WhatsApp rolls out new 'disappearing messages' function

Messages will be deleted automatically after seven days, including images and videos

WhatsApp is set to roll out a new feature that will make messages disappear, in a bid to help users cut down their digital footprint.

The update, which is set to start rolling out to phones this week, will give users the options to delete conversations automatically seven days after messages have been sent.

The new function will work for both group messages and individual conversations, and will automatically remove any image or video files shared.

“We’re starting with seven days because we think it offers peace of mind that conversations aren’t permanent, while remaining practical so you don’t forget what you were chatting about,” the company said when announcing the change in a blog post. “The shopping list or store address you received a few days ago will be there while you need it, and then disappear after you don’t.

“While it’s great to hold on to memories from friends and family, most of what we send doesn’t need to be everlasting. 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 function can be enabled by tapping the chat name at the top of the screen, and scrolling down to find the new “disappearing messages” option. Turning it on will not delete older messages, and in group chats, this can only be done by the admin. With one-on-one conversations, both users are able to select the option.

"We hope people enjoy disappearing messages, which will be rolling out to users everywhere this month," the blog post added.