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WhatsApp: The Snapchat feature is there - so you activate it

Update (November 5th, 2020, 1:00 p.m.): WhatsApp has now started to roll out its new "expiring messages" function gradually worldwide. So it should reach all users during the month. The feature automatically deletes messages in selected chats after seven days. A function that Snapchat has had for years in a similar form.

Original article:

A new feature for WhatsApp is in the starting blocks. With the "expiring messages" you can send time-limited messages to your contacts in the future.

Messages sent remain for seven days before WhatsApp removes them from the history of all participants. If you activate the function, it only affects the messages sent from the moment. Your chat will not be emptied directly.

Other messengers such as Telegram or Signal have offered such a function for a long time. Why WhatsApp limits the time span to one week is not clear. It would also be good if you could have messages automatically deleted after an hour or a month.

This is how you set the new function

The latest update with the "expiring news" function should be published soon. WhatsApp has not yet announced an exact date. But when the feature is published, you can activate it individually for each individual chat. The option that the setting applies automatically to all chats will probably not be available.

To activate it, simply click on the screen name in the WhatsApp chat above and activate the "Expiring messages" option under the settings. If you want to switch on the function for groups, you must have admin rights.

Back up WhatsApp messages anyway

WhatsApp removes the messages from your chats with the new function, but there are still options for preservation. The easiest way is to take screenshots of the respective message history or to copy the entire text. But a backup also saves the messages. These are then only removed when they are uploaded again.

In addition, quoted or forwarded messages can still show the deleted items. The preview of notifications also remains until you open WhatsApp again.

Media are preserved

Media, in turn, are stored on the smartphone by default. With the activation of "Expiring messages" they disappear from the chat history, but the videos and photos can still be found in the corresponding folder. If you do not want this, you can deactivate the automatic download under "Settings" and "Data and memory usage".

However, if you want to keep your storage space low and occasionally clean up your chats, you will get the new Storage Manager in WhatsApp from today. With this, all received data can be viewed, selected and deleted if necessary. This gives you a good overview of what exactly is eating up your storage space on WhatsApp.