Can Police Retrieve Deleted Snapchat Messages? [2023]

Can Police Retrieve Deleted Snapchat Messages?

Are you curious about the extent of law enforcement’s ability to access viral digital evidence? One intriguing question that often arises is, “Can police retrieve deleted Snapchat messages?” Do the police really retrieve messages

Police can retrieve certain Snapchat message information through legal channels like subpoenas and court orders, per the Stored Communications Act. In emergencies threatening physical harm, Snapchat may provide data. While Snapchat deletes messages after 24 hours and removes metadata after 30 days, data forensics can recover remnants, though older data is harder to retrieve. However, complete retrieval depends on legal requirements, and messages deleted from Snapchat servers are typically inaccessible to law enforcement.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating realm where technology intersects with criminal investigations, shedding light on the processes involved in retrieving deleted Snapchat messages by law enforcement agencies. By delving into the intricate nuances of digital forensics and legal frameworks, we aim to demystify the topic and provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

When Are Snapchat Messages Deleted?

It is the primary query that everyone has regarding data retention. According to its Privacy Policy, Snapchat deletes read messages after 24 hours of your reading them. You can, however, set this to “delete immediately after being read,” which would erase the messages as soon as the other person has seen them.

Theoretically, both of your devices no longer have those messages. But if some metadata is left over, it might be possible to recover remnants of these messages via digital forensics. Additionally, Snapchat removed these messages from its servers, so even if law enforcement requests them, Snapchat is powerless to provide them.

The messages are designed to be erased automatically after 30 days if the other party hasn’t read them. Therefore, if the police ask to see your texts within those 30 days, they will be given access. The same thing takes place when 30 days have passed. They are permanently removed from Snapchat’s servers and your phone. On the “Safety” alert, Snapchat states the following:

“While it’s true that we value transience in our Snaps and Chats, law enforcement may obtain some information through appropriate legal procedures. Learn more about the deletion of Snaps and Chats on Snapchat. Therefore, “some information” about your Snapchat account may be available to the police. However, they don’t specify what this “information” might be.

Also Read: How To Fix Snapchat Video Calls Not Working?

Can Police Retrieve Deleted Snapchat Messages?

According to Snapchat’s notifications and policies, it should be more complex for the authorities to access your data. According to them, “The SCA mandates that we only disclose certain Snapchat account records in response to specific types of legal process, including subpoenas, court orders, and search warrants.”

The Stored Communications Act, or SCA, is the law that Snapchat must abide by to operate as a public corporation in the US. However, Snapchat also states that they may voluntarily share photographs and messages if they have sufficient grounds to suspect a risk of immediate serious physical harm. So, in severe cases, extreme measures are required. In an “emergency” declared by another person or the authorities, Snapchat can and will reveal your information.

They will have access to your correspondence if the authorities can conclusively demonstrate the nature of the emergency. It’s yet to be discovered if they can also access deleted texts. Logic dictates that they shouldn’t be able to.

However, data forensics can recover phone metadata and reconstruct deleted Snapchat communications. According to Snapchat, most metadata is erased after 30 days, and all personal identifiers are removed before storage if information needs to be kept longer.

Also Read: How To Fix Quick Add Not Working On Snapchat? [Issue Solved]

Can Snapchat Messages Be Recovered For Court?

Snapchat messages can be retrieved for legal purposes, but law enforcement must obtain a judge’s subpoena, court order, or search warrant, as mandated by the law. Snapchat retains messages on its servers, which are deleted after varying periods, depending on message type and user settings. Even if deleted from the device and Snapchat’s servers, messages may still be recoverable from the user’s phone cache and Snapchat’s servers through forensic tools.

However, it’s crucial to note that Snapchat messages can only be retrieved under valid legal grounds; authorities can’t access them without proper authorization. These scenarios might include criminal investigations (e.g., child pornography, drug trafficking), civil lawsuits, or national security concerns.

Users can delete messages or use third-party apps for message encryption to enhance privacy. Nevertheless, it’s essential to understand that no communication method is entirely immune to scrutiny or recovery.

Also Read: How To See Who Has Joined Your Private Story On Snapchat?

How Long Does Snapchat Store Data On Their Servers?

Snapchat can only provide the information it truly has, as explained. Additionally, messages and Snaps’ contents are very swiftly destroyed.

According to Snapchat’s documentation, snaps and one-on-one chats are programmed to vanish immediately after all recipients have seen them. Therefore, when you discover a problematic message, there is still time to ensure Snapchat has a copy.

To have a record of damaging communications, the best thing you can do at this point is to screenshot and capture all of them. The timetable as mentioned above, however, has a few exceptions:

After 31 days, unopened Snaps delivered to a single recipient are removed.

After seven days, unopened Snaps sent to a group chat are removed.

Snapchat’s servers remove messages you have set to be deleted 24 hours after viewing (instead of instantly) 24 hours after you view them.

Group chat messages are removed 24 hours after every one or one week has seen them, if not everyone, has seen them. Therefore, depending on how you delivered the message, you may have up to 7 days before the communications are permanently removed. Sadly, even with a warrant, it is impossible to recover communications that Snapchat’s servers have destroyed. It’s impossible to restore the data.

Also Read: Why Snapchat Not Loading Snaps Or Stories? | With Fixes

Can Police Themselves Extract The Data From The Phone?

Although Snapchat cooperates with law enforcement, we now know that the data isn’t available in many instances, particularly regarding the contents of chats and Snaps. But what would happen if you turned over your phone to the police? Even though the information has been destroyed, would a forensics team be able to recover the data from your device?

Although technically possible, doing so would be time-consuming and unlikely to be successful. Therefore, unless the user had committed a very significant crime, it is unlikely that law enforcement would even bother trying.

However, there are other third-party choices accessible. Decipher Forensics, a business that charges between $300 and $500 for the service, claimed to be able to recover deleted Snapchat photographs days after the user removed them from the phone. The claim, made in 2013, only stated that this was achievable for Android phones. As you use your phone, it frequently overwrites deleted data with fresh data.

Once this occurs, even with experienced teams, recovery becomes practically impossible.

Also Read: How To Unlock The Butterflies Lens On Snapchat?

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most frequently asked questions about police retrieving deleted Snapchat messages and other issues about the app are as follows:

Can Snapchat See Your My Eyes Only?

According to the app’s privacy statement, no one can see your My Eyes Only photographs without the passcode, yet Snapchat also stored the passcode on their server in the past. It means anyone accessing Snapchat’s data can see your private photographs.

Where Do Delete Snap Memories Go?

Visit the Snapchat Memories Recovery by iStaunch to retrieve your deleted Snapchat memories. On the restore memories button, enter your username. It will instantly upload restored memories to your account, including pictures and videos.

Will Snapchat++ Get Me Banned?

The well-known software Snapchat ++ will get you banned if you use it. It allows you to examine a snap secretly and to leave a snap open indefinitely. The terms of service for Snapchat are broken by any plugin or software that promotes itself as a way to bypass a feature.

How Long Do Snapchats Stay On Servers?

The content of a Snap is typically destroyed and unavailable after each recipient has opened it. A Snap may stay on our systems for up to 30 days if recipients do not open it. One can view a Snap that has been added to a user’s Story for up to 24 hours.

Is There A Good Way To Recover Old Snapchats?

Your Snapchat photographs have been saved on your computer but are lost. Fortunately, you can recover them if you lose or mistakenly erase them from your computer. All you have to do is utilize a photo recovery tool or restore from the recycle bin.


Does Snapchat monitor its users? Are they willing to cooperate with police inquiries and provide your information readily to them? The solution is more nuanced than a simple “yes” or “no.” For Snapchat to comply with the police, solid legal grounds must exist.

Before they provide any information to the appropriate authorities, they require documentation of subpoenas, court orders, or search warrants. On the other hand, if they have sufficient evidence of an emergency endangering someone’s life, they might voluntarily provide information to the authorities. Feel free to comment below if you have questions about Snapchat or its privacy practices. I’ll respond as soon as I can. Watch this space for more articles on Snapchat until then!

Scroll to Top