WhatsApp’s latest missing messages feature left many users confused. Users wonder what messages disappear, what happens when they use them, and whether the effects are reversible. You may have multiple questions about this new feature and it is natural for you to avoid it until you fully understand it. To help you out, we have compiled a list of important things about the missing messages feature that you need to know while using it in WhatsApp.
For starters, disappearing messages make your messages disappear automatically after 7 days, just like WhatsApp status. Instead of disappearing suddenly or within minutes / hours, these messages disappear after just seven days after activating the feature. There are other finer details that come with this. Let’s check them in detail so you can start using the feature with confidence.
1. Supported platforms and discussions
The Missing Messages feature is available on Android, iOS, and the web version of WhatsApp. So update your respective WhatsApp apps to the latest version if you want to use the feature. For some reason, the desktop version of WhatsApp (for macOS and Windows) doesn’t support it at the moment.
Plus, the feature works for one-on-one chats and WhatsApp groups.
2. Message time period
You can keep the missing messages feature turned on all the time. It is entirely up to you. But from the moment it is activated, messages sent or received in the chat will disappear seven days after they are sent or received. The moment you turn it off, messages sent or received afterwards will continue to stay in conversations.
3. The disappearance of messages is disabled by default.
After you update WhatsApp to the latest version, you will notice that the Missing Messages option is turned off by default. You have to turn it on whenever you want to use it and turn it off manually. No automation is offered to enable or disable the feature.
4. Specific contact or application
The functionality is contact specific. That is, you need to enable the feature separately for each chat and group. When you turn on the Message Disappearance feature for a single conversation, it doesn’t automatically apply to all chats. There is no universal setting to enable disappearance of messages for all conversations.
5. How to activate or deactivate disappearing messages in WhatsApp
Step 1: Launch WhatsApp and open the chat or group in which you want to turn endangered messages on or off.
Note: Only the administrator of the WhatsApp group can enable or disable endangered messages.
2nd step: Tap the contact or group name at the top of the chat. Tap the Missing messages setting.
Step 3: Select On to activate the function and choose Off to deactivate it.
6. Who can control the functionality
The two participants in a one-on-one chat can turn the disappearing messages feature on or off at any time. So if you turn it on, the other person can turn it off.
When it comes to WhatsApp groups, only group admins can turn the feature on or off. WhatsApp will notify group participants when the disappear messages feature is on or off. Other participants will not see the option to Disappear messages in the group settings.
7. What happens to old WhatsApp messages
Messages sent or received before missing messages for a particular chat were activated are not affected. Likewise, nothing happens to the messages you send or receive after the feature is disabled. So no need to worry about your old messages.
8. Messages that disappear display a screenshot notification
Snapchat and Vanish Mode in Facebook Messenger and Instagram notify attendees when someone takes a screenshot. However, WhatsApp does not notify if a participant takes a screenshot when disappearance messages are enabled. You should therefore only use this feature with people you trust.
Point: Does WhatsApp notify you when you take screenshots of the status? Find the answer.
9. How to know if disappearing messages are activated in a chat
When someone activates the disappear messages feature in a chat, WhatsApp sends an alert “
If you miss the alert message and don’t know whether the feature is enabled or not, there is another way. Look for the clock sign next to the contact’s profile picture in the chat. If the clock icon is visible, it means that disappearance messages are activated. When the clock icon is not there, disappearance messages are disabled.
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10. Quoted or forwarded messages will remain active.
There are some flaws in the Message Disappearance feature that you should be aware of. If you quote a message when the Messages Disappear feature is enabled, the quoted message will still be visible after seven days. Even if the actual message will be deleted, but the quoted text can remain. The same rule also applies to the Delete for Everyone feature in WhatsApp.
Likewise, if a chat text of missing messages is forwarded to another contact, the message will be available even after 7 days. This means that the original message of the conversation with disappearing messages will be deleted. However, the same message forwarded to a chat with the feature disabled will continue to exist.
11. The preview message in the notification can be seen
Suppose you are away from your phone, or you don’t check WhatsApp for a few days or a week. In the meantime, your friend activates the Missing Messages feature in a conversation with you and sends a bunch of messages. Now if you check these messages in WhatsApp after a week, you will not see these messages. However, you will be able to see the preview of the same messages in the notification panel – provided you have not cleared the WhatsApp message notifications from your phone. So you need to be very careful when using the feature.
12. Saving disappeared messages
All messages, even those that go missing, are part of WhatsApp backup, whether you take them manually or schedule them. However, when you restore said backup after a week or more, the Disappearing messages will not be restored. Yes, even if you back up the disappearing messages, they will be deleted from a backup that you restore after 7 days.
13. What happens to the media in messages that disappear?
You can send photos, videos, GIFs, documents, etc. in WhatsApp chats. Usually, when you receive media files in WhatsApp, they are automatically downloaded to your phone storage unless automatic download is disabled.
So, when disappearance messages are activated, media sent or received during this period will disappear from WhatsApp chat. But if automatic download is turned on or if you have manually downloaded the media to your phone memory, it will stay on your phone. You can access it from the gallery or the file manager apps. You can turn off automatic media download in WhatsApp by going to WhatsApp Settings> Storage & Data.
In the Automatic Media Download section, turn off various forms of media. On iPhone, go to WhatsApp Settings> Chats. Turn off the switch next to Save to Camera Roll.
Use messages that disappear with people you trust
Now that you know everything you need to know about missing messages, you should only use them with people you trust. You can still use it for fun with anyone, but remember that anyone can take a screenshot of the chat or copy and save the messages to another app. The Disappearing message can even be transmitted. While it is safe to use, don’t trust it blindly.
Are you planning to uninstall WhatsApp? Click on the following link to find out what happens to your contacts and chats when you uninstall WhatsApp from your phone.
Last updated on Nov 20, 2020
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