WhatsApp is working on a new feature called “Delete Messages” that allows users to configure their messages to self-destruct after a defined period of time.
Self-destructing messages have been around for a long time in WhatsApp rival Telegram, and they can be enabled in private chats on both iOS and Android. Telegram also comes with a series of extras in private chats, including screenshot warnings.
WhatsApp, however, will presumably enable the self-destructing messages in regular conversations, and WABetaInfo claims this feature is already live in beta version 2.19.348 for Android. Simply called Delete Messages, it can be enabled from the contact info screen, but it’s also offered for groups, albeit only administrators can turn it on in this case.
WhatsApp’s self-destructing messages will come with several pre-defined values, namely 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, and 1 year. Support for custom times doesn’t seem to be planned just yet, but such capabilities are missing from Telegram as well.
Still in beta testing
It goes without saying that Delete Messages isn’t ready just yet, and it could take a while until it goes live in the public versions of WhatsApp.
By the looks of things, the feature is already in an advanced development stage, as it even supports the dark mode in the app. A dark theme for WhatsApp is yet to be launched publicly, so there’s a chance that they both could land together as part of the same update.
WhatsApp has so far remained tight-lipped on plans for these updates, so I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if the release is pushed back overnight in case something doesn’t work as expected.
Meanwhile, you can try out the self-destructing messages by registering for the beta program of WhatsApp, albeit as the cited source mentions, there are only limited seats available, and right now, the registration is closed.