WhatsApp for iOS adds default Disappearing Messages and Multiple Durations features

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WhatsApp is rolling out a big update for its app on iOS. Starting today, users can choose to use disappearing messages as default, as well as opt for multiple durations of messages for every chat.

Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today:

We’re rolling out a new disappearing messages option on WhatsApp today so you’ll be able to make all new chats disappearing by default after 24 hours, 7 days, or 90 days. Not all messages need to stick around forever.

According to a blog post, WhatsApp users will now have the option to turn on disappearing messages by default for all new chats. When enabled, all new one-on-one chats you or another person start will be set to disappear at your chosen duration, and we’ve added a new option when creating a group chat that lets you turn it on for groups you create.

The app lets people know that this new feature is optional and does not change or delete any of your existing chats.

Alongside the existing seven-day option for disappearing messages, users can now choose to delete a chat after 24 hours or 90 days.

For people who choose to switch on default disappearing messages, we will display a message in your chats that tells people this is the default you’ve chosen. This makes clear it’s nothing personal – it’s a choice you’ve made about how you want to communicate with everyone on WhatsApp moving forward. Though of course, if you need a particular conversation to remain permanent, it’s easy to switch a chat back.

WhatsApp explains how the Disappearing Messages feature works:

  • If a user doesn’t open WhatsApp in the 24-hour, seven-day, or 90-day period, the message will disappear from the chat. 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 the duration you select.
  • 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.

The company says that people should use disappearing messages with trusted individuals, as it’s possible for someone to:

  • Forward or take a screenshot of a disappearing message and save it before it disappears.
  • Copy and save content from the disappearing message before it disappears.
  • Take a photo of a disappearing message with a camera or other device before it disappears.

What do you think of this change? Will you use Disappearing Messages as a default in your WhatsApp messages? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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