WhatsApp has been quietly working on a new feature that will let it automatically delete the messages after a set duration. Called 'Disappearing Messages' the feature is rumoured to be added to WhatsApp in the future.
Now, the eagle-eyed folks at WABetaInfo have spotted a FAQ document that sheds light on the upcoming feature. According to the document, users can set a rule that will delete messages from chat history of both the parties after seven days. Disappearing Messages will work for both individual and group chats but only group admins can enable or disable the feature. Apart from that, WhatsApp also points out that the message will delete after seven days even if a user doesn't open WhatsApp during the seven day period. However, the message might be displayed in the notification shade until WhatsApp is opened. Disappearing Messages will also be included if a user backs up their WhatsApp chat data during the seven day period but messages will be deleted when the backup is restored.
Along with the usage, WhatsApp has also highlighted some points that users need to remember while using the feature. For starters, even though messages will disappear, users can still take a screenshot and save the messages. Disappearing Messages can also be copied and saved at a separate location so WhatsApp suggests using it with trusted contacts only. Lastly, Disappearing Messages will work with media files as well but if a person has auto-download turned on then media files will be saved to the gallery even if the corresponding message is deleted from the WhatsApp chat.
The Disappearing Messages feature will be available for Android, iOS, KaiOS, Web and Desktop users. Once the feature is rolled out, users can tap on a contact name and enable Disappearing Messages. WhatsApp, however, has not revealed the timeline so we aren't sure when the feature will be available for the users. Furthermore, it's not clear at the moment if WhatsApp will allow users to set duration or if it will be set to seven days only.