How to Use WhatsApp Disappearing Messages

Set messages to disappear after a specific amount of time

What to Know

  • Open a message and select the contact’s name > Disappearing messages > Continue.
  • Choose a duration or tap Try a default message timer to enable disappearing messages for all chats.
  • Alternatively, go to the three-dot menu > Settings > Account > Privacy > Default message timer.

This article explains how to use WhatsApp's disappearing messages feature. The instructions apply to the app for iOS and Android and the web browser version of WhatsApp.

How Do I Enable WhatsApp Disappearing Messages?

To turn on disappearing messages for an individual chat or all future chats:

  1. Open a message and tap the contact’s name at the top.

  2. Tap Disappearing messages.

  3. Tap Continue.

    What'sApp screen with Contact name, Disappearing messages, and Continue highlighted
  4. Choose when you want messages to disappear from the current conversation, or tap Try a default message timer to enable disappearing messages for all chats.

    Try a default message timer and 24 hours highlighted in WhatsApp Disappearing messages settings

    You can also turn on disappearing messages for all chats by going to the three-dot menu > Settings > Account > Privacy > Default message timer.

How to Disable Disappearing Messages on WhatsApp

To turn off disappearing messages, follow the steps above to bring up the Disappearing Messages screen and tap Off. Tap Try a default message timer, then tap Off to disable disappearing messages for all messages.

Disappearing messages and Off highlighted in WhatsApp

Turn on Disappearing Messages in WhatsApp for Web Browsers

If you set up WhatsApp on your computer, you can enable disappearing messages in the web browser version of WhatsApp:

  1. Go to WhatsApp on the web and select a conversation on the left side.

    A conversation highlighted in WhatsApp on the web
  2. Select the contact's name at the top.

    Contact's name highlighted at the top of WhatsApp
  3. In the window that pops up on the right, scroll down and select Disappearing Messages.

    Disappearing Messages in WhatsApp on the web
  4. Select On, then select the back arrow next to Disappearing Messages to go back.

    On under Disappearing Messages and back arrow highlighted in WhatsApp on the web
  5. A notification will appear letting you know that messages will expire in 7 days. Select the X next to Contact Info to close the window.

    WhatsApp on the web doesn't allow you to set a custom time for messages to expire.

    Disappearing Messages notification and Close (X) highlighted in WhatsApp on the web

What Happens With Disappearing Messages on WhatsApp?

All messages you send or receive in the conversion will vanish after the chosen duration when you enable disappearing messages. If the recipient doesn't open the message within the designated time, it will disappear before they get a chance to see it. However, they might still see a message preview in their notifications.

If you forward, quote, or reply to a disappearing message, it may remain visible in the conversation. If you back up your chats, WhatsApp will save the message, but it will disappear as soon as you restore it from the backup. Of course, the recipient can always take a screenshot of your message and save it, so the disappearing messages feature isn't foolproof.

How Long Do Disappearing Messages Last on WhatsApp?

You can set messages to disappear after a day, a week, or 90 days. The setting only applies to messages you send after enabling the disappearing messages feature, so older messages will not disappear.

Can Someone See If I Turn On Disappearing Messages on WhatsApp?

All parties in the conversation get notifications when someone turns on disappearing messages, and a clock icon appears next to the person's profile. In a WhatsApp group chat, anyone can enable or disable disappearing messages, but a group admin can change the settings so only they can control the feature.

  • How do I delete a WhatsApp message?

    To delete a WhatsApp message that you sent, find the message and press your finger to it until the extra options dialog menu appears. Tap Delete > Trash > Delete for Everyone. To delete a received message, hold your finger on the message and tap Delete > Delete for Me.

  • How do I restore WhatsApp messages?

    To restore WhatsApp messages, ensure you’ve made a backup of your WhatsApp account, your account and device use the same phone number, and that the account and device have the same iCloud or Google Drive account. Delete WhatsApp from your device, and then re-download it to the current device or a new device. Launch WhatsApp, follow the setup prompts, and tap Restore History > Next.

  • How do I find archived messages on WhatsApp?

    On an iPhone, tap Chats. If you're in a conversation, tap the back button. Swipe down the middle of the screen to open Archived Chats and view a list of your archived conversations. On an Android, scroll to the bottom of your Chat inbox to view your archived conversations.

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