WHATSAPP is rolling out a surprise update that changes settings for millions of users.
It’s a bid to protect your privacy when you’re using disappearing messages.
Late last year, WhatsApp added automatically self-destructing texts.
This is a setting you can turn on to delete texts after a certain period of time.
But if anyone has media auto-saving turned on, photos and videos sent this way will still automatically save to your phone.
That’s awkward from a privacy perspective – so WhatsApp has decided to make a change.
From today, WhatsApp will automatically turn off the “media visibility” option for disappearing chats on Android.
And on iPhone, WhatsApp will turn off “Save to Camera Roll” for disappearing messages by default too.
That means photos, videos and GIFs won’t be automatically saved for disappearing message conversations anymore.
The change was discovered by the WhatsApp sleuths at WABetaInfo.
“This is to ensure a better privacy experience when using disappearing messages,” said WABetaInfo.
“And to help keep media more private in disappearing chat threads.”
Sadly the setting change isn’t foolproof.
It’s still possible to manually save media from disappearing messages.
So if you’re nervous about a disappearing message being retained, consider not sending it in the first place.
The change is rolling out to all users from today.
So if you already have this setting, you won’t notice anything different.
But for everyone else, your settings will automatically default to avoiding media.
All of the Disappearing Messages remain end-to-end encrypted, just like regular WhatsApp missives.
“Living apart from family and friends for over a year has made it clearer than ever that just because we can’t physically talk in person, it doesn’t mean we should have to sacrifice the privacy of our personal connections,” said WhatsApp.
“We believe Disappearing Messages along with end-to-end encryption are two crucial features that define what it means to be a private messaging service today.
“And bring us one step closer to the feeling of an in-person conversation.”
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