Many popular messaging platforms today advertised tons of privacy features, including that much-desired but controversial end-to-end encryption or E2EE. While WhatsApp is understood for that feature, it isn’t precisely the first or foremost popular area. Nevertheless, Signal remains among the top-recommended privacy-minded messaging apps, and it’s taking one small step further in ensuring its users have total control over their messages, especially their message history, with some new settings for disappearing messages.
Short messages, also called disappearing or self-destructing messages, go an extended way back, of course, popularized by Snapchat. Signal added that functionality back in 2016 but had diverged from Snapchat‘s implementation in one crucial way. At the same time, brief messages are the default in Snapchat, that they had to be enabled on a per-conversation basis in Signal.
After nearly half a decade, that’s finally changing. With one switch, you’ll set disappearing messages to be the default for conversations. However, it should be noted that the setting will only apply to new conversations or groups after the change was made.
The signal also gives its users the liberty to settle on how long before those messages get deleted from the chat history. Rather than a predefined set of options, you’ll select set the delay to something as short as a couple of seconds to as long as a couple of weeks.
Interestingly, Signal advertises disappearing messages less as a privacy feature and more as a housekeeping tool. It’s primarily designed to save lots of space for storing on a tool. However, it also reduces the danger of exposing private conversations just in case the device gets into the incorrect hands. The signal doesn’t recommend using disappearing messages when communicating with an adversary.