Someone recently asked me about how Telegram handles Deleted Accounts. The simple answer is “once an user deletes his account, everything related to that user is completely flushed from the systems and is non-recoverable.”
But then, this question came up — “I see a deleted account in my chat list which still has messages intact. But you say that everything is deleted. I’m confused!?”
So let me explain this here. In reality, everything is deleted from the servers which then can’t be recovered by anyone. Within 24 hours, everything is permanently cleared. But, the messages retained are your copy. In the owner’s perspective, everything is gone.
For example, because Telegram is a cloud based messenger, I’ll take here the example of Google Drive & Email for better understanding.
With regards to Google Drive, if I share a file with someone and then delete my Google account, for Google, my account and all its data will be deleted, but what file I shared with someone is still accessible by him, because it’s his copy in his cloud. In the same way, Telegram also has unique cloud space alloted to all users.
With regards to Email, now if I send a résumé to firstname.lastname@example.org, there will be two copies created — one is my original email copy that I sent and another is the one that the company received. So even if I delete my account, the emails and its data will be deleted for me, but not for the company as it’s their copy of the data. In the same way, even works the deletion process of Telegram.
If you don’t want anyone to retain their copy of messages too, you can simply delete the chats for both sides.
I hope this explanation was helpful to clear any confusions.