WhatsApp announced it is rolling out the new disappearing messages feature that has been in the news for some time off late. The feature, as is already perceptible, will make the messages disappear after a fixed time frame, which is set to seven days at the moment.

This will be in contrast to the present norm where messages exchanged with others remains etched forever. However, as the company stated, while that is great and adds to our memories, not all messages need to be saved for an entire lifetime, or maybe more.

For instance, the address shared with the local business or messages exchanged with someone with whom you did a transaction need not be there on your device forever. Rather, letting them get deleted after some time will help to keep things decluttered and organized. With the non-important messages removed, it is only the important stuff that will be staying with you forever.

WhatsApp though said the feature won’t affect the messages we have shared with others so far. This is going to be applicable only in such instances where the disappearing message option has been turned on. Also, this is going to be applicable to messages that we share with individuals as well as in groups.

In the case of groups, the admin will have the discretion to set the feature on. Once that has been done, the messages shared within the group will have a life span of seven days. WhatsApp said they are starting with a seven days’ time window for the disappearing messages to live, which is quite decent to take note of a message while not being too long for it to be a distraction to users when not needed. Maybe the company will let us decide how long the messages live.

With media, the content will get downloaded to the user’s devices if the auto-download option has been turned on. That way, even if the message gets deleted, the images will remain saved on your device. Also, those keen to keep proof of the disappearing messages can do so by taking a screenshot of the message or taking a picture of it with another phone.

The feature, meanwhile, is going to be available on both Android and iOS devices. That said, it could be sometime before the update becomes available to all anywhere in the world.