‘Disappearing messages’ are rolling out to WhatsApp – here are other features on the way

A number of new features are currently in development for the WhatsApp messaging service, according to insider information and official communications.

This includes the new ‘disappearing messages’ function, which has started rolling out to the beta version of the Android messaging app, allowing users to send messages that expire after a set period of time.

Once enabled through a menu setting, WhatsApp said that messages sent in the individual or group chat will disappear after seven days.

This setting won’t affect messages you previously sent or received in the chat. In an individual chat, either user can turn disappearing messages on or off. In a group chat, only group admins can turn the disappearing messages on or off, WhatsApp said.

  • If a user doesn’t open WhatsApp in the seven day period, the message will disappear. However, the preview of the message might still be displayed in notifications until WhatsApp is opened;
  • When you reply to a message, the initial message is quoted. If you reply to a disappearing message, the quoted text might remain in the chat after seven days;
  • If a disappearing message is forwarded to a chat with disappearing messages off, the message won’t disappear in the forwarded chat;
  • If a user creates a backup before a message disappears, the disappearing message will be included in the backup. Disappearing messages will be deleted when a user restores from a backup.

WhatsApp said that users should still only use disappearing messages with trusted individuals, as there are still ways for the messages to be captured.

Read later

Insider-website WABetaInfo reports that WhatsApp is also working on a new feature called “Read Later”, which will be implemented as a replacement for archived chats.

The new feature is currently being tested on the beta version of WhatsApp for iOS, WABetaInfo reported, and is available to try out through the Apple TestFlight beta programme.

This new Read Later feature will include the new Vacation Mode functionality, which allows you to continue hiding archived chats even when new messages arrive.

Additionally, when a chat is placed into the Read Later section, the user will not receive notifications from that chat. The report stated that the Read Later section will be always visible in the list of WhatsApp chats.

Users can edit the Read Later section to disable the Vacation Mode functionality, enabling notifications for chats stored in this section.

They can also enable or disable the ability to move chats within Read Later and automatically save received media to your camera roll.

Fingerprint security 

The latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android includes a fingerprint security verification feature and a number of bug fixes.

WhatsApp is experimenting with a security feature that will allow users to verify their identity for WhatsApp Web using the fingerprint sensor on their smartphone.

This functionality allows users to create a new WhatsApp Web session and confirm that it is them logging into the platform through the WhatsApp mobile app.

According to the report, this feature is currently under development and will be available in a future update.

Check messages 

WhatsApp has said it will also introduce a new feature to check the validity of messages that have been forwarded many times on the platform.

These messages will appear with a magnifying glass icon next to them, and tapping this icon will open the user’s browser and execute a search, WhatsApp said.

“We’re piloting a simple way to double-check these messages by tapping a magnifying glass button in the chat,” it said. “Providing a simple way to search messages that have been forwarded many times may help people find news results or other sources of information about the content they have received.

“This feature works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself.”

WhatsApp said that the new feature will first be rolled out in phases with Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and the US set to receive the feature first.

The group has previously indicated that it will take steps to clamp down on fake news which is being circulated on its platform.

The company now provides a special forwarded label to messages shared in chats that have been forwarded many times. These two arrows help people know when they’ve received a message that was not written by a close contact, the group said.

It also set limits on how many times they can be sent at once to maintain the private nature of WhatsApp.

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