WhatsApp tests disappearing text messages on iPhone. The feature appeared in the latest update sent to beta testers. Previously, the new feature – a big twist on messaging on the platform – was only available on Android.
After the beta testers gave their thumbs up, WhatsApp is bundling the new function in an update for iPhone and Android users worldwide. WhatsApp, which is part of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, is the world’s most popular messaging service with more than two billion users. Hence, it tends to be slow when introducing new features.
The latest version would allow WhatsApp users to send a photo or video clip that would disappear once viewed. After that, recipients will no longer be able to return the photo or video.
While WhatsApp already offers disappearing messages, these delete themselves after seven days. Of course, it is also possible to delete an SMS, photo or video from a chat after it has been viewed by long-pressing the message and the Select the option “Delete for all”. However, WhatsApp only allows users to request deletion an hour after sending the first message.
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Also, keep in mind that recipients using WhatsApp on iOS may still have media you sent saved in their photos even after the message is deleted from WhatsApp chat. And there is no guarantee that the intended recipient has ever seen the message before it was removed, replaced by a small notification in the chat that says, “This message has been deleted”. When you send a photo to a busy group chat, some users may have almost an hour to read the text while others may miss it.
That is a scenario that the new disappearing messages from WhatsApp will fix. As the sender, you will be notified when your photo or video has been viewed and automatically deleted from the conversation.
“Send photos and videos that can only be viewed once,” announces a pop-up that introduces the new feature in the latest beta on the iPhone, “For more privacy, your photo or video will disappear from the chat after the recipient opened it once. Remember, people can always take screenshots. “
Snapchat, the pioneer of this type of ephemeral message, sends a warning to the sender when the recipient takes a screenshot of a temporary image in their app. It seems that WhatsApp doesn’t offer the same level of protection, but it’s nice that it warns users of the possibility that their disappearing pictures and videos won’t go as completely as they’d like.
WhatsApp has really pushed its privacy features forward over the past few months. In a new advertising campaign that includes print media, online and TV commercials, Facebook’s own platform is highlighting its end-to-end encryption. We need to see if the ability to send disappearing messages makes it into a future ad.