Signal Adds Default Timer to Disappearing Messages

Choose how long before it disappears for good

Signal is giving users more control over disappearing messages within the app, thanks to new updates. 

The popular messaging app that allows encrypted chats is now letting users turn on a default timer for disappearing messages, according to TechCrunch. In a blog post published by Signal on Tuesday, the company said the disappearing messaging setting automatically will apply to any new conversations. 

Signal logo

Getty Images/Chesnot

Before the update, Signal users only could enable disappearing messages per conversation, but the new policy allows you to control any future disappearing messages. 

Signal does note that, like with other disappearing content (such as Snapchat and Instagram stories), people always can screenshot it. But the company said the primary benefits to disappearing messages come when someone steals or hacks your device. 

“This is not for situations where your contact is your adversary—after all, if someone who receives a disappearing message really wants a record of it, they can always use another camera to take a photo of the screen before the message disappears,” Signal wrote in its blog post. 

“However, this is a nice way to automatically save storage space on your devices and limit the amount of conversation history that remains on your device if you should find yourself physically separated from it.”

Users also have more control over how long the messages last before they permanently disappear. TechCrunch noted that you can choose a message to last anywhere from one second to up to four weeks before it disappears. 

"... the primary benefits to disappearing messages are if someone steals or hacks your device."

Finally, users also can use the disappearing message timer for Signal’s Note To Self feature, so users’ personal notes also can disappear for extra privacy. 

Signal already has privacy built into the app, since it uses end-to-end encryption to send texts, phone calls, videos, files, video phone calls, and your location. As of January, Signal had approximately 40 million monthly active users.

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