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WhatsApp just gave its disappearing messages feature a huge upgrade

Published Dec 6th, 2021 7:12PM EST
WhatsApp gets disappearing messages and multiple durations.
Image: WhatsApp

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WhatsApp is the most popular messaging application on the planet. As of early 2020, WhatsApp has over two billion users — hundreds of millions more than Facebook Messenger or WeChat. Of course, Meta Platforms (aka Facebook) now owns WhatsApp, so we have to turn to the company for updates on the app. And on Monday, Meta revealed a few major new features for WhatsApp.

WhatsApp introduces a few new features

In a blog post

, the WhatsApp team notes that it introduced disappearing messages last year. Months later, WhatsApp made it possible to send photos and videos that would disappear immediately after being viewed once. Today, users are getting even more control over their messages.

Going forward, WhatsApp users can choose to turn disappearing messages on by default for all new conversations. If you choose to enable this feature, every chat that you start will be set to disappear after the duration that you set. There’s also an option to turn this feature on by default for new group chats. These are optional features and won’t affect your current chats.

WhatsApp is also expanding the number of durations that you can choose from. In addition to 7 days, users can now choose to have their chats disappear after 24 hours or 90 days.

If you do decide to enable those default disappearing messages, a message will appear in your chats warning other users that you’ve turned the feature on. This ensures that your friends know that all of your chats are vanishing, not just theirs. That said, you can always switch individual chats back.

Here’s what the team has to say about why it’s adding these new features to WhatsApp:

Living apart from family and friends for over a year has made it clearer than ever that just because we can’t physically talk in person, it doesn’t mean we should have to sacrifice the privacy of our personal conversations. We believe disappearing messages along with end-to-end encryption are two crucial features that define what it means to be a private messaging service today, and bring us one step closer to the feeling of an in-personal conversation.

If you want to know more about disappearing messages on WhatsApp, watch this video:

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.