WhatsApp is seen working on a new feature called Expiring Media that would make media files such as images, videos, and GIFs sent to the recipient’s phone disappear once the recipient leaves the chat. The new development appears to be an extension to the Expiring Messages feature that is in the works by the instant messaging app for some time. With Expiring Media, WhatsApp users would be able to send photos and videos on a temporary basis. The new feature is yet to be a part of WhatsApp beta releases.
WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo has shared a few screenshots showing the feature in action. One of the screenshots shows that the feature would be available for access through a dedicated timer button. Users need to tap that button after adding media to their chats. This will enable the expiration for the selected media content, as suggested by another screenshot.
The images and videos shared by enabling the Expiring Media feature will completely disappear once the recipient leaves the chat window, WABetaInfo reports. Also, WhatsApp would highlight such media files with a timer icon to let the recipient know that the shared files will expire after they leave the chat.
WABetaInfo mentions that the new feature is in development for Android users at the initial stage, though it would eventually be provided to both Android and iPhone users.
The Expiring Media feature of WhatsApp seems quite similar to how Instagram allows users to send a disappearing photo or video as a direct message on its platform. Instagram also lets users send disappearing media files in group messages. However, WhatsApp is yet to be seen working on a similar experience for group users.
Last month, a WhatsApp beta release for Android (version 184.108.40.206) was spotted carrying some evidence of the Expiring Messages feature that would let users send messages that would disappear from the chat after seven days. A screenshot shared in reference to the development suggested that in addition to chats, media would expire in the chat using the Expiring Messages feature, but some photos or videos might be previously saved before the expiration.
WhatsApp hasn’t provided any details neither about Expiring Messages nor on Expiring Media. Thus, there is no clarity on when the new features would be provided to the users — at least for beta testing.