Messages disappear after seven days
The content that disappears after seven days includes not only text messages, but also photos and videos. Depending on the setting, media content remains available elsewhere in the app, provided that automatic download is switched on. The delete function only affects content that was sent or received after the feature was activated. Older messages remain unaffected.
When chatting with individual users, the feature can be activated from both sides. WhatsApp warns that all messages will disappear from the message history seven days after they have been sent. In the case of group chats, however, only the respective administrators have the option to activate the function.
Details about the new feature
WhatsApp mentioned in the accompanying FAQ section also some details that are relevant for a certain usage behavior For example, if users don’t open the app within seven days, the unread message disappears – regardless of whether it has been read in the meantime. The notification on the notification view of iOS remains until the user opens WhatsApp again. If the message to be deleted is forwarded to a chat that has not activated the function, it is permanently present there. With backups, the messages are retained until users restore WhatsApp from the backup.
The feature is currently being distributed in batches for iPhones and Android smartphones. Accordingly, it may take a few days before all users can access it. WhatsApp also warns against relying too much on the function of protecting against permanently stored content. There is still an option to save media files locally before the week is up. There are also screenshots or content copied into other text apps in order to bypass the time limit.