WhatsApp has confirmed that it is indeed working on the much talked of ‘disappearing message’, which, when enabled, will make “new messages sent in individual or group chats disappear after seven days.”
But, as it happens, it is still not available at a lay user level.
This feature is set to be rolled out on WhatsApp for web, Android, iOS, and KaiOS.
“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 company said.
Users can turn disappearing messages on and off in individual chats. Of course, in a group chat, only the admins will get to use the feature.
“The most recent selection controls all messages in the chat. This setting won’t affect messages you previously sent or received in the chat,” WhatsApp explained.
Use it with trusted individuals: WhatsApp
But before you get carried away by the much-anticipated feature, it should be said that if a disappearing message is forwarded to another chat with disappearing messages off, the message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat.
Also, if a user has a backup before a message disappears, the disappearing message will figure in the backup. Disappearing messages will be deleted when a user restores from a backup.
WhatsApp cautioned that the feature be used only with trusted individuals. For it’s still possible for someone to:
“Forward or take a screenshot of a disappearing message and save it before it disappears.
Copy and save content from the disappearing message before it disappears.
Take a photo of a disappearing message with a camera or other device before it disappears.”
WhatsApp also said that by default, media users receive in WhatsApp will be automatically downloaded to their 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. Users can turn auto-download off in WhatsApp Settings > Data and Storage Usage, it added.
WhatsApp has not given any date for its rollout.