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UVU student discovers where all the 'deleted' Snapchat photos end up, and it's not in the trash bin

Published: Thursday, May 9 2013 7:30 p.m. MDT

Snapchat is an app on iPhone and Android that appears to be growing more popular across the country and among Utah teens. (Shutterstock) Snapchat is an app on iPhone and Android that appears to be growing more popular across the country and among Utah teens. (Shutterstock)

Without the explosion, and a little less drama than a Mission Impossible-style message, the popular app called Snapchat allows users to send a photo that self-destructs moments after being delivered. However, a Utah Valley University student, Richard Hickman, has discovered that those photos are not actually being deleted, they are just becoming harder to find, according to KSL.com and Business Insider.

During a mobile forensics course at UVU, Hickman discovered that the app stores photos in a separate folder on the phone, which makes it more difficult to locate the photos, but not impossible.

"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."

Although he's still working on the iPhone, on an Android device Hickman can find the "deleted" Snapchat photos in about six hours. One of the easiest ways to save a Snapchat photo is, of course, to take a screen shot of it.

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