WHATSAPP is working on a way to let you save messages that were going to disappear.
The huge change is being developed right now – but details have been leaked online.
The clever trick would work with automatically-deleting WhatsApp messages.
And it would let users exempt certain texts so that they don't vanish – an important WhatsApp warning.
The feature was uncovered by the sleuths at WABetaInfo, who regularly mine WhatsApp for upcoming changes.
"When someone keeps a disappearing message, it is saved forever for all people that take part of the conversation," WABetaInfo explained.
"But anyone can decide to restore its expiration by unkeeping it and nobody will be able to save it again."
These saved disappearing messages will be stored in a special area inside the app called Kept Messages.
The feature is currently being developed for the WhatsApp beta test version of the app.
In that version, it's only possible for group admins to keep or upkeep messages within groups.
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"There may be an additional group option that lets group admins manage this setting in the future, but this is only our personal guess," WABetaInfo noted.
If you want to try new WhatsApp features first, follow our guide below.
How to get WhatsApp beta
To download WhatsApp beta for your smartphone you need to go to Google Play on your Android and search for WhatsApp.
Scroll down the page until you see "Become a Beta Tester".
Tap the "I'm In" button and then click "Join" to confirm.
Now all you have to do is wait for the update to the beta version of the app.
Joining the WhatsApp beta on iOS for iPhone is more difficult, and has limited capacity.
Follow Apple’s guide here.
How to send WhatsApp disappearing messages
So how to do you activate WhatsApp disappearing messages today?
Open your app on mobile and then go into Settings > Account > Privacy.
Look for Disappearing Messages and then set the toggle to the On position.
Then choose a time period for messages to disappear – 24 hours, 7 days or 90 days.
A message will appear in the chat confirming that Disappearing Messages has been turned on.
To enable it on an existing chat, you need to archive and then unarchive it first.
You can also enable Disappearing Messages on specific chats by tapping into the individual settings of a WhatsApp contact.
The system isn't fool-proof, of course.
If someone screenshots or records your chat, there's no way to remove that content from their phone using an official WhatsApp feature.
As always, the best way to keep embarrassing or regrettable content off the internet is to not post it in the first place.
But if you're particularly worried, using Disappearing Messages is a great system to use.
Remember: only texts sent after you activate Disappearing Messages will be deleted. It won't go back in time and scrub old missives for you.
Texts also won't be deleted in other chats that they've been forwarded to.
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And Disappearing Messages will still be stored in a recipient's back-up – but will be deleted when that user restores from the back-up.
Message quoting may also cause text to remain in a chat, even though the original message has been deleted.
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