How to Send Disappearing Messages in WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, and Instagram

Disappearing messages feature serves as a neat way to send messages without leaving a trace or history. If you’ve been wondering how to get started with disappearing messages, here’s all you need to know to enable and use the feature on popular messaging platforms namely Telegram, Signal, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Send Disappearing Messages

1. Send Disappearing Messages on Telegram

If you’ve read our WhatsApp vs Telegram vs Signal comparison, you’re probably aware of the fact that Telegram’s secret chat feature is end-to-end encrypted. You should create a secret chat to send disappearing messages and media on Telegram. To get started, open the contact’s profile page and tap on ‘Start secret chat.’

create secret chat telegram

In the secret chat interface, tap on the vertical three dots menu next to the contact to access more options. From the list of options that appear now, tap on ‘Set self-destruct timer.’ You can set the message to disappear at a time ranging from 1 second to a week. Choose your desired message self-destruct period and tap on Done. You can also tap on the clock symbol next to the profile picture to access self-destruct timer.

All messages and media you send to the contact through secret chat after setting the self-destruct timer will expire after the defined time. Do keep in mind that this setting doesn’t affect the nature of normal Telegram chats with the same person.

In case you’re looking for ways to send self-destructing images or videos, you can do it without creating a secret chat. All you have to do is pick the image/video from the file picker interface and tap on the timer icon. Press Done once you’ve set the expiry timer.  The file preview is blurred (check image above) and the timer starts as soon as the recipient opens the image.

2. Send Disappearing Messages on Signal

If you’re someone who recently switched from WhatsApp to Signal, you’ll be glad to know that Signal’s disappearing messages implementation is much better than WhatsApp. To use the feature, open a chat, tap on the vertical three dots menu in the right corner, and choose ‘Disappearing messages.’ You can now set the duration starting from 5 seconds to 1 week.

The clock symbol next to a message indicates that it is sent via disappearing messages mode. You can always check the message expiry duration in the indicator next to the profile picture.

3. Send Disappearing Messages on Instagram

Coming to Instagram, Facebook recently introduced vanish mode as part of its Instagram Direct-Facebook Messenger integration. As a result, you can swipe up from any Instagram DM to start a private chat window where messages disappear when you close the chat. Similarly, you can swipe up again to exit vanish mode.

If you’re looking for an option to send Snapchat-style self-destructing media, you don’t have to enable vanish mode. Instead, tap on the camera button in the bottom left corner, choose the image/video, and switch to the ‘View Once’ tab. Once you’re here, tap on ‘Send’ to send the image.

4. Send Disappearing Messages on WhatsApp

After all mainstream messaging platforms, WhatsApp added disappearing messages in November last year. However, you can’t customize the self-destruct timer’s duration here. All messages sent via disappearing messages mode on WhatsApp disappear after 7 days, which isn’t ideal if you ask me. You can read more on why WhatsApp’s disappearing messages should not be your first choice for sending sensitive images here, but here’s the method if you consider giving the feature a shot.

Open WhatsApp and head to the contact’s profile page. You can do this by tapping on the contact name in the conversation window. From here, look for the option titled ‘Disappearing messages’ and press it. You can now choose to enable the feature by tapping on the ‘On’ toggle.

Use Disappearing Messages Mode While Sending Sensitive Images

So, that was our guide on how you can use disappearing messages on popular messaging platforms. If you’re looking for more ways to use these platforms like a pro, you’ll find many useful features in our articles on Instagram tips, WhatsApp tips, Signal tips, and Telegram tips. You should also consider checking out our guide on deleting metadata from photos for better privacy.

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