It was an open secret that WhatsApp was going to implement messages that self-destruct, to such an extent that the company preferred to control expectations by explaining how they work a few days ago. Now, WhatsApp is starting to activate temporary messages to users. We have tested them, and we will tell you how they work.
The messages that self-destruct on WhatsApp are slightly different from those you find in other applications such as Telegram, and the time range is not configurable: disappear a week, although with several small print that we will see below.
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How to activate the temporary messages of WhatsApp
First of all, keep in mind that WhatsApp has officially announced that this novelty will be available to all users from this month of November, so it is still it might take a few days for the option to appear. Of course, even if you do not have the option to activate temporary messages, if the other person with whom you are chatting has it, they can activate them in a conversation with you.
On Android, there is an unofficial way to force activation of WhatsApp functions, with the WaTweaker application, in which you can find the option Enable disappearing messages. If you are an advanced user (the app needs root), you can use it to test ahead of time, although we do not recommend it very much since the deployment of the option for everyone could be a matter of a few days.
The best way to know if you have active temporary messages in WhatsApp is to look for the option. You will find it by touching the name of a person in a chat, in the section Temporary messages.
The first time, WhatsApp shows you a message with information about how the option works, reminding you that it is not an infallible method, but that the other person can forward them or take screenshots. Press Continue and then you must choose Activated.
Go back, to the chat, and you will see a notice in blue that indicates that the temporary messages have been activated and also visible to the other person. The avatar of the person includes a clock icon to indicate that this chat has the disappearing messages activated. Otherwise, the chat works the same as always.
That is, temporary messages can be triggered by anyone in a chat conversation between two people, or by the administrators of a group, in groups. This is the summary of the process to activate the temporary messages of WhatsApp:
Open the chat where you want to activate temporary messages
Tap on the person’s name in the top bar
Go into Temporary messages
What happens a week later
WhatsApp does not allow you to choose the time it will take for messages to be automatically deleted, but has set the figure at one week. Namely, when a week has passed since a message has been sent, it is removed from the chat.
Unlike deleting messages, temporary messages disappear without a trace, not including a “Message deleted” text. The messages simply disappear as soon as the week is over since they were sent.
Of course, WhatsApp wants us to be very clear that it is not an infallible function to delete a message, and that the system has certain limitations and small print. They are as follows:
Notifications are not removed, so that even after a week, one of these messages could be read through your notification (if they have not been deleted yet).
They are not removed from replies or forwards. If you reply to one of these messages, with a subpoena, before it is removed, that message will still be visible in the reply. The same happens if the message is forwarded to other chats.
They are not removed from the backup, so it might be possible to recover them from a backup, even after the week has elapsed
No screen capture protections, so that the other person can take a screenshot of the conversation, before the messages are deleted. Of course, you can also take a photo, or copy the text.
Photos and videos that are sent to a chat, they can still be available on the phone after a week, if the automatic download of multimedia files has been activated, which is the usual thing. You can disable this option in Settings – Data and storage.