December 1, 2023

WhatsApp gets disappearing messages feature: How to use, what it means

WhatsApp Disappearing Messages Feature: WhatsApp is adding disappearing messages to its Android, iOS, Web, Desktop and KaiOS app. Here’s what this means and how to activate the new feature

WhatsApp is introducing its disappearing messages feature on the app, which was rumoured to be in the works. Disappearing messages are not exactly new. Apps like Telegram, Signal, Wire and Snapchat already offer such an option. In case of disappearing messages, a user can set a time limit on a particular message after which it will disappear automatically from the chat.

In a blog post WhatsApp said, “Our goal is to make conversations on WhatsApp feel as close to in-person as possible, which means they shouldn’t have to stick around forever. That’s why we’re excited to introduce the option to use disappearing messages on WhatsApp.” The feature will be rolled out to individual and group chats as well.

WhatsApp is setting a limit of seven days after which messages sent to a chat will disappear. It is not offering a customisable option to users, where messages can disappear after a few seconds, hours or days in other applications like Telegram, Signal and Wire.

While in a one-to-one chat, either person will have the option of turning the disappearing messages on or off, in groups admins will exercise this control. The feature will be rolling out users everywhere this month and will apply on the Android, iOS, KaiOS, Web and Desktop versions of the app. It could take some time before you see it in the settings of your app.

Regarding the seven-day logic, the blog post reads, “”We’re starting with 7 days because we think it offers peace of mind that conversations aren’t permanent, while remaining practical so you don’t forget what you were chatting about. The shopping list or store address you received a few days ago will be there while you need it, and then disappear after you don’t.”

How to activate disappearing messages on WhatsApp?

Open the WhatsApp chat on Android or iOS and tap the contact’s name, followed by Disappearing messages setting.

If prompted, tap Continue and select On.

If you want disable disappearing messages, go back to this setting and Select off.

For group chats, the rights to turn on disappearing messages will rest with the admin.  Follow the same steps in the Group chat as well to turn on the feature.

Points to keep in mind about disappearing messages on WhatsApp

When you activate this feature, if a user doesn’t open WhatsApp in the seven day period, the messages will disappear. But WhatsApp says a preview of the message might still be displayed in notifications until WhatsApp is opened.

When you reply to a message, the initial message is quoted. If you reply to a disappearing message, the quoted text might remain in the chat after seven days.

If a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat with disappearing messages off, the message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat.

If a user creates a backup before a message disappears, the disappearing message will be included in the backup. Disappearing messages will be deleted when a user restores from a backup.

Once again remember it is possible to the other person to forward or take a screenshot of the disappearing message and save it.

If disappearing messages are turned on, media sent in the chat will disappear, but it will be saved on the phone if auto-download is on.


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