WhatsApp only works when the primary device of a user is connected to the internet and is turned on. However, what happens when a user loses their smartphone and are not able to access WhatsApp on any other device. The messaging platform mentions a few steps that can be followed to stop any other person from accessing or misusing a WhatsApp account. Since there is no possibility of remote WhatsApp deactivation from another device, the user can follow these steps to be safe.
The first thing that a user should do is lock their SIM card. The user should call their network provider as soon as possible to lock the SIM card. It will then not be possible to verify the account on that phone again, as you must be able to receive SMS or phone calls to verify an account.
After the SIM is locked, the user will have two choices, use a new SIM card with the same number to activate WhatsApp on your new phone. This is the fastest way to deactivate your account on the stolen phone. WhatsApp can only be activated with one phone number on one device at a time.
The second option will be to deactivate the account. To do that, the user will have to email the company the phrase “Lost/Stolen: Please deactivate my account” in the body of the email and include the phone number in full international format (use +91 as prefix for Indian numbers).
Once deactivated, contacts can still see your profile and send messages, which will remain in a pending state for up to 30 days. If the user manages to reactivate the account before it is deleted, they will receive any pending messages on the new phone and will still be in all group chats. In case the user does not activate their account within 30 days, it will be completely deleted.
Even with the SIM card locked and phone service disabled, WhatsApp can be used on Wi-Fi if the user does not contact the company with an account deactivation request.
If the user managed to create a backup using Google Drive, iCloud or OneDrive before the phone went missing, they might be able to restore their chat history.