • How to speed up listening to WhatsApp voice messages on Android
    • How to enable WhatsApp two-factor authentication for Android
    • How to recover deleted WhatsApp messages
    • How to disable Facebook notifications on Android
    • What happens when you block a person on Whatsapp
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