Snapchat admits it's possible to recover deleted photos

Photo-sharing app Snapchat admits it's "sometimes possible" to recover deleted photos -- including saucy snaps.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Photo-sharing app Snapchat has admitted it's "sometimes possible" to recover deleted photos -- which could mean blushes for anyone using the app to send saucy snaps.

Snapchat is a messaging service that lets you send a photo to a friend's phone, the service sending more than 150 million photos in a day -- more than three times the number of pictures shared on Instagram. Snapchat has become popular among younger phone owners, largely thanks to the twist that pictures delete themselves 10 seconds after they're received.

You can see where this is going, right?

Encouraged by the fact that pictures can't be passed on to end up in the wrong hands, many Snapchatters have felt liberated to use the app to send pictures of a more, ahem, suggestive nature.

Snaps can hang around 

But US data recovery company Decipher Forensics has discovered that supposedly deleted pictures can still be found in a phone's folders even after the expiry time limit. Sending snaps between a Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2, Decipher excavated metadata for snaps from folders used by the Snapchat Android app.

Snapchat has played down the problem, saying that snaps are deleted in the "normal way", rather than "doing anything special like wiping", which means they can hang around deep in your phone's memory. But while it's "not impossible" to get to an unopened snap before it's deleted, you'd need a rooted or jailbroken phone to do so.

The bottom (ahem) line, is that when you send a snap to someone it takes them a bit of effort to keep hold of the picture beyond the app's time limit -- but it is possible. Bear that in mind when sending pictures, and we suggest you only send pictures of yourself -- especially of a more intimate nature -- to people you trust.

Stay safe online and on your phone 

If you're worried about staying safe online or someone's giving you problems and you want to talk to someone or just find out more, there are lots of places you can get help -- check out Childline or Think U Know who can help out or answer your questions. Parents can find out more about Snapchat in the app's parents' guide.

Have you ever had a private picture or message end up somewhere you didn't want it to? Are you worried about privacy or are you happy to keep using Snapchat? Share your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page -- but for heaven's sake keep your clothes on, you mucky lot.