WhatsApp announces 24-hour timer for disappearing messages and other new features

WhatsApp has announced that it is making some changes to its services to improve access for the more than two billion users communicating via the app. The first major change is linked to the level of security, a factor that is of great importance to most users. From now on, backup copies of the history and files that each user saves in their clouds will be encrypted and password protected. This new feature will be available for both iOS and Android and should be implemented in the coming months.

Another major difference users will notice is whether the files are ephemeral or not. This means that the current option of sending messages that last seven days will now be valid for 24 hours. At the end of that time messages scheduled with this feature will be deleted. Each user will be able to set this type of message for each individual or group conversation. It is not yet known when the option will be available.

It will also be possible to send photos that the recipient can only open once. As it already happens in Instagram, there will be an option that allows sending this type of images so what the recipient gets is a distorted icon of the photo telling them to click to view. When they do, they will see the image only once without being able to look at it again.

Contrary to time limited messages, WhatsApp will not allow these photos to be screenshot, forwarded or saved to the smartphone. The idea is that they are seen once and disappear when you exit the window.

WhatsApp will now be available on multiple devices at the same time, with a maximum of four. A great advantage is that users will no longer need to have their smartphone turned on to access the app on your computer. The app will now allow you to listen to audios in an accelerated manner, as it is already the case with Telegram. This is especially relevant for audios longer than five minutes and is aimed at speeding up the part of listening to the voice note and replying, while users work on other tasks.

The company did not give a specific date for when the new features will be available but is is expected that they will be released soon as testing has been conducted since the summer of 2020.


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