WhatsApp 101
YOU South Africa|3 December 2020
Here’s how to make messages automatically disappear – and a handy guide to some other nifty features
Kim Abrahams

You know something has pretty much become an essential part of life when it becomes a verb. And these days you’re quite likely to hear “WhatsApp me” instead of “send me a WhatsApp message”, cementing the messaging app’s status as a tech must-have.

About two billion users send about 100 billion messages daily on WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook.

That’s a lot of messages and WhatsApp’s latest nifty feature is partially aimed at reducing the number of missives that remain on your phone.

Messages sent using the new “disappearing message” feature will disappear after seven days. Rivals like Snapchat have long had this feature and the company says it’s designed to make chats feel more natural.

“Our goal is to make conversations on WhatsApp feel as close to in-person as possible, which means they shouldn’t have to stick around forever,” the company wrote in a blog post ahead of the launch.

Here’s a look at the nifty new feature – plus plenty of others you may not have known about.

DISAPPEARING MESSAGES

Find the person you want to chat to and tap on their name at the top of the screen.

Scroll down and select the Disappearing messages option and select On. A clock icon will appear next to each contact’s profile picture.

You’ll need to do it with individual contacts if you want it for more than one person.

If you back up messages in services like iCloud or Google Drive, the messages will back up there.

The same applies if your phone automatically saves media to the camera roll. Change this on Android by going to Settings>Chats and disable media visibility. On an iPhone, follow the same steps and turn off Save to Camera Roll.

HOW TO DELETE A MESSAGE

If you’ve sent a message by mistake or changed your mind about sending it, you have about an hour to delete it for everyone before it becomes permanent in the chat. It used to be seven minutes but is now just over an hour.

Tap and hold the message you want to delete for a few seconds. A bin icon will appear at the top of the screen. Click the Delete for Everyone option.

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