What Is The Benefit Of The ‘Disappearing Messages’ Feature In WhatsApp

Disappearing messages are usually not new, however, they’re rapidly changing into a preferred possibility. Secure messaging app Signal has been offering the characteristic since 2016, and WhatsApp launched disappearing messages in November’s final 12 months. But why do you have to use them?

Growth in the usage of vanishing messages, which take away what you’ve despatched after a set period, is being pushed by quite a few components. To a fundamental degree, WhatsApp and Signal chats are amassing big quantities of information, placing stress on smartphone cupboard space. Disappearing messages can eliminate this litter, making them helpful for anybody wishing to scale back their digital footprint.

And that’s without contemplating the privacy implications. While Signal and WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption stops anybody intercepting your messages from accessing their content material, it could shield your message knowledge in case your gadget or the individual you’re speaking to is compromised.

“Even if knowledge is encrypted and guarded by a code, maintaining messaging data obtainable in your smartphone poses way more of a menace than not having it wherever in any respect,” says Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET. “Disappearing messages add a layer of safety and assurance that the info is protected, as a result of it not existing.”

How disappearing messages work

While vanishing messages can be found on each WhatsApp and Signal, there are variations between the 2, with the latter providing richer options and extra controls.

Signal customers can set messages to vanish after any size of time between one second to 4 weeks – the timer begins after a message is learned. You may also alter the time or flip the characteristic off in the event you change your thoughts.

Each vanishing message will be characteristic of a timer countdown icon seen on the backside of the message bubble. Signal’s disappearing messages may be turned on by anybody within the chat and are deleted from all areas when the timer reaches a finish.

Signal additionally has a separate characteristic that means that you can ship vanishing photographs and movies. Simply faucet on the + signal on the backside left of the display screen and choose the tiny round icon earlier than sending the message.

WhatsApp’s vanishing messages are a brand new characteristic, so the customization choices are at present very restricted. Disappearing messages vanish after seven days for all customers and this can’t be adjusted. Although sooner or later it’s probable that WhatsApp will add extra controls to the vanishing messages.

In a WhatsApp one-to-one chat, both individuals can flip vanishing messages on. Anyone can allow disappearing messages in a bunch, except the admin adjusts the settings to permit solely admins to show the characteristic on and off. Unlike Signal, the present seven-day interval on WhatsApp doesn’t want a message to be learned. Messages despatched will disappear even when they haven’t been opened or learned.

What Is The Benefit Of The ‘Disappearing Messages’ Feature In WhatsApp

When to make use of disappearing messages

Disappearing messages are a perfect software for people who find themselves involved their chats might be checked – particularly if there may be something about themselves they wish to hold personal, says Scott Sammons, data and knowledge specialist at Lighthouse IG. “This may apply to a home abuse setting or somebody, for instance, hiding the fact they’re LGBTQ.”

Of course, disappearing messages are usually not going to work for each state of affairs, particularly in circumstances the place a document must be saved. For occasion, this will apply in the event you’re utilizing Signal or WhatsApp for work functions. “Disappearing messages will imply shedding information that needs to be saved, similar to conversations round offers, contracts or shoppers,” Sammons says.

They’re helpful, however, there are additional caveats to think about when utilizing disappearing messages. For instance, if auto-downloads are enabled on WhatsApp, any media you obtain by way of the app will nonetheless be mechanically saved to your photographs. You can flip this off in WhatsApp Settings > Storage and Data.

Also necessary to notice is, it’s best to solely use the characteristic when speaking with folks you believe. Even when disappearing messages are enabled, there are different methods the chat may be saved, similar to somebody utilizing a digicam to take an image of the display screen, or taking screenshots.

“This shouldn’t be for conditions the place your contact is your adversary – despite everything, if somebody who receives a disappearing message desires a document of it, they’ll at all times use one other digicam to take a photograph of the display screen earlier than the message disappears,” Signal warns on its support website.

How to make use of disappearing messages on WhatsApp and Signal

To use the characteristic on WhatsApp, faucet the group or chat identify on the high of the display screen and scroll right down to disappearing messages. You can then flip the characteristic to ‘on’.

In Signal, you’ll be able to faucet the contact or group identified and set a time after which you want the messages to vanish. Once you will have accomplished so, a little bit timer icon ought to seem to detail the time you will have set with the contact or group.

Many folks use each WhatsApp and Signal, however when you have an alternative, Signal might be the most effective platform for disappearing messages – and never simply because it presents extra options. “Signal is the higher platform due to its stance on privateness, encryption, and different performance,” says Sammons. Moore agrees, declaring that Signal’s firm ethos is extra privacy-conscious in comparison with WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook.

Apple’s privacy labels present Signal’s iOS app collects lots much less knowledge in comparison with WhatsApp. “Data from the gadget can be utilized to focus on the consumer and even be offered to different platforms,” says Moore. “Signal is not going to profile the consumer, nor will it use any private knowledge from the gadget for monetary achieve.”


Q: Is it good to activate disappearing messages on WhatsApp?

A: The disappearing message characteristic makes lots of sense for WhatsApp teams the place you get a lot of messages and never all of them necessary. However, you must keep in mind that when you have the characteristic turned on, you would possibly find yourself shedding some necessary texts.

Q: Does disappearing messages Delete for either side?

A: Tap the individual’s identity or cellphone quantity on the high of the display screen to open the contact data web page. Scroll to the underside of the contact data web page and choose Disappearing Messages. In the “Message Timer” part, choose the period past which messages within the conversion will likely be deleted for each event.

Q: Are disappearing messages protected?

A: Disappearing messages guarantee there may be nothing current on the gadget that might be used in opposition to them. In addition to the privacy advantages, disappearing messages are additionally a great way to avoid wasting area.

Q: Why do folks use disappearing messages?

A: Disappearing messages is a non-compulsory characteristic you’ll be able to activate for extra privacy. When you allow disappearing messages, you’ll be able to set messages to vanish 24 hours, 7 days, or 90 days after the time they’re dispatched. The most up-to-date choice solely controls new messages within the chat.

Q: What are the disadvantages of disappearing messages on WhatsApp?

A: Also, one other drawback to Disappearing Messages is that the message recipient’s cellphone defaults to mechanically saving the media despatched by way of Disappearing Messages even when the consumer had turned that possibility off.