WhatsApp messages that self-destruct are now official

Temporary WhatsApp messages are here: so you can send messages that disappear in your chats.

Written by Christian Collado

Last updated on 02/11/2020 at 10:30

For some time we knew that WhatsApp was working on “self-destructing chats”, which would allow users of the messaging platform to send messages that, after a while, would disappear completely from the conversation.

Later, we were able to learn more details about the operation of this feature, and just a few weeks ago we completely got rid of doubts thanks to a leak that showed us how it works.

And now, when 2020 is already on its final stretch, WhatsApp has made self-destructing messages official… more or less.

“Disappearing Messages”, the new WhatsApp function

WhatsApp on two Android phones.

Through its help web page, WhatsApp has announced the arrival of this new feature –We do not know if accidentally or intentionally–, called “Disappearing Messages” or “Temporary Messages”.

Its operation is what we already knew: it will be possible activate an option that will make our messages sent to a chat disappear after seven days.

Said option will affect all messages in the chat, although those that have been sent previously will not be deleted.

WhatsApp specifies that any user can activate temporary messages in an individual chat, although in group chats it will be the administrators who activate or deactivate this option.

The company has also taken the opportunity to clear up some doubts, such as what It would happen in the event that a user does not open WhatsApp during those seven days despite having a temporary message waiting.

In that situation, the message will be deleted, although WhatsApp indicates that your content may remain visible in the preview –For example, in the notifications of WhatsApp messages–.

Also, in case of quote a temporary message in a chat, its content will remain even after the seven days have passed.

It will also not be removed in case the message has been forwarded to a different chat.

Messages that self-destruct on WhatsApp

The interface of the temporary messages of WhatsApp.

They also indicate that, if a WhatsApp backup is created where a conversation with temporary messages is included, these will remain in the conversation when that copy is restored.

Finally, it is convenient to mention that in case of having the automatic download of WhatsApp multimedia files activated, the multimedia content of temporary messages will be automatically saved on mobile despite the fact that such content will disappear from the chat along with the message.

The risks of temporary messages

Along with the announcement of the new function, WhatsApp takes the opportunity to encourage users to use temporary messages only with people they trust.

And it is that the company itself already indicates some of the risks You may have to use this function, since it is not infallible to different techniques with which to try to preserve temporary messages.

They indicate the following:

  • Forward the temporary message or take a screenshot and save it before it disappears.
  • Copy and save the content of a temporary message before it disappears.
  • Take a photo of a temporary message with another device before it disappears.
  • Save attached media files in temporary messages

How to activate or deactivate temporary WhatsApp messages

WhatsApp for Android

A person using WhatsApp on an Android smartphone.

While at the time of publishing this article this feature is not available yet, we already know the steps to activate temporary WhatsApp messages, or deactivate this function both in an individual chat and in a group.

These are the steps to follow:

  1. Open the WhatsApp chat where you want to activate or deactivate the function.
  2. Touch the name of the contact or group.
  3. Touch the option “Temporary messages” and then touch “Continue” – this will only appear the first time you use this function.
  4. Select the “On” or “Off” option depending on whether you want to enable or disable disappearing messages.

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