WhatsApp releases details about disappearing messages

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WhatsApp has just released important details about a new feature available in future!
Let’s discover all details below!

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Common questions Answers
Name of the feature? Disappearing Messages
Status? Under development
Availability? Soon
I’ve installed the latest version but I haven’t this feature, why? This feature will be officially available in a future update
DISAPPEARING MESSAGES

Disappearing Messages aren’t available yet, but WhatsApp announces the feature to come to iOS, Android, KaiOS and Web/Desktop… at least in a hidden part of their website.
Once enabled Disappearing Messages (when the feature will be released in another update), all new messages of your individual or group chats will automatically disappear after a certain amount of time. You can decide where to enable Disappearing Messages: it means the option won’t be enabled globally in all your chats, but you have the control where to enable it.
Disappearing Messages (previously called Expiring Messages) have been already announced by WABetaInfo in a previous article: the first version of Disappearing Messages allowed to choose when messages had to expire, but WhatsApp has decided to change the feature: if the user enables Disappearing Messages, all new messages will expire after 7 Days, giving no possibility to customize this interval.


Disappearing messages from a future build of WhatsApp for iOS

Reading the official WhatsApp FAQ, we can learn different useful things:

  • 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.

This is a good feature, but WhatsApp recommends to use it carefully, with trusted individuals, because:

  • The recipient might forward or take a screenshot of a disappearing message and save it before it disappears.
  • The recipient might copy and save content from the disappearing message before it disappears.
  • The recipient might take a photo of a disappearing message with a camera or other device before it disappears.

WhatsApp also warns about the option Save to Camera Roll: if this option is enabled, a disappearing message might be automatically saved in the Photos app.

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Disappearing messages could be a useful feature, but we’re not really satisfied. We have elaborated these details provided by WhatsApp and this is our personal analysis:

  • It’s very rare to not use WhatsApp for 7 days, so the issue where the preview of the disappearing message might still be displayed shouldn’t be really a problem.
  • We have discovered that quoted disappearing messages might not disappear in WhatsApp after 7 days. This happens when you receive a disappearing message, disable the option in Contact Info and quote the message. Unfortunately there is no solution about this issue (the same occurs with quoted revoked messages, and WhatsApp never cared to fix this).
  • WhatsApp should definitely allow to choose different amount of time again, like in the first version of disappearing messages.
  • Forwarded disappearing messages in no-disappearing chats won’t be automatically removed from your chat history, after 7 days. This might be really a big issue, because people can forward them in their own private chat to keep the message. WhatsApp should remove the option to forward disappearing messages.
  • Disappearing messages will be still removed after being restored from a backup: this is a good decision!
  • Disappearing messages can be saved if the user takes a screenshot of the chat. A lot of users asked for screenshot detection: we don’t know if this is a good thing or what, but WhatsApp is totally against it.
  • Save to Camera Roll will automatically save disappearing images and videos in your camera roll. WhatsApp should have disabled this option for Disappearing Messages and the possibility to manually save or export the media.
  • For example, we know disappearing images can be saved taking a screenshot or a photo from another phone, and this is out of the control of WhatsApp or any other messaging application, but WhatsApp has total control of their application, so they can change the behavior of some features.

    Well, what do you think about Disappearing Messages? Are they bad implemented even before being released? Let us know on Twitter!

    NOTE:
    Another feature to come to WhatsApp in future is called Expiring Media, to send images and videos to disappear after being seen once.

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