In its FAQ page, WhatsApp has announced the details of one of its highly anticipated features, disappearing messages. According to the page, disappearing messages will be available across Android, iOS, KaiOS, web, and desktop.

For the uninitiated, the disappearing message feature will automatically delete the WhatsApp message after seven days. However, there are a lot of caveats involved in the implementation, which might not be ideal for everyone.

For starters, WhatsApp notes that the message preview for disappearing messages might appear in the notification shade until the user opens the app. In addition, if you quote a disappearing message in the chat, the quoted text will remain in the chat after seven days, which contradicts the purpose.

Another aspect worth pointing out is that media shared as a disappearing message will get removed from the chat but will be saved to the phone if the user has switched on auto-downloads. This is certainly not ideal and again, it ruins the whole point of the feature.

WhatsApp has also made it clear that you can forward disappearing messages to chats. Unfortunately, the message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat. In other words, you can simply forward each message to another chat to bypass disappearing messages. Perhaps the only advantage of disappearing messages is that it will get automatically deleted in case the user creates a chat backup and attempts to restore it after the message expiry period.

Once available, you can enable disappearing messages on both personal chats and group chats (if you’re the group admin). For personal chats, open the chat, tap on the contact’s name, and choose ‘Disappearing messages’. You will then have to tap on ‘Continue’ if prompted and choose ‘On’. For group chats, open the group chat, tap on the group name, and choose ‘Disappearing messages’ -> Continue -> On.

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