WhatsApp is testing disappearing messages for the privacy-conscious

Whatsapp Group Message on iPhone X
Whatsapp Group Message on iPhone X (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz/iMore)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp is testing a new feature that is aimed at the privacy-conscious.
  • Users will be able to configure the app so messages disappear once read.

WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will see messages disappear in an attempt to help ease privacy concerns surrounding the platform.

As reported by WABetaInfo, the feature is currently being tested with those on the WhatsApp TestFlight, with a toggle enabling all future chats to have Disappearing Mode enabled by default.

Whatsapp Disappearing Mode Screenshot

Whatsapp Disappearing Mode Screenshot (Image credit: WABetaInfo)

If you love privacy, disappearing messages is the feature for you. You can enable it within Contact Info and Group Info, but it can happen that you have to manually enable it when a contact starts a new chat with you: for this reason WhatsApp is now developing a new option in WhatsApp Settings > Privacy that will automatically turn on disappearing messages in new chats!

While the report doesn't specifically say that messages will be deleted once read, that's the most logical use for Disappearing Mode and it most closely matches similar features offered by other apps.

As you can read in the screenshot, when the user enables Disappearing Mode, new chats will begin with disappearing messages on. WhatsApp rarely adds new privacy settings, and we hope to see more in this section the next weeks.

There is no telling when this feature will be made available to the world at large, but it's one that a ton of people will no doubt welcome once it does make an appearance.

WhatsApp is hugely popular around the globe thanks to the way it offers encrypted messages. Its ownership by Facebook does make some people uneasy for obvious reasons, however.

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.