Disappearing Messages Feature
WhatsApp introduces a new feature: a self-destructing messages called Disappearing Message. When enabled, messages will automatically be deleted after 7 days, although this only affects messages sent after the feature has been enabled, so your previous messages should still be safe if you want to preserve your chat history. It seems like this 7 days period it’s not customizable. Meanwhile Signal and Telegram have customizable expiration times that vary from a few seconds to a week
All users need to have the feature enabled for it to work. So if have the feature turned on but my friend doesn’t, then it won’t work. Likewise, WhatsApp cautions that there may be occurrences where disappearing messages aren’t erased, such as when they’re shown in unattended previews in notifications, if they’re quoted, or forwarded to another chat where Disappearing Messages are not enabled.
In a group chat, only group admins can turn disappearing messages on or off.
WhatsApp recommends to use it carefully, with trusted individuals, because:
- 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.
Media in disappearing messages
By default, 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 > Data and Storage Usage.