Updated 1:55pm PT – An earlier version of this article said that photos could also be saved using this method. This is not the case.
Snapchat content can be saved after all. The app, which people can use to send photos and videos that “self destruct” after opening, has a hole in its iPhone version that lets you grab video content before it’s viewed.
Buzzfeed discovered the hole, which involves looking at the phone’s local memory. In order to serve the video to the user, SnapChat saves it on the phone’s local memory, which you can then recall by installing a file browser, such as iFunBox, and plugging the phone into a computer. You then search through the file browser, copy and save the content to a computer, and you’re done. Of course, you can only do this if the videos have not yet been viewed.
Snapchat guaranteed me when I spoke to them about their new video feature earlier this month that the company deletes any videos or photos off of its servers after the content has been viewed. It further confirmed that the data is completely deleted and could not be recalled even if law enforcement came looking for the information.
It seems Facebook’s new Snapchat competitor Poke has a similar issue, though the company told Buzzfeed that is was issuing a fix.
Whether this issue expands to Android is yet to be seen.
The company goes on to say that it will, like most technology companies, comply with law enforcement should they come knocking on Snapchat’s door looking for data. And that doesn’t necessarily mean your photos and videos, but could include your phone’s UDID, or a number that identifies your phone; your phone’s operating system; type of device used; and Facebook ID.
We have reached out to Snapchat and Facebook and will update this post upon hearing back.