About seeing your phone number already in WhatsApp

All WhatsApp accounts are tied to mobile phone numbers. Since it's common for phone numbers to be recycled by mobile providers, it's possible that the previous owner of your current phone number used WhatsApp.

About recycled phone numbers

If the previous owner of your phone number didn't delete their WhatsApp account:
  • You and your contacts may see your phone number in WhatsApp before you activate a new account.
  • You may also see someone else's profile photo and About section attached to your phone number.
There's no need to worry. This only means that the previous account wasn't deleted, so old information still exists in the system. This does not mean that the previous owner of the phone number has access to your WhatsApp account. Your conversations and other WhatsApp data are secure.
Once you’ve completed the verification process, you can change all of the profile information. We recommend that you leave all groups that your current account number is tied to and block all unknown contacts.
Note: If the previous owner of your phone number set up two-step verification, you may need to reset the pin.
To help eliminate confusion with recycled phone numbers, we monitor account inactivity. We take it as a sign that a number has been recycled if:
  1. An account is unused for 45 days
  2. The account then becomes newly activated on a different mobile device
At this time, we'll remove the old account data tied to the phone number, like the profile photo and About section.

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