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WhatsApp rolling out disappearing messages and storage management tool for iOS and Android, new Vacation Mode in testing

WhatsApp is rolling out new disappearing messages and storage management featuares to iOS and Android users. (Image Source: WhatsApp)
WhatsApp is rolling out new disappearing messages and storage management featuares to iOS and Android users. (Image Source: WhatsApp)
WhatsApp is gradually rolling out two new features to iOS and Android users. Disappearing messages brings added privacy to WhatsApp chats by deleting messages automatically within seven days. There's also a new storage management feature that enables deletion of repetitive media in multiple forwarded chats. Future versions of the app may offer a Vacation Mode that does not de-archive chats when new messages arrive.
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While WhatsApp probably has the highest marketshare among all mobile messenger apps in vogue, it is really not on par with competing apps such as Telegram, especially when it comes to privacy and more control over downloadable content in chats. That may change now with a new update to the app that is gradually rolling out to iOS and Android users.

The first feature is called disappearing messages. Enabling disappearing messages in the particular contact's page will cause new messages sent in the chat to disappear after seven days. Messages sent or received before enabling this feature will not be affected.

While disappearing messages is definitely a useful feature, it does have some limitations. For instance, if a local or online backup is taken before the message disappears, it will still be included the backup. However, the message will be deleted once the backup is restored. Messages that are forwarded to others before the deletion period will not disappear in the forwarded chat. Also, messages may still be visible in quoted replies even after the seven day period.

Media will be downloaded to the phone if auto-download option is enabled even though the message itself may disappear in the chat. In view of these limitations, WhatsApp encourages users to enable this feature only with trusted individuals.

The other new feature being introduced a new storage management tool. Available under Settings > Storage and Data > Manage storage, it allows users to easily identify media that have been forwarded multiple times and those that are larger than 5 MB.

Though many custom and OEM ROMs today offer to easily clean the WhatsApp storage folder, this is nevertheless a welcome feature, especially for those using smartphones running stock Android with limited onboard memory and no storage expansion.

New Vacation Mode found in Beta version

WhatsApp is also apparently testing a new feature in the Beta builds (v2.20.199.8). Previously known as "Ignore Archived Chats" and now being christened "Vacation Mode", this upcoming feature is an improvement to the existing chat archiving implementation.

Vacation Mode allows archived chats to remain so and not disturb the user when new messages arrive. Previously, new messages arriving in archived chats would be de-archived if the user responded to them. According to screenshots posted by WABetaInfo, the app informs the user of the new feature with a banner that reads, "Move chats you want to keep muted here" and "Chats with new messages won't return to the main chat list".

It is not clear when Vacation Mode will roll out to the public, but it should not take too long given that it is just an enhancement to an already existing feature.

WhatsApp Beta Vacation Mode banner. (Image Source: WABetaInfo)
WhatsApp Beta Vacation Mode banner. (Image Source: WABetaInfo)
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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1357 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 11 > WhatsApp rolling out disappearing messages and storage management tool for iOS and Android, new Vacation Mode in testing
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2020-11- 4 (Update: 2020-11- 4)