WhatsApp is making its message deletion feature even more useful

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WhatsApp is working on an upgrade that will enable users to delete messages going back at least three months and perhaps longer rather than the current limit of 68 minutes.

WABetaInfo, a website that reports on all things WhatsApp, has reported that work is underway to give the message deletion feature a much-needed upgrade.

It will mean that WhatsApp users will be able to delete a message either just for themselves or for everyone involved no matter the age of the message in question. WABetaInfo has also spotted that it'll be possible to delete messages that are at least three months old, and there is nothing to suggest that this is the upper limit of the deletion window.

While many messaging platforms give you the option to edit or delete the messages you send, the ability to wipe out messages you change your mind about took a long time to come to WhatsApp. And when the option to delete message did finally land, it was quite restrictive thank to a very short window of opportunity for deletion.

While the initial limit of seven minutes was eventually expanded to just over 68 minutes, many people still regard this as being too restrictive. Thankfully, good news suggests that change is on the horizon once again.

A meta safety-net

At the moment the feature is not even available to beta testers, but the fact that we can see development in progress is promising.

Meta (the new name for WhatsApp owner Facebook) will be well aware that this is an option that people have been waiting for, so apart from testing and tweaking, the company is unlikely to sit on it for too long.

While it's not clear exactly when WhatsApp intends to roll this extended message deletion time frame out to users, it is certainly something that is going to go down well when it does launch. After all, who can honestly say they haven't sent a message they regret for one reason or another?

Analysis: better control of your messages

There are plenty of people whose response to this news will be: "About time!". Many WhatsApp users have been both frustrated and confused by the seemingly arbitrary window in which it is currently possible to delete messages, and any expansion is likely to be warmly welcomed.

You may well be among those who have questioned quite why there was a time limit on being able to delete messages. Meta – for reasons best known to itself – had decided that a halfway house between not being able to delete a message at all and being able to delete everything was the best solution.

Now the company appears to be ready to give users the control they have been craving for so long.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

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