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Warning for millions of WhatsApp users – deleting texts is changing forever

WHATSAPP is making a huge change to its Disappearing Messages feature.

Meta (which owns WhatsApp) is redesigning the feature to make it much easier to use.


This is what the new interface for Disappearing Messages looks likeCredit: WhatsApp / WABetaInfo

Disappearing Messages allows you to set texts to automatically vanish after a certain period of time.

This is a great way to boost your privacy on WhatsApp, scrubbing away records of your conversations over the years.

WhatsApp is currently testing a brand new interface for the feature in the beta test version of the app, as spied by WABetaInfo.

The new settings page reads: “For added privacy, new messages will disappear for everyone from the chat after the duration you select.

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“Chat participants will see you turned this on.

Then there’s a section called Set For Your Account, which lets you choose a default message time for all new chats that you create.

After that, there’s a section called Set For Your Current Chats.

This will let you choose specific chats for new messages to disappear in. This is for conversations that already exist.

It’s now much easier to set timers for existing conversations, as well as applying message timers to new chats.

Sadly there’s no way to go back and mass-unsend all of the texts you’ve ever seen.

But it’s a good feature to have activated going forward.

The new interface isn’t available just yet for general users, but it’s being tested in the beta – so it might not be far away.

If you want to try new WhatsApp features first, consider joining the beta.

Follow our guide below to find out how.

How to get WhatsApp beta

To download WhatsApp beta for your smartphone you need to go to Google Play on your Android and search for WhatsApp.

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.

Joining the WhatsApp beta on iOS for iPhone is more difficult, and has limited capacity.

Follow Apple’s guide here.

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.

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.

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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.

Latest tips and tricks for social media apps

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