WhatsApp is rolling out a new update that makes disappearing messages more useful for privacy. Following this update, users will not be able to automatically download photos and videos sent in WhatsApp conversations with disappearing messages enabled. The Meta-owned messaging app has been testing this change since at least February this year.
WhatsApp makes disappearing messages more useful
You probably already know about the disappearing messages feature in WhatsApp. This feature lets you send messages that automatically disappear from chats after a pre-selected duration. You can set messages to disappear after 24 hours, seven days, or three months (90 days). The feature is available in both individual and group conversations and applies to the whole conversation rather than per message. It adds a layer of privacy to your conversations.
However, all this while, WhatsApp allowed users to automatically download media sent as disappearing messages. Of course, it requires you to turn on media auto-download. But if you have the setting on, photos, videos, and other media that you have selected are automatically downloaded and saved to your device. These files remain intact even after the message has disappeared from WhatsApp chat. To some extent, this beats the purpose of the feature.
WhatsApp is now setting things right with the latest update. If the disappearing messages feature is turned on for a conversation, any media sent to it will not be automatically downloaded to the recipient’s device. This is regardless of whether they have media auto-download turned on. This improves the privacy aspect of the feature.
Of course, users can still download those photos and videos manually. But the whole process is now more cumbersome and takes a lot of effort. You have to download each file individually.
Note that WhatsApp also offers a feature called “view once” that deletes the photo or video that you have sent as soon as the other person sees it once. It’s a better alternative to disappearing messages if you don’t want them to be able to save the media you sent to their device.
This update is now rolling out widely
The latest update for WhatsApp is now rolling out on Android and iOS globally. According to WABetaInfo, who first reported about this update, the changes should be live for everyone within a day or two. You can click the button below to download the latest version of WhatsApp for Android from the Google Play Store.