WhatsApp’s new Disappearing Messages feature is now rolling out for all users, which you will be able to send messages that will automatically disappear after a period of 7 days. WhatsApp says this is to try an add an in-person touch to the instant messaging conversations and believe that all chats shouldn’t stick around forever. The way this works is that when disappearing messages option is turned on new messages that are send in a chat with a contact will disappear after 7 days. The WhatsApp Disappearing Messages functionality will be available on Android, iPhone, WhatsApp Desktop and WhatsApp Web as well.
But why 7 days? “We’re starting with 7 days because we think it offers peace of mind that conversations aren’t permanent, while remaining practical so you don’t forget what you were chatting about. The shopping list or store address you received a few days ago will be there while you need it, and then disappear after you don’t,” is how WhatsApp describes it. The Facebook-owned instant messaging app is incredibly popular, with over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide—that’s according to numbers by research firm Statista. In second place is Facebook Messenger, with 1.3 billion users and WeChat is third with 1.2 billion users.
WhatsApp says that once you enable disappearing messages in any chat, new messages will automatically disappear after 7 days. However, this does not have any impact on the existing messages in the chat, that is, before you enable the disappearing messages option. If it is a chat between you and a friend, either party can turn on or turn off disappearing messages. This option will be available in WhatsApp -> Chat -> Contact Name -> Disappearing Messages -> On or Off. This is true for WhatsApp on Android, iPhone, WhatsApp Desktop and WhatsApp Web. However, in a group chat, only the group admin can make this change.
The way Disappearing Messages works is that even if a user doesn’t open a chat for 7 days, a message that you sent with disappearing messages switched on will disappear. The only trace of that message will perhaps be in the notifications that were left unattended. Secondly, if you reply specifically to a disappearing message in a chat, the quoted message text might remain visible even after 7 days.
The WhatsApp Disappearing Messages feature is now rolling out for all users, though you may not get it immediately. The best you can do, if you don’t get the new functionality immediately, is to check for app updates on the Apple App Store if you are using an iPhone or the Google Play Store if you are on an Android phone.