For More Privacy, Use These Apps Instead of the New Disappearing WhatsApp Messages

The long-awaited WhatsApp disappearing messages feature will soon be available to all users , but before using it, you should make sure you understand how this feature works.

Disappearing messages add an extra layer of privacy to your conversations. Let’s say you want someone to know their home address, but you don’t want that information to always be available in your chat history. Submit the address as a disappearing message and it will self-destruct after a given time.

The appeal of disappearing messages is obvious, but it looks like disappearing WhatsApp messages will be less secure than similar features found in other apps.

Based on the company’s explanation of how the feature will work on its platform, the disappearing messages will remain for seven days. You cannot edit this window, which can be frustrating for users hoping for a configurable self-deletion time, which is found in many other messaging applications.

Seven days is a long time for potentially sensitive information to be in the message thread. Even worse, these messages are potentially available even after those seven days if:

  • The message preview is still displayed on the device notification screen.
  • Post quoted / answered.
  • The message is forwarded to other topics or chat groups.
  • The recipient takes a screenshot before deleting it.

The media sent via disappearing messages will also be preserved forever and must be manually deleted if you want to delete them.

Disappearing messages apps are better than WhatsApp

In all fairness, disappearing messages can be compromised in other apps, including Signal , but it’s more difficult to do, and few are prone to the WhatsApp loopholes listed above. If you know how disappearing WhatsApp messages work and use them correctly, this feature is okay. However, disappearing WhatsApp messages are not as secure as similar features in other apps. You should look for an alternative if you want more security or more control over disappearing messages.

Signal , Telegram and Viber allow you to configure auto-delete timers for the next message (s) in just a couple of taps. All three apps also have end-to-end encryption and allow you to set media attachments as “view once” so that they are automatically deleted after being opened and viewed. Signal even has a built-in blur tool to make saved images more private.

It’s important to note that you cannot take snapshots of chat topics, and you cannot forward disappearing messages to third parties – unlike WhatsApp, which explicitly lists both possible scenarios in its FAQ .

If you enjoy the overall best security for Signal, Telegram, and Viber, you can learn more about all three in our guide to the best WhatsApp alternatives .

[ Android Authority ]

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