WhatsApp Now Has A Disappearing Message Option But Is It Worth it?
For those who are a fan of using WhatsApp as their messaging app of choice, there is a new feature that has just rolled out. The feature lets users set messages to “self-destruct” after 7 days. Today’s post will cover what you need to do to turn this feature on and ask the question, would you actually use this?
On Nov 5th, Facebook (the parent company of WhatsApp), posted on the FB Newsroom Blog that they were going to be introducing the option to have disappearing messages within WhatsApp. As FB put it
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.
So let’s review what the feature does, and if you choose to use it, how you turn the feature on.
What Does The Disappearing Message Option Do
When you choose to turn on that feature, you can select to use it with a specific person or in a group chat
- When the feature is on, messages will disappear after 7 days.
The things to note here, at this time the 7-day mark is set by WhatsApp and can’t be changed. Besides, there is nothing keeping someone from taking a screenshot of the message in those 7 days, so this disappearance is meant to keep chat windows “clean” not as a security function.
- On individual messages (1 on 1 chat)
When the chat is between you and 1 other person, either person can turn on the disappearing message option.
- On Group Chats
The admin of the chat is the person with the power to turn disappearing messages on or off.
- Media in disappearing messages
By default, the media you receive in WhatsApp will be automatically downloaded to your photos. If disappearing messages are turned on, media sent in the chat will disappear but will be saved on the phone if auto-download is on. You can turn auto-download off in WhatsApp Settings > Storage and Data.
Some other notes to keep in mind
- 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.
- 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.
So this feature is more for chat window clean up than security.
How Do You Enable Disappearing Messages
If you wish to try the disappearing messages feature of WhatsApp
- When it’s an individual chat (1 on 1)
Either user can enable disappearing messages in an individual chat. Once enabled, messages in the chat will disappear after seven days.
- Open the WhatsApp chat.
- Tap the contact’s name.
- Tap Disappearing Messages.
- If prompted, tap Continue.
- Select On.
- When its a group chat
If you’re a group admin, you can turn disappearing messages on in the group chat. Once enabled, messages in the chat will disappear after seven days.
- Open the WhatsApp group chat.
- Tap the group name.
- Tap Disappearing messages.
- If prompted, tap CONTINUE.
- Select On.
To turn the feature off, follow the same steps except for selecting off in the last step instead of On.
So I’m not sure how popular this feature will be unless you just want to clean up your chat windows regularly. However, from the impression Facebook put in its announcement, this setting choice could get additional features or changes in the future.
How To WhatsApp Disappearing Message Option