Snapchat is a popular social media app that allows users to send photo and video messages that disappear after being viewed. A key feature of Snapchat is that messages are intended to be ephemeral, meaning they can’t be recovered once they have expired or the recipient has viewed them.
However, there are some limited methods that may allow you to recover or view expired Snapchats in certain circumstances. While Snapchat does not provide an official way to retrieve expired or deleted Snaps, there are a few unofficial workarounds that have been discovered over the years.
Can You Recover Opened Snapchats?
Once you open a Snapchat, the app immediately deletes it from their servers after it’s been viewed. This means you cannot recover Snapchats that you’ve already opened yourself.
Snapchat’s servers are designed to automatically delete each Snap after it’s opened. So there is no way to retrieve Snapchats from Snapchat’s server once you’ve viewed them yourself.
Can You Recover Unopened Snapchats?
If a Snapchat expires before you’ve opened it, or your connection timed out while loading the Snap, there is a brief window where you may be able to recover and view unopened Snapchats.
Here are a few methods that may work to retrieve unopened Snapchats:
Replay Snapchat Once
Snapchat introduced a “Replay” feature in 2013 that allows you to replay and view a Snap one additional time after opening it. You only get one Replay per Snap, so use it wisely if you want to try recovering an unopened Snap.
The Replay feature does not work on Snaps marked as “Screenshotted” by the sender. It also only allows you to Replay and view a Snap one additional time. After you use your Replay, the Snap will be deleted as usual.
Restore Memories Data
If you had Memories auto-saving enabled in your Snapchat settings, any unopened Snaps may have been temporarily saved in your Memories storage before expiring.
You can try restoring a backup of your Memories to retrieve any unopened Snaps that were automatically saved there. Go to Settings > Memories > Restore Memories Data.
However, this will only work if you had Memories auto-save enabled, and only for a limited time before the temporary Snaps are deleted from Memories as well.
View Notification Preview
If you still have the notification preview for an unopened Snapchat available, you may be able to view a thumbnail preview of the Snap this way.
On Android, you can long press on the Snapchat notification and select the Snap preview thumbnail. On iOS, swipe left on the Snapchat notification and tap “View” to see the preview.
While small, the notification preview can give you a glimpse at expired Snaps you haven’t opened.
Use Data Recovery Apps
There are some third-party apps like iMyFone D-Back and FoneLab that can scan your device to find and restore deleted Snapchat data. They may be able to retrieve unopened Snaps by digging into your phone’s storage and recovering Snapchat files.
However, this does not always work and depends on whether the files can still be found on your device. The apps also typically charge a premium fee to scan and recover deleted data.
Can You Recover Deleted Snapchats?
If a Snap was deleted by the sender before you could view it, there is unfortunately no way to retrieve deleted Snapchats.
When a user deletes a Snapchat they’ve sent, it’s permanently erased from Snapchat’s servers. This means that the Snap is gone forever with no way to recover it.
Even data recovery apps cannot retrieve deleted Snapchats sent to you, as the files are wiped from existence once the sender deletes them. There is currently no method to recover Snapchats deleted by the sender.
Can You Recover Blocked Snapchats?
If another user has blocked you on Snapchat, you will be unable to view any pending Snaps they may have sent you before blocking you.
Unfortunately, there is no way around this to recover Snaps sent by someone who has blocked you. Even data recovery apps won’t work, as the blocking action erases any unopened Snaps they sent.
The only way to potentially view blocked Snapchats is if the sender decides to unblock you. But this is unlikely, and you won’t get back access to any expired Snaps they sent before blocking in the first place.
Third Party Apps for Recovering Snapchats
While Snapchat itself does not allow users to recover expired or deleted Snaps, some third-party apps claim to help you retrieve and save Snapchats. Here are a few examples:
Snapchat Save Apps
Some apps like Snapsave, Snapbox, and Casper let you covertly save incoming Snapchat photos, videos, and stories. These work by accessing your Snapchat data and saving Snap files externally before they are deleted.
Using these apps violates Snapchat’s terms of service. They may also alert the sender that you took a screenshot of their Snap. While useful for some, be aware that Snapchat actively works to block these bypass methods. Their reliability can vary over time.
Snapchat Viewer Apps
Other apps like MSpy, Spyic, and Highster Mobile market themselves as Snapchat spying and monitoring tools. They claim to show you private Snapchat messages, stories, photos, and more from specific accounts.
However, these programs rely on gaining access to the target device and account. Their utility depends on how much access you can get. They also raise significant ethical and legal concerns regarding consent and privacy.
Data Recovery Apps
As mentioned earlier, apps like iMyFone D-Back and FoneLab scan devices for deleted Snapchat files that may still be recoverable. This can potentially restore some unopened Snaps and Memories depending on what Snapchat data still remains.
Success depends on the app’s algorithm and what deleted files can still be found on your phone. Recovering already-opened Snaps is typically impossible as they are deleted instantly.
Can Police Recover Deleted Snapchats?
For ongoing police investigations, law enforcement may be able to work with Snapchat to recover certain data in some circumstances through legal requests and procedures.
According to Snapchat’s law enforcement guide, they state:
“Snaps, Chats, and Stories are deleted from our servers after the recipients have viewed them. For business accounts, Stories remain viewable for 24 hours. We cannot provide content or subscriber information for accounts that have been deactivated or deleted.”
However, the guide says some data can be retrieved with a search warrant or subpoena:
“Snapchat does maintain limited user data – such as metadata – that we may provide in response to a valid search warrant or equivalent order.”
So while individual Snaps and Chats cannot be recovered after viewing, police may be able to obtain some account data with proper legal authority. But the content itself cannot be retrieved once deleted per Snapchat’s system.
Can You Recover Deleted Snapchat Accounts?
If your entire Snapchat account was deleted, either by you or through deactivation by Snapchat, here are some options that may help you restore it:
– **If you deactivated your own account** – you can simply log back in anytime to reactivate it. Your data should still be there.
– **If Snapchat deleted your account** – reach out to Snapchat support through their website or app. Explain the situation and request account reinstatement.
– **Use account recovery** – for some deleted accounts, Snapchat allows you to go through an account recovery process. You’ll need to provide info to verify you owned the account.
– **Contact customer support** – speak to a Snapchat representative via chat or phone support and they may be able to look into recovering or reinstating your deleted account. Provide any details you have.
However, Snapchat does not guarantee the ability to restore accounts in all cases. If significant time has passed or the account cannot be verified, permanent restoration may not be possible. Act quickly if your account was wrongly deleted.
– Opened Snapchats cannot be recovered once viewed, as Snapchat deletes them from their servers immediately after opening.
– Unopened Snapchats may be retrievable briefly using the Replay feature, notification preview, or data recovery apps if you act quickly.
– Deleted Snapchats sent by the sender cannot be recovered, as Snapchat erases them completely once deleted.
– You cannot recover Snapchats from someone who has blocked you, as blocking also deletes any pending Snaps.
– While some third-party apps claim to save or recover Snapchats, their reliability is questionable and they violate Snapchat’s terms.
– Police may be able to retrieve limited Snapchat account data with proper legal procedures, but not the content of deleted Snaps.
– You can potentially restore a deleted Snapchat account by reactivating it quickly or contacting Snapchat support for reinstatement. But there is no guarantee.
The Bottom Line
Due to how the Snapchat app is designed, there is ultimately no foolproof way to recover expired, viewed, or deleted Snapchat messages. While there are a few clever workarounds that may work briefly, you should assume that any Snap sent or received is essentially unrecoverable after being opened.
Your best option is to screenshot or otherwise save any important Snapchat content before viewing if you may want future access. Otherwise, you will have to accept that Snapchat’s ephemeral nature means murky possibilities for retrieving Snaps after they have disappeared.