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Snapchat Doesn't Actually Delete Any Of Your Private Photos

The whole point of Snapchat is discretion; to be able to send photos to someone who can't save or view the picture for more than a few seconds before it disappears.

But digital forensics examiner Richard Hickman has discovered that Snapchat doesn't exactly delete the photos. It instead saves them deep inside a device and they can in fact be recovered.

During a mobile forensics course at Utah Valley University, 24-year-old Hickman found out that Snapchat stores every photo in a folder called “RECEIVED_IMAGES_SNAPS.” Each photo has the extension “NOMEDIA” attached to it. By removing this extension, the supposedly deleted picture can be seen again.

“It's not that [a photo is] deleted — it just isn't mapped anymore,” Hickman says. “It says, OK, that spot where that picture was stored is now available to be overwritten. That's what would happen with a regular camera.”

Hickman says it takes him somewhere around six hours to go through an Android and find the photos, depending on how much data is stored on the phone.

He's currently trying to see how he can access the same data on iPhones.

Here's a video of Hickman explaining how to recover Snapchat photos. 

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Sean Levinson

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Sean Levinson is a Senior News Writer for Elite Daily, first joining as an editor in fall 2012. He was born in Long Island and received a Bachelor's in English at SUNY New Paltz. Sean writes about stuff that matters and sometimes politics.
Sean Levinson is a Senior News Writer for Elite Daily, first joining as an editor in fall 2012. He was born in Long Island and received a Bachelor's in English at SUNY New Paltz. Sean writes about stuff that matters and sometimes politics.

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