WhatsApp’s Disappearing Messages feature has been quite limited so far — once enabled for a particular conversation or a group, all messages would be deleted automatically after seven days, but with no room for additional customisation, or a default setting for all chats.
Now, Meta has two new improvements that round out the Disappearing Messages feature. First of all, you can now choose a 24-hour or 90-day timeframe for deleting messages. And, more importantly, you can enable Disappearing Messages for all conversations going forward with a single switch. Here’s how both of these features work.
How to automatically delete all new messages in WhatsApp
WhatsApp now lets you set a default message timer for all new messages. Open WhatsApp after updating to the latest version and head over to Settings > Account > Privacy > Default Message Timer.
Here, choose between the “24 Hours,” “7 Days,” or “90 days” timeframe. Once enabled, all new messages will start disappearing after the set time (for both parties). This setting won’t affect existing messages.
We would like to point out that Disappearing Messages is a good security feature, but not a privacy feature. Within that 24 hour span, the messages that you send and receive will still be available. And in that timeframe someone can take a screenshot or forward the message. If you want to send sensitive photos, you’re better off using the View Once feature. We’ve also covered more WhatsApp hidden features in our dedicated guide.
This feature only applies to one-on-one chats. When you create a new group, WhatsApp will ask you if you want to enable the feature for the particular group.
How to change the Disappearing Messages timeframe for WhatsApp conversations
If you don’t want to enable the Disappearing Messages feature for all chats, you can still use them for particular conversations or group chats. Open the conversation and select the name from the top and go to the “Disappearing Messages” section.
From the Message Timer section, you can choose a suitable timeframe (you’ll see the new 24-hour and 90-day options here). Any new messages will now be deleted after the set time.