WhatsApp accounts can be deleted by the instant messaging platform after a long period of inactivity. There are two different types of time limits on inactivity on the platform which could lead to permanent deletion of an account. Permanent deletion would also erase all data from WhatsApp’s servers. However, if the user has a locally stored back-up, they will be able to restore the history even when they re-register the same number.
Deletion after 120 days of inactivity
WhatsApp, in its FAQ section has mentioned that in order to maintain security, limit data retention, and protect the privacy of our users, WhatsApp accounts are generally deleted after 120 days of inactivity. An account is considered inactive if it is not connected to the internet.
Inactivity means the user hasn’t connected to WhatsApp.
An internet connection is required for an account to be active. If a user has WhatsApp open on their device, but the phone is not connected to the internet, the account will be considered inactive.
However, WhatsApp has confirmed that content stored locally on a user’s device prior to account deletion will remain until WhatsApp is deleted from the device. When a user reregisters for WhatsApp on the same device, their locally stored content will reappear.
Deletion after 45 days of inactivity
WhatsApp can delete an account after just 45 days of inactivity in cases where the same account number seems to have been allotted to a new user.
According to WhatsApp, if an account is unused for 45 days and then becomes newly activated on a different mobile device, they take this as a sign that a number has been recycled. WhatsApp will then remove the old account data tied to the phone number – like the profile photo and About section.
All WhatsApp accounts are tied to mobile phone numbers. Since it’s common for phone numbers to be recycled by mobile providers, it’s possible that the previous owner of the phone number owner had used the account with WhatsApp. The deletion helps recycle such accounts.
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