11 November 2020
Reports on WhatsApp working on self-destructing messages feature started appearing last year only and now the creators themselves are elaborating more on the same. The feature is not yet official but WhatsApp has published an FAQ document that kind of gives a heads-up before you start using it whenever it becomes available.
Once again, the document was spotted by the eagle-eyed folks at WABetaInfo. According to the document, once a user enables the disappearing messages feature either in an individual chat or group chat, any message sent after that will disappear after seven days. This means the feature is not applicable to specific messages and controls all messages of a chat once it is enabled. Needless to say, the setting is not applicable to the messages sent before the feature was enabled.
WhatsApp sheds light on the working of the disappearing messages as well. WhatsApp states in an individual chat, users can turn disappearing messages on or off but in a group chat, only admins are allowed set disappearing messages on or off.
WhatsApp also mentions in which scenarios the new disappearing messages feature will not work. Here are those four scenarios –
- 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.
The disappearing messages service is applicable to the media you receive on WhatsApp as well. But if the receiver has set media downloads to auto-download then they will get downloaded to the receiver’s gallery right away.
The disappearing messages feature is not yet official but WhatsApp has mentioned how to use this feature on Android, KaiOS, iPhone, Web, and Desktop as well. In short, to enable disappearing or self-destructing messages –
- Open the WhatsApp chat.
- Tap the contact’s name.
- Tap Disappearing messages.
- If prompted, tap CONTINUE.
- Select On.
Note that since the time of expiration of messages is seven days, one can take a screenshot of these messages before messages get expired. Naturally, the receiver can copy and save the content before it disappears and may also take a photo of those messages with a camera before it disappears.