How to delete your WhatsApp account and save your data

I already went in-depth on why I decided to delete my WhatsApp account and the aftermath. If you missed that Editorial, check it out here and then return to this post.

While this is ultimately everyone’s decision, and that is the only thing I’m advocating for – make the decision that’s best for you – if you decide to pull the trigger, we went ahead and recommended you the best WhatsApp alternatives to migrate to, should you choose to do so.

Today we’re going to show you how to delete your WhatsApp account, as well as some pre-requisites that I personally recommend before you do so.

Oh, and a friendly word of warning: deleting the WhatsApp app from your iPhone or Android smartphone won’t delete your account. It will still be active, only that messages or calls won’t be able to reach you. They will, as soon as you reinstall the app. That doesn’t change the fact that your (and your contacts’) data is still accessible to WhatsApp and Facebook.

Before you delete your WhatsApp account

You can skip these steps if you want, but I recommend you do not.

Request WhatsApp account info
Request WhatsApp account report Android

Download your WhatsApp data

First things first, I recommend you go inside WhatsApp, Settings, hit Account, and Request Account Info. This process might take a couple of business days as WhatsApp needs to compile everything it has on you and deliver your report.

Once a couple of days pass by you’ll get a notification that your report is ready. Hit Download, save the “My Account” file and take a look inside. That’s everything WhatsApp claims to have on you. Inside, among many other things, you’ll find an HTML file with your display picture, phone number, email address, device activity, status, and all of your contacts’ phone numbers.

Export WhatsApp account info
Request WhatsApp account report confirmation Android

There are also bits about your carrier, device, registration date, and status for your Terms of Service. The zip also contains a JSON file you can read, with pretty much the same data as the HTML file.

Please note: because of GDPR, the data available in the EU might differ from the data delivered in other regions.

Save your WhatsApp media and conversations

While you wait for your report to be generated, I highly suggest you go through your conversations and save every piece of media (photo, video, voice message, etc.) that you might have not yet saved. This is for safety purposes, as the app you’re migrating to might not have WhatsApp data import capabilities.

Save your WhatsApp media and conversations
Export WhatsApp chat Android

You can also screenshot conversations if you feel like there’s something worth holding on to visually. If you only care about the plain text version of your conversation, you can hit the three dots on Android (or the name of your contact in the conversation on iOS), and select Export chat from the menu. Then it’s up to you whether you want to include media in that particular chat or not.

And you’re done! Ready for the big step.

How to delete WhatsApp account on iPhone

Deleting your WhatsApp account on your iPhone (or iOS device) is a simple process. Follow the steps below if you’re ready to pull the trigger.

Step 1: Launch WhatsApp;
Step 2: Tap Settings on the right end of the bottom button bar;
Step 3: Go to Account;
Step 4: Hit Delete My Account;
Step 5: Enter your phone number, as registered with WhatsApp;
Step 6: Tap the red Delete My Account button.

*The app might ask you to select a reason for your choice to delete your WhatsApp account. Do that!

Delete WhatsApp account iPhone
Confirm delete WhatsApp account iPhone

How to delete WhatsApp account on Android

If you are using an Android device and you want to delete your WhatsApp account, the process is pretty straightforward. Just follow the steps below.

Step 1: Launch WhatsApp;
Step 2: Hit the menu button (the three dots) on the top right;
Step 3: Select Settings;
Step 4: Go to Account;
Step 5: Tap Delete My Account;
Step 6: Enter your phone number as registered with WhatsApp;
Step 7: Hit Delete My Account.

*The app might ask you to select a reason for your choice to delete your WhatsApp account. Do that!

Delete WhatsApp account Android
Delete WhatsApp account confirmation Android

What happens after you delete your WhatsApp account

According to WhatsApp, deleting your account will trigger the following actions: obviously, your account will be deleted; your message history will be erased; you will be removed from all groups you have previously joined; your Google Drive and/or iCloud chat backups will also be deleted.

Beware that it might take 90 days from the moment you delete your account for the process to finalize. You won’t be able to regain access to your account. Also, note that the messages you sent will not be deleted from the receiving party’s end.

WhatsApp may hold on to certain bits related to you. You can read about those by accessing this link.

More on security

If you’re passionate about your privacy and data security (which you should be), make sure you don’t miss a couple of great reads from our colleague Adam Lein. I recommend you read this and stop being naive about some of these apps, and also check out what Adam considers to be a viable option as an alternative to any and all of these services.