WhatsApp is introducing a new ‘disappearing messages’ function that allows chats to be erased on both the side of the sender and the recipient after seven days.
This move, which will be available to users worldwide by the end of November, is meant to help keep chats private.
“Today, WhatsApp messages often live on our phones forever. While it’s great to hold onto memories from friends and family, most of what we send doesn’t need to be everlasting,” the creators explain on a WhatsApp blog.
“Our goal is 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.”
When disappearing messages is turned on, new messages sent to a chat will disappear after seven days, helping the conversation feel lighter and more private. In a one-to-one chat, either person can turn disappearing messages on or off. In groups, admins will have the control. This setting won’t affect messages you previously sent or received in the chat.
“If a user doesn’t open WhatsApp in the seven day period, the message will disappear. However, the preview of the message might still be displayed in notifications until WhatsApp is opened,” the Facebook-owned app explains.
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.
Users will also still be able to screenshot or forward messages, photos or videos they want to keep. If a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat with disappearing messages off, the message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat.