WhatsApp stops saving media to iPhones when disappearing messages are enabled

WhatsApp message thread on iPhone X
WhatsApp message thread on iPhone X (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz/iMore)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp is changing how it handles media in chats with disappearing messages enabled.
  • Media received in chats with disappearing messages enabled will no longer be automatically saved.
  • The new change is rolling out to everyone over the next 24 hours.

WhatsApp is making big changes to the way it automatically saves media to the Photos app when they're received in a chat with disappearing messages enabled. Basically, it isn't going to do it anymore.

In a new change that is rolling out to WhatsApp users of both the latest beta build and the version that is available in the App Store, media saving will be disabled by default for chats with disappearing messages turned on. The change was spotted by WABetaInfo and is one that will surely help improve the privacy of WhatsApp users — especially those who are so concerned that they use disappearing messages in the first place.

While WhatsApp will no longer automatically save media to the Photos app, the report does note that screenshots can still be taken Media can also be manually saved via the WhatsApp app — the only difference via this change is that the saving won't happen automatically anymore.

The change is now rolling out to both iOS and Android users, the report says. Expect it to kick in for everyone in the coming days.

Whatsapp Disappearing Messages Auto Saving

Whatsapp Disappearing Messages Auto Saving (Image credit: WABetaInfo)

As you can see in this screenshot, WhatsApp is now automatically turning off the option "media visibility" for disappearing chats on WhatsApp for Android, which let people view media in their phone's gallery. This is to ensure a better privacy experience when using disappearing messages and to help keep media more private in disappearing chat threads. In addition, WhatsApp is rolling out the same change on WhatsApp for iOS, where the option "Save to Camera Roll" is automatically turned off for disappearing chats.

The change will impact photos, GIFs, and videos.

WhatsApp is one of the best iPhone apps at what it does and the inclusion of disappearing messages is one of the reasons people use the app in the first place. Having media automatically saved to the device it's received on never really made sense and this change is surely one that will be welcomed by many.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.