Disappearing (or vanishing/self-destructing) messages are an increasingly common feature in chat apps, but the option was first popularized by Snapchat, which used to be known as the ephemeral messaging app. In this article, we show you how you can send self-destructing messages and other content through some of the most popular chat apps.
- What Are Disappearing Messages?
- How to Send Disappearing Messages in WhatsApp
- How to Send Disappearing Messages in Snapchat
- How to Send Vanishing Messages in Facebook Messenger
- How to Send Disappearing Messages in Instagram
- How to Send Disappearing Messages in Signal
- How to Send Self-Destructing Messages in Telegram
- How to Send Disappearing Messages in Viber
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Disappearing Messages?
If you haven’t heard of disappearing messages before, here’s what they’re all about. They are self-destructing texts, pictures, videos, and other content, such as emoji, that gets removed once the recipient has read them. On some chat apps, they are preserved for a predefined amount of time (for instance, seven days on WhatsApp) before being sent into the void. Disappearing messages are an ideal tool for people who are concerned about the privacy of their text conversations.
How to Send Disappearing Messages in WhatsApp
WhatsApp is one of the most recent apps that added the option to send disappearing messages for both individual and group chats.
Enabling Disappearing Messages on Android
1. Select a chat in WhatsApp and tap on the person’s profile picture.
2. Tap the “i” button to get to the person’s info page.
3. Tap on “Disappearing messages.”
4. Under “Message timer” you’ll see several options for how long you want to keep your messages before deleting them. Take your pick and you’re done!
Alternatively, you can tap “Try a default message timer”, then choose how long to keep all new messages in all chats before they self-destruct.
5. A message will appear in your chat notifying the recipient that disappearing messages are now enabled.
Unlike Snapchat, WhatsApp won’t immediately delete messages but will wait seven days. This is the only option available at this point, but more may be added at a later date.
Enabling Disappearing Messages in iOS
1. Open a chat in WhatsApp on your iPhone/iPad.
2. Tap the contact’s name.
3. Scroll down until you find “Disappearing Messages.”
4. Turn the option on.
5. As of the WhatsApp update in late 2021, you’ll see a new section called “Message Timer” appear, which lets you choose how long WhatsApp will wait before automatically deleting messages in that chat. You can also set a default message timer which will be applied across all your messages in all chats.
5. Once you’ve made your selection, you will see a message explaining that the feature has been activated.
How to Send Disappearing Messages in Snapchat
Snapchat is one of the first apps to offer this feature, and actually built its reputation around it. The next steps apply to anyone using Snapchat on an Android or iOS device.
1. Open Snapchat on your device.
2. Tap on Messages at the bottom.
3. Select one of your Chats.
4. Snapchat already deletes messages by default, but if you want to fiddle with the settings a little, tap on the person’s profile icon in the chat window.
5. Click on the three dots in the upper-right corner.
6. Select “Delete Chats.”
7. Choose an time when you want your chats deleted: “After Viewing” or “24 Hours After Viewing.” You can switch between them as you prefer.
If you want to hold on to a chat, you can. All you need to do is press and hold that particular chat box. Note that Snapchat also removes messages in groups after 24 hours have passed.
How to Send Vanishing Messages in Facebook Messenger
Users who prefer Messenger also have the option to send self-destructing messages. In this app, however, they are called “Vanishing Messages.” Here’s how you can send ephemeral texts if you’re using Messenger for iOS or Android.
1. Open a chat in the Messenger app.
2. Tap on the person’s profile picture at the top.
3. In the Privacy section, tap on “Vanish mode.”
4. Toggle on the feature.
5. A new window welcoming you to “Vanish mode” and giving you a roundup of features should appear on your display.
6. All vanishing messages can be exchanged in a separate window. Press “OK” to continue and start chatting.
Messenger will delete these texts once the two people having the conversation have viewed all messages and left the chat. Note that group chats, video and audio calls don’t support vanishing messages.
How to Send Disappearing Messages in Instagram
You can’t send disappearing texts in Instagram unless you’ve synced your Instagram DMs with Facebook Messenger. Once you do that, the process of enabling “Vanish mode” should be the same as outlined in the section above.
What all users can take advantage of right now is the ability to send self-destructive pictures and videos in one-on-one or group chats. Here’s how you can give it a try yourself using the Android or iOS app.
1. Open a conversation in Instagram.
2. Tap on the blue “Camera” button in the lower left corner.
3. Select the kind of content you want to send. It can be a photo, video, boomerang, etc. You can even type out a text on a colorful background – it’s the closest you can get to sending a disappearing message.
4. Type your text and press Next.
5. At the bottom select “View Once” to have the message self-delete after the other party has opened it. You can also opt to “Allow a Reply” or “Keep in Chat.”
6. Press Send.
How to Send Disappearing Messages in Signal
In Signal you have the option to choose how long you want to keep your ephemeral messages. The privacy-focused chat app is the most generous in this sense. Note that you can set the feature with one-on-one and group chats. Let’s explore how you can turn it on in Android and iOS.
1. Open a chat in Signal.
2. Tap on the person’s profile picture at the top.
3. Tap on “Disappearing messages.”
4. Select the option you prefer and click Save. There’s a wide range to choose from including custom.
5. A message should appear in your chat window stating that the disappearing message timer has been set.
How to Send Self-Destructing Messages in Telegram
Telegram doesn’t have a disappearing message feature, per-se, but users of the app can create a safe-messaging space, which will self-destruct after a certain amount of time has passed. The option works only in single chats. Follow the steps to set up a secret conversation in Android and iOS.
1. Open a chat in the Telegram app.
2. Tap on the other person’s profile picture in the upper part of the display.
3. Click on the three dots in the upper right.
4. Select “Start Secret Chat.”
5. You’ll be asked whether you really wish to start a secret chat. Press “Start.”
6. A new secret conversation window will open that has a self-destructive timer attached to it.
You can access the self-destruct timer for your messages by tapping on the other person’s profile picture again. The interval ranges from one second to one week in Telegram.
How to Send Disappearing Messages in Viber
Viber is a messaging app that’s quite popular outside the United States. It’s super easy to set disappearing messaging if you’re using it on Android or iOS. The option only works for one-on-one chats.
1. Open a chat in Viber.
2. Look at the bottom of the display and find a bar of icons. Locate and tap on the one that looks like an alarm clock.
3. Select the time interval after which you want these messages to self-destruct.
We should note that there is a rise in privacy-focused chat apps like Signal. If privacy is a top priority for you, you may opt to switch to a more secure app. Many of these apps also have a disappearing message feature, so you won’t be missing out on anything important if you decide to jump ship. We’ve listed some of them below.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is the feature available for all messaging apps?
You can’t send disappearing messages with all apps, but the option is being added to more and more chat apps these days. If you want to start sending disappearing messages, check whether your app of choice has them. If not, you can install one of the above.
2. Why can’t I take a screenshot when I am using the feature in certain apps?
Disappearing messages are considered a privacy feature, so apps like Telegram won’t let you screenshot these conversations. That’s not the case for all, though. For example, WhatsApp has no problem allowing you to take a screenshot. Others, like Snapchat, will notify the other party when a screenshot has been taken.
3. Will media files sent in disappearing message chats be deleted?
The depends on the app. For example, WhatsApp will automatically download media files by default. If you have this option enabled, the app will save the content to your phone. Thus, these media files won’t be deleted once the seven days have passed. In other apps, such as Signal, which does not follow this practice, these will be gone for good from the app.
Privacy is an important aspect we all need to think about when using a mobile device. If you’re looking for additional online safety tricks, you may want to check out this list of the best privacy-focused browsers for Android and iOS. At the same time, it could be useful to learn how to make Venmo private for safer online transactions. While it doesn’t support disappearing messages, Google Messages has some other neat safety featuers.
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