WhatsApp spotted testing new 90-day limit for disappearing messages
Earlier this year, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp released a privacy-centric feature called disappearing messages that automatically made messages disappear after a fixed amount of time. Now, WhatsApp has improved the feature with a new 90-day option after which messages will automatically expire. The new limit is being tested with a small subset of beta users. Here are more details.
WhatsApp was reported to be working on disappearing messages in late-2019. The feature rolled out in October. In April this year, we reported that WhatsApp was testing the 24-hour limit for disappearing messages. While WhatsApp beta feature tracking website WABetaInfo now claims that this feature is available to some users of the app's stable version, other reports claim the 24-hour limit is unavailable.
According to WABetaInfo, the new in-development feature is available on WhatsApp's beta build bearing version number 22.214.171.124. Beta users who can access this feature will be able to have messages automatically expire after 90 days. This means they would be able to set messages to disappear after either 24 hours, or seven days, or 90 days.
The new 90-day limit for message expiration remains true to WhatsApp's initial goal with the feature—to reassure users that conversations aren't permanent. With a 90-day limit, users should be able to retain context when they pick up long-forgotten conversations and also enjoy the privacy of disappearing messages. It remains unclear how many users will find the new limit useful, though.
If you have apprehensions about using the 90-day limit, another WhatsApp feature called View Once could be just what you need. With View Once, you can set media (images and videos) to expire immediately after the recipient has viewed them. This could come in clutch when you don't want the recipients to save, share, or forward the media files you sent.