EXPLAINER: All you need to know about WhatsApp's new 'disappearing messages' feature

Greg Mulhall

Reporter:

Greg Mulhall

Email:

greg.mulhall@iconicnews.ie

EXPLAINER: All you need to know about WhatsApp's new 'disappearing messages' feature

Wildy popular messaging service WhatsApp has announced the highly-awaited arrival of their new “Disappearing Messages” feature that will allow users to send each other texts and media that will vanish after 7 days.

Parent company Facebook recently announced that WhatsApp passed the major milestone of 100 billion messages sent per day, from their base of over 2 billion users worldwide.

As of yesterday, Wednesday, November 4, the 'disappearing messages' feature - which includes media types such as photos and videos - went live and now messages can be marked to disappear after 7 days.

Here's what you need to know about the new feature: 

You can send messages that disappear on WhatsApp by enabling disappearing messages. Once enabled, new messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear after seven days. The most recent selection controls all messages in the chat.

This setting won’t affect messages you previously sent or received in the chat. In an individual chat, either user can turn disappearing messages on or off. In a group chat, only group admins can turn disappearing messages on or off.

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.

For the record, only use disappearing messages with trusted individuals. For example, it's 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

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.

How to turn on disappearing messages on iPhone

Open the WhatsApp chat.
Tap the contact’s name.
Tap Disappearing Messages.
*If prompted, tap Continue.
Select On.

Disable disappearing messages on iPhone

Open the WhatsApp chat.
Tap the contact’s name.
Tap Disappearing Messages.
*If prompted, tap Continue.
Select Off.

How to turn on disappearing messages on Android

Open the WhatsApp chat.
Tap the contact’s name.
Tap Disappearing messages.
*If prompted, tap CONTINUE.
Select On.

Disable disappearing messages on Android

Open the WhatsApp chat.
Tap the contact’s name.
Tap Disappearing messages.
*If prompted, tap CONTINUE.
Select Off.