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The 'Disappearing Messages feature' is now official and will be rolled out to its 2-billion plus users during this month (AFP)
The 'Disappearing Messages feature' is now official and will be rolled out to its 2-billion plus users during this month (AFP)

WhatsApp 'Disappearing Messages' feature decoded: Time limit before texts vanish, more

  • Once 'Disappearing Messages' feature is enabled, new messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear after seven days
  • In another major development earlier this week, WhatsApp got a green signal from India to start its payment service, WhatsApp Pay, in the world’s biggest open tech market

WhatsApp has been in the news this week for a number of reasons, one of them being the launch of its much-awaited 'Disappearing Messages' feature with a time limit of seven days before the message gets automatically deleted. Another one was WhatsApp's payment service, WhatsApp Pay, finally activated in India.

The 'Disappearing Messages feature' is now official and will be rolled out to its 2-billion plus users during this month, WhatsApp said in a statement earlier this week.

How WhatsApp's 'Disappearing Messages' feature works:

To start with, the feature is available for individual as well as group chats. However, in group chats, the group admins will be able to enable disappearing messages in group chats.

The Disappearing Messages feature will be available on all WhatsApp-supported devices including Android, iOS, and Linux-based KaiOS devices, along with WhatsApp Web and Desktop platforms.

As mentioned, once Disappearing Messages feature is enabled, new messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear after seven days.

-The most recent selection controls all messages in the chat. "This setting won’t affect messages you previously sent or received in the chat," WhatsApp said in its support page.

-Disappearing messages will also wipe out photos and videos after seven days, and while messages will disappear for both parties it’s still possible to take screenshots or just simply copy messages before they are automatically deleted. Or, you can also save the photos or other content with auto-download on. You can turn auto-download off in WhatsApp Settings > Data and Storage Usage.

-If a user doesn’t open WhatsApp in the seven day period, the message will disappear. 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 seven days.

-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.

An important thing to note here is that once Disappearing Messages feature is on, there, however, is no option of customizing the time frame after which the messages will be deleted.

Why WhatsApp set a time limit of seven days before the messages automatically disappear?

When the 'disappearing messages' feature is turned on, new messages sent to a chat will disappear after 7 days, helping the conversation feel lighter and more private, the Facebook-owned company said in a statement.

"We're starting with seven days because we think it offers peace of mind that conversations aren't permanent, while remaining practical so you don't forget what you were chatting about. The shopping list or store address you received a few days ago will be there while you need it, and then disappear after you don't," it explained.

How to switch on Disappearing Messages feature:

Open the WhatsApp chat.

Tap the contact’s name.

Tap Disappearing messages.

If prompted, tap CONTINUE.

Select On.

How to switch off Disappearing Messages feature:

Once disabled, messages sent in the chat will no longer disappear.

Open the WhatsApp chat.

Tap the contact’s name.

Tap Disappearing messages.

If prompted, tap CONTINUE.

Select Off.

WhatsApp Pay:

WhatsApp got another major development this week, one which concerns Indians among its 2-billion plus subscribers.

The popular social messaging app across the world got a green signal from India to start its payment service, WhatsApp Pay, in the world’s biggest open technology market.

WhatsApp Pay can go live using the homegrown, multibank Unified Payments Interface, the National Payments Corporation of India said in a statement Thursday. The Facebook-owned firm can gradually expand its UPI base starting with as many as 20 million users. Facebook has been testing WhatsApp payments in India for years, but regulatory hurdles have kept the app’s pilot project to a very small number of users.

WhatsApp's other new features:

Storage management tool:

The Facebook-owned social messaging app now offers easy clean-up suggestions by bucketing both large files and media that has been forwarded a number of times, sorting files according to size in descending order, an by providing a way to preview files before deleting them. With regard to bulk deletion, you can also see a preview of media before selecting one or multiple items to delete.

WhatsApp Business:

WhatsApp has introduced new features that allow WhatsApp Business users to sell products directly from the platform. The feature will allow purchases to be made directly from a WhatsApp chat with a business. The company will also provide hosting services to small businesses through Facebook’s partners in the country.

While WhatsApp already charges businesses for sending notification messages to customers, the new services allow the platform a new revenue making opportunity. The company said the Facebook hosting solutions will require additional payments and both businesses and customers will be made aware that their data is being shared with Facebook in such cases.

'Always Mute' option:

Last month, WhatsApp rolled out one of the most awaited feature of "Always Mute" via which, users can now mute chats indefinitely unlike earlier time duration of muting a chat for a maximum period of a year.

The option is now available on both iOS and Android versions of the app. The feature is self-explanatory as it essentially replaces the time limit for muting a particular chat or a group. With the release of the feature, users can now mute a chat indefinitely instead of the maximum limit of 1 year. This is a blessing in disguise for all those annoying chats that you never want to indulge with but would feel too rude to block.



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