The concept of messages that disappear after a period of time isn’t new, and Snapchat has to be credited for making that feature popular. For those who don’t use Snapchat but use WhatsApp instead, you might be interested to learn that WhatsApp has finally introduced a new Disappearing Messages feature in the latest update to the app.
What this does is that messages sent after the feature has been turned on will disappear after 7 days. This means that if you have a chat that you want to make sure is private and free of sensitive information, then this is a feature you’ll want to turn on, and here’s how you do it.
How to enable Disappearing Messages
- Launch WhatsApp
- Tap on the chat you want to turn the feature on for
- Tap on the name of the chat at the top of the screen
- Tap on Disappearing Messages
- Tap On
- Repeat the steps above to turn it on for other chats or to turn it off
Things to consider
While this sounds like a useful privacy feature to have, there are some limitations to the feature in its current form. For starters, both parties in the chat need to have the feature enabled. Thankfully this is easier for groups as only group admins can turn the feature on or off.
Also, it only works on messages sent after the feature has been turned on. So previously sent messages will continue to exist, which is good if you want to preserve your chat history, but if you want a completely clean chat, you might want to start a new chat group or delete the old chat.
Lastly, it should be pointed out that there will be some instances where disappearing messages do not actually disappear. According to WhatsApp’s FAQ, if you quote a message and reply it, the quote containing the disappearing message won’t be erased. If you forward disappearing messages to another chat, those messages will not disappear if the recipient of the forwarded messages does not have disappearing messages enabled.
WhatsApp also mentions that there could also be instances where disappearing messages in notifications could continue to persist if the person does not clear them. That being said, despite these limitations, it could still be a useful feature to have.