The latest WhatsApp beta hints at new Snapchat-like disappearing messages within individual chats and group chats.

[Update 11/05]: After evidence first appeared over a year ago, the disappearing messages feature is now officially rolling out to stable WhatsApp builds. The firm essentially confirmed the move as official support pages for the feature popped up with guides and information on just what you can and can’t do with the new messaging feature:

You can send messages that disappear on WhatsApp by enabling disappearing messages. Once enabled, new messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear after seven days. The most recent selection controls all messages in the chat. This setting won’t affect messages you previously sent or received in the chat. In an individual chat, either user can turn disappearing messages on or off. In a group chat, only group admins can turn disappearing messages on or off.

You will need to set up WhatsApp disappearing messages on a group-by-group or contact-by-contact basis. With messages automatically being deleted after seven days. This is more than long enough to read messages before they eventually are lost. There are some interesting exceptions, such as quoted messages. Message previews may remain beyond seven days if a messages is quoted.

  • If a user doesn’t open WhatsApp in the seven day period, the message will disappear. However, the preview of the message might still be displayed in notifications until WhatsApp is opened.
  • When you reply to a message, the initial message is quoted. If you reply to a disappearing message, the quoted text might remain in the chat after seven days.
  • If a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat with disappearing messages off, the message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat.
  • If a user creates a backup before a message disappears, the disappearing message will be included in the backup. Disappearing messages will be deleted when a user restores from a backup.

It also applies to forwarded messages too, where a forwarded message may not delete after the seven day automatic period is up. Backups will also contain disappearing messages but will be deleted when restored — based up on the initial backup time.

To enable WhatsApp disappearing messages you will need to open a specific chat, tap the contact name, tap “Disappearing Messages” and select “On”. There is a guide to learn more about this new feature here.

Thanks to digging by notorious WhatsApp beta enthusiast WABetaInfo it appears that the Facebook-owned WhatsApp is working on adding disappearing messages to a future build of the cross-platform messaging app.

It’s worth noting that the disappearing messages are not available yet but the devs at WhatsApp look to be working on the feature right now. As you can see from the screenshots below, you’ll eventually have the ability to set timers for when messages self-destruct.

What seems odd, is that you don’t seem to get much choice on whether single messages delete themselves, instead, WhatsApp seems to be setting up for all chats within a thread to be deleted, or none at all. Take the screenshots with a grain of salt though, as the feature is definitely early in development.

Being able to set timers for your messages might be useful and in many ways is similar to the private messaging features built into Snapchat. You’ll be able to set expiration timers for disappearing WhatsApp messages — although 5 seconds and 1 hour are the only options right now. We do wonder if this may develop into a ‘secret chat’ feature like on Telegram.

We don’t know when this feature may hit the full public build of WhatsApp. Considering that many reported features are still not public, you might be in for an extended wait. If you are a fan of the future feature though, let us know in the comments section below.

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: