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(Pocket-lint) - WhatsApp appears to be testing an extension of its disappearing messages feature, with sent items in individual chats potentially in line for an option to expire after 90 days.

The feature was first uncovered by WABetaInfo in the 2.21.17.16 beta update, which shows how the messaging app is considering giving users more timeframes for self-deleting messages. 

Currently, the app's disappearing messages feature only allows users to delete messages after seven days. More recently, it has also been testing for 24-hour messages, and now that's been added to with this three-month option.

These two alternative timeframes aren't yet live, of course, but it's clear that WhatsApp is keen to develop the feature further. And if they do roll out soon to users, as looks likely, we would also imagine the week-long option will remain, giving users a total of three choices.

This would also be added to the recent rollout of 'view once' photos and videos, which disappear after they have been opened by the recipient. As with deleting text-based messages, this feature is really handy for occasions when you want to send a photo of a password, for example, that you don't want to be saved or shared.

Even though these potential features would represent an encouraging step forward for one of the world's most popular messaging clients, however, it's important to remember it still lags quite far behind the likes of Telegram and Signal regarding features for sensitive chats.  

And, as we say, there's no telling when - or even if - WhatsApp will decide to roll this feature out fully to both iOS and Android users. We'll let you know if this one develops further.

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Writing by Conor Allison. Originally published on 19 August 2021.