WhatsApp Disappearing Messages: How does it work

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WhatsApp has published the details about the upcoming “Disappearing Message” feature on its FAQ page. Basically, you’ll be able to send messages on both Individual and group chats that will auto-delete after 7 days. It will be available across Android, iOS, KaiOS, desktop, and web. It is already accessible through the beta version.

Let’s delve deep into the details shared by WhatsApp and see how it works.

How WhatsApp Disappearing Messages works

You have to enable the setting first. Once activated, it will be applicable to all the future messages in the chat. As aforementioned, it will auto-disappear after 7 days. And it works with both individual and group chats. But, but, but, there’s a catch.

The caveat is that in the case of groups, only the admin can enforce the setting. However, in the individual chats, either user can enable or disable the disappearing messages.

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You may choose to ignore the message and it will be gone post the 7 day period. However, the message preview might still be displayed in the notification tray until you open the app.

But, even after the 7-day duration, the messages might not disappear in the following cases:

  • If you reply specifically to a disappearing message, the quoted text might stay in the chat even after the 7-day duration.
  • If a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat with disappearing messages turned off, that message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat.
  • Also note that if auto-download or ‘Save to Camera Roll’ is on for media files, then they shall download no matter if the media file is part of a disappearing message. Still, you can stop this by toggling auto-download off in WhatsApp Settings > Data and Storage Usage.

Then there is the case of backups done before the 7-day period, wherein the disappearing messages will be included in the backup file. The good news is, however, that those particular messages won’t be restored.

Amusingly, WhatsApp also highlights ways one can find a way around the disappearing trick. Yes, it is possible to save the disappearing messages in the following simple cum silly ways:

  • Save a screenshot of the disappearing message before it vanishes.
  • Click a photo of the disappearing message before it’s gone for good.
  • Copy and save the content from the disappearing message somewhere (say, in any note-taking app) before it fades.
  • Forward the disappearing message to a chat with disappearing messages turned off.

Now that you know the working, here’s how to enable/disable the feature.

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How to enable disappearing messages

If you’re a group admin, follow these steps to enable/disable the feature:

  1. Open the WhatsApp individual/ group chat.
  2. Tap the contact/group name.
  3. Tap Disappearing messages.
    • If prompted, tap CONTINUE.
  4. Select On/Off depending on your requirement.

The procedure is pretty much the same for all platforms including iOS, Android, KaiOS, Web, and Desktop. You may find more details here.

Vasan G.S.Vasan G.S.
An inquisitive mind who spends a big chunk of the day keenly tracking every emerging detail and is responsible for quickly passing on important developments to Smartprix followers. He loves to stay in his bubble scripting his destiny involving amazing technology and people with good character, passion, and brilliance.

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2 years ago

This feature is stupid. Like what’s the point? People can delete the messages themselves if they want to. The bad thing is if they will also be deleted on the recipient’s side who didn’t even turn this on

2 years ago

So if I want to save some chat and the person is sending a message with the disappear option, I won’t be able to retain that message? This is going to ruin so many friendships. Sometimes we need the option of being able to go back to certain chats