WhatsApp is introducing messages which disappear
Users will start seeing the feature from today onwards
WhatsApp has announced the arrival of Disappearing Messages, which will allow users to send each other texts and media that will vanish after seven days.
The feature will be rolled out on Thursday and will allow users to set an option for each chat - either group or individual - to delete messages automatically after seven days.
Other messaging apps, including Telegram and Signal, already have similar features although they do allow you to adjust the length of time messages that are stored.
WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has set its timeframe at seven days.
"Our goal is make conversations on WhatsApp feel as close to in-person as possible, which means they shouldn't have to stick around forever," WhatsApp said in a statement on Thursday.
"That’s why we’re excited to introduce the option to use disappearing messages on WhatsApp.
"When disappearing messages is turned on, new messages sent to a chat will disappear after seven days, helping the conversation feel lighter and more private. In a one-to-one chat, either person can turn disappearing messages on or off. In groups, admins will have the control."
Once enabled, new messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear after seven days, however, this will not affect messages previously sent or received in the chat.
By default in WhatsApp, media you receive will be automatically downloaded to your photos. If disappearing messages are turned on, media sent in the chat will disappear, but will be saved on the phone if auto-download is on.
Another thing to bear in mind - any photographs or video files sent across WhatsApp are automatically downloaded to the recipients' phone. Even if you have disappearing messages switched on, the saved image or video will remain on your phone unless deleted.