A new WhatsApp update will allow users to delete an image, video or gif on someone else’s phone after sending it to them.
The Expiring Media feature, first spotted by the website WaBetaInfo, causes media to disappear after being viewed within a chat.
In order to enable the feature, the sender needs to select a “view once” button when sending the image, video or gif.
When it appears on the recipients phone, it is only visible while they are in the chat.
When they go to leave the chat, a message appears that states: “This media will disappear once you leave this chat.”
If they return to the chat, a bubble pops up that says: “View once photo expired.”
The feature is still under development as part of the WhatsApp beta for Android 2.20.2011 version of the messaging app.
It is not yet clear when the public release date will be, though new features are usually tested on a limited scale for several months before rolling out to all users.
With more than 2 billion monthly active users globally, WhatsApp is by far the most popular messaging app in the world.
It means introducing a new feature or update to the Facebook-owned app can be time-consuming and risky if bugs are not ironed out effectively.
Such updates are necessary, however, to keep WhatsApp ahead – or at least level – with its competition.
Disappearing messages are already supported by other messaging apps, having been pioneered by Snapchat in 2011.
Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, also allows users to send disappearing messages through direct messages on its platform.
These features are developed in such a way that users are unable to take a screenshot of the media in order to save the image to their phone or device.
WhatsApp typically does not comment on unreleased features but The Independent has reached out to see when a release date may be expected for the Expiring Media feature.
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