WhatsApp’s disappearing messages feature is now live in India and is available for individual as well as group chats. Once it is enabled, new messages sent to a chat will disappear after 7 days. In a one-to-one chat, either person can turn disappearing messages on or off. In groups, admins will have the control. The most recent selection controls all messages in the chat.
If you choose to enable the setting, it will not affect any previous messages that have been sent. However, if you enable the setting and the recipient of the message doesn’t open WhatsApp during that seven-day period, the message will disappear. However, the preview of the message might still be displayed in notifications until WhatsApp is opened. As is with deleted messages, if you quote reply to a disappearing message, the message may still be seen in the quoted text. If you forward a disappearing text, the forwarded text will remain and will not get deleted.
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.
Disappearing messages can be screenshotted, forwarded and copied, and requires the user to be vigilant. When the feature is turned on, the person will be notified, and a clock will appear next to their profile picture in the list of chats.
If disappearing messages are turned on and your media downloads are on auto-download, media sent in the chat will disappear, but will be saved on the phone. You can turn auto-download off in WhatsApp Settings > Storage and Data.
Here’s how to enable and disable the feature:
> Open the WhatsApp chat of the person you want to turn on the feature for.
> Click on the contact’s name.
> Tap disappearing messages.
> If prompted, click on continue, and then select ‘on’.
The same has to be followed for the setting to be disabled as well.
This method applies on Android, iOS and on Web WhatsApp/Desktop versions as well.