WhatsApp is updating its disappearing messages function to allow users to opt for chats to be automatically cleared after a set period of time.
The update means users can turn disappearing messages on for all new one-on-one conversations, and will offer more time options to select how long message threads should be stored for.
The disappearing messages function was initially launched last November with only one option to delete messages after seven days. However, the new update will allow messages to be stored for as little as 24 hours or up to 90 days.
Once a user has activated the new function, it will only affect new one-on-one chats. All existing conversations will remain unless manually deleted.
If the feature is activated, a notice will appear at the start of all new one-on-one chats to say that the disappearing messaging function is on by default, notifying both users. It will then allow you to turn it off for specific conversations you might wish to save.
Although the new default setting doesn’t have any effect on group chats, WhatsApp has added a new option when creating groups to let users enable the disappearing messages feature.
The feature was first introduced in a bid to help people cut down on their digital footprint. "While it’s great to hold on to memories from friends and family, most of what we send doesn’t need to be everlasting," WhatsApp said at the time of launch. "Our goal is to make conversations on WhatsApp feel as close to in-person as possible, which means they shouldn’t have to stick around forever.”
The new feature is now available to WhatsApp users across all platforms.