WhatsApp tests a new “Expiring Media” feature for self-destructing images, videos, and GIFs
Facebook-owned messenger WhatsApp has been testing a new expiring messages feature for the last couple of months. Evidence related to the feature first popped up earlier this year in March and we learned that the feature would allow users to send messages on the platform with a predefined expiration time. Then, in July, WhatsApp started testing the feature in version 126.96.36.199 beta and introduced some UI improvements that replaced the expiration time options with a universal seven-day timer. While the feature is yet to make its way to the stable channel, WhatsApp has now started testing a similar expiring media option on Android.
According to a recent report from WABetaInfo, WhatsApp just released version 188.8.131.52 beta on Android and the latest release includes evidence of the new expiring media feature. The feature, much like the expiring messages feature, will allow users to send expiring media (images, videos and GIFs) that will disappear automatically once the recipient leaves the chat.
As you can see in the attached screenshots, WhatsApp will allow users to send expiring media by tapping on a new timer button on the media sharing screen. The button will turn green when tapped, letting the users know that the media they’re about to share will expire automatically.
Unlike expiring messages, however, media shared using this new feature won’t have a set timer for expiration and it will become unavailable as soon as the recipient leaves the chat. The expiring media won’t be replaced with a message like “This media has expired” either, leaving no trace whatsoever. It’s also worth noting that the UI for expiring media won’t be the same as that of regular media files, which will make it easier for users to understand that the file will expire after it’s viewed.
As of now, there’s no evidence to suggest that WhatsApp will be including a screenshot detection feature for expiring media. However, that may be a necessity otherwise recipients will be able to easily take a screenshot of expiring media for later use. Since the feature is currently in development, WhatsApp may add such an option in a future release. Currently, WhatsApp has released no official information about the expiring media feature and we have no info regarding a release timeline. We’ll update this post as soon as we learn more about the feature.