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WhatsApp disappearing messages starts rolling out in India - this is how you can use it

It’s here but, not as we expected

(Image: © Shutterstock / Alex Ruhl)

WhatsApp disappearing messages has been making news for some time now after the Facebook-owned messaging service came up with this idea to beat the privacy issue. The feature has started rolling out to users in India now. In case you want to explore this new feature, here’s how the WhatsApp disappearing messages works. 

The WhatsApp disappearing messages feature is available for Android, iOS, WhatsApp Web, and KaiOS devices. In our testing, we could enable the features of the disappearing message on all the platforms except the KaiOS since we didn’t have a device running KaiOS to try out. 

Here’s how to turn on disappearing messages on WhatsApp:

How to Turn on disappearing messages on WhatsApp on Android, iOS, and Web

  • Open a WhatsApp chat (personal/group)
  • Tap on the contact’s name
  • Tap on Disappearing messages
  • Click on “On” 

(Image credit: Future)

How to Turn off disappearing messages on WhatsApp on Android, iOS, and Web

  • Open a WhatsApp chat (personal/group)
  • Tap on the contact’s name
  • Tap on Disappearing messages
  • Click on “Off”

For KaiOS users, you can head to a WhatsApp chat, press options > View Contact > OK. Then select disappearing messages > EDIT. If prompted, press Next > OK. and select ON > OK. It can be turned off in the same way 

The WhatsApp disappearing feature is currently available for Android, iOS, and Web. If you can’t see it, ensure that your app is updated to the latest version, as it has rolled out to everyone.

We tried out the feature on v2.20.207.2 (Beta), v2 20.205.16, and for Android. For iOS, the feature is working on v2.20.121.4.

The WhatsApp disappearing messaging feature works for groups as well as individual chats. Unlike Telegram, where a second instance of the chat is created for secret messages, WhatsApp disappearing messages will appear in the same conversation. When enabled, the chat will display a note saying that the feature is turned on and messages will disappear from the chat after 7 days. It can be disabled from the same place.

Currently, WhatsApp doesn’t allow us to play with the timings of the disappearing messages. It is by default 7 days and can’t be changed. 

When you enable the feature and the user on the other side doesn’t open WhatsApp in the 7 days, the message will disappear. But a preview of the message will still be visible in the app notifications.

(Image credit: Future)

If you reply to a disappearing message, the original message will be quoted and might not disappear once it expires. This is similar to how WhatsApp’s delete works. If a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat with disappearing messages off, the message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat.

If you create a backup before a message disappears, the message will be included in the backup and will be excluded when you restore it. And lastly, the media received in the disappearing message will disappear in the chat after 7 days but will stay on the phone if you have downloaded that media already.

For those who are interested, the WhatsApp disappearing message doesn’t have any restriction. You can take screenshots, forward messages, copy-paste text, etc. when the feature is turned on.

We expect WhatsApp to add customization options in the upcoming days. And, also I’d personally like to see an option to enable the disappearing message more simply by clicking on the menu icon in the chat.

Srivatsa is a prolific writer who spearheads the core writing team on tech news, buying guides, reviews, and all gadget articles. He is passionate about technology.