WhatsApp has finally launched the disappearing messages feature for Group chats, days after confirming its development on its dedicated Support page. The feature is slated to be available this month, and users have to manually enable the feature on a per-group or individual chat basis. The Facebook-owned company explains that if the feature is enabled, messages will automatically wipe out from the particular Group after seven days. The company claims that the seven-day period will give users a "peace of mind" that conversations are not permanent.
While the disappearing messages feature can be enabled by both parties in an individual chat, for a WhatsApp Group, the option lies only with the admin. Notably, the feature is available on WhatsApp for desktop, web, Android, iOS, and KaiOS. To enable the feature on a WhatsApp Group, admins with either Android or iOS app need to Open the WhatsApp group chat > Tap the group name > Tap Disappearing messages> if prompted, tap 'CONTINUE' > Select On. The method remains the same for WhatsApp Desktop and WhatsApp Web. Group admins with the WhatsApp KaiOS app, on the other hand, will need to Open the WhatsApp group chat > Tap the group name > Tap Disappearing messages > if prompted, tap CONTINUE > Select On.
Similarly, WhatsApp Group admins can disable the disappearing messages feature by following the same method. The only difference here lies is in the last step, where they would need to Select 'Off.'
Users should note some loopholes with the disappearing messages feature as well. WhatsApp says that if the disappearing message is forwarded to a chat (or in this case a Group), the forwarded disappearing message will not get wiped out. Similarly, if a user creates a backup before a message is automatically deleted, the file are now permanently saved. The feature also works with media files, and therefore the platform will remove all photos, videos, and more after the seven-day period. However, if auto-download is enabled (which is on by default), the media files will save on the smartphone but will disappear from the chat. The company further highlights that the feature should be used with "trusted users" as anyone can always take a screenshot. Additionally, if you reply specifically to a disappearing message in a chat, the quoted message text might remain visible even after seven days.
The Facebook-owned WhatsApp also explains that previous messages or media files, that is before the disappearing messages option is enabled, won't be affected. The feature is now rolling out to all users, though you may not get it immediately. Users are advised to update the app from the respective app store.