A HUGE WhatsApp update means that some of your texts may now automatically delete themselves.
You might find that some chats begin to empty themselves out after a certain period of time.
This is linked to a new privacy feature – so don’t panic.
For years, WhatsApp messages were permanent: even if you deleted it, everyone else could still see them.
Then WhatsApp allowed you to “unsend” texts within a certain period of time – deleting them for you and all recipients.
Finally earlier this year, WhatsApp rolled out a new feature that automatically “unsends” messages.
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This is important, because it means that some texts sent to you won’t stick around.
And if you activate it then your own texts will vanish too.
It’s an important privacy feature that you should consider turning on.
And if you don’t activate it, be aware that texts sent to you can still be “unsent”.
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How to send WhatsApp disappearing messages
So how to do you activate WhatsApp disappearing messages today?
Open your app on mobile and then go into Settings > Account > Privacy.
Look for Disappearing Messages and then set the toggle to the On position.
Then choose a time period for messages to disappear – 24 hours, 7 days or 90 days.
A message will appear in the chat confirming that Disappearing Messages has been turned on.
To enable it on an existing chat, you need to archive and then unarchive it first.
You can also enable Disappearing Messages on specific chats by tapping into the individual settings of a WhatsApp contact.
Vanishing texts warning
The system isn’t fool-proof, of course.
If someone screenshots or records your chat, there’s no way to remove that content from their phone using an official WhatsApp feature.
As always, the best way to keep embarrassing or regrettable content off the internet is to not post it in the first place.
But if you’re particularly worried, using Disappearing Messages is a great system to use.
Remember: only texts sent after you activate Disappearing Messages will be deleted. It won’t go back in time and scrub old missives for you.
Texts also won’t be deleted in other chats that they’ve been forwarded to.
And Disappearing Messages will still be stored in a recipient’s back-up – but will be deleted when that user restores from the back-up.
Message quoting may also cause text to remain in a chat, even though the original message has been deleted.
If you want to try new WhatsApp features first, consider joining the beta using our guide below.
How to get WhatsApp beta
Scroll down the page until you see “Become a Beta Tester”.
Tap the “I’m In” button and then click “Join” to confirm.
Now all you have to do is wait for the update to the beta version of the app.
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