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How to Activate Disappearing Messages in WhatsApp

If you don't want your WhatsApp messages to be viewed for long by the recipient, you can activate disappearing message features that will automatically delete the message(s) in a give time period from both chats.

When you don’t need your messages to last long on one’s chats, WhatsApp allows you to either manually delete them or it is automatically done for you. When it is done manually, the sender uses the “Delete for Everyone” feature which deletes the message(s) from both chats; the senders’ and the recipients’. When it is automatically done for you by WhatsApp, there’s a time period it is done.

One way WhatsApp will automatically delete your messages from both the sender and recipient chats is if the sender activates the “Disappearing Messages” feature. By turning on this feature, messages will disappear automatically from both chats after 7 days. This feature can be activated for both individual and group chats.

To do this;

  1. Open your WhatsApp.
  2. Open an individual or group profile that you want to turn on the disappearing message feature. Proceed to select/tap on their profile to open the individual or group setting.
  3. Scroll through the profile settings to the bottom till you see “disappearing messages”.
  4. Select the feature, and by default, it will be turned off. Go ahead and select on, to activate the feature.
  5. A little clock-like timer will appear beside the profile to show that the disappearing message feature is activated for that particular person or group.

The second way to activate disappearing messages is with WhatsApp’s new feature which only applies to media; photos and videos. The new feature rolled out early this month is called “View Once”, which deletes photos and videos from chats after they have been viewed by the recipient.

Not all photos or videos need to last forever in your camera roll, so WhatsApp thinks the “View Once” feature comes in handy. The messaging platform noted that the feature is a new addition to its privacy features. Thus, if you want to send photos or videos that will be opened/viewed once and then disappear forever, you can now use this feature.

ALSO READ: WHATSAPP ROLLING GLOBALLY ROLLING OUT A NEW FEATURE FOR DISAPPEARING PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

When sending a photo or video while in chat, the sender can make the photo or video viewed once by tapping the “1” in the caption text field next to the send button. And unlike regular photo or video messages, the “view once” photos or videos aren’t saved to the recipient’s media gallery.

To do this;

  1. Open the WhatsApp app.
  2. Select the recipient for the message.
  3. As you have been doing before, within the chat, select the photo or video you need to send to the recipient.
  4. Before sending the photo or video, in the caption box at the extreme right is a “1” in a circle.
  5. Tap on the “1” which will be activated once the media is sent. After the recipient opens/views it, it’ll be automatically deleted and the message will be shown as “opened.”
WhatsApp globally rolls out the 'View Once' feature to all its users.
WhatsApp globally rolls out the ‘View Once’ feature to all its users.

WhatsApp isn’t promoting this feature as a secure way to send photos, as the social media giants note that recipients can still take a screenshot or record their screen while opening a “view once” photo or video. The sender won’t be notified if the recipient takes a screenshot or screen recording.

Either way, it is a great way to delete your photos or videos if you don’t need them saved to the recipient’s gallery.

The “View Once” feature is optional, and can only be activated by the sender if s/he wants it to be viewed once or not to be saved. The media with this feature can’t be forwarded, saved, stared, archived, or shared.

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Joan Banura

A journalist at heart 💜 with a passion for Tech.
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