WhatsApp tightens chat security in privacy update

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WhatsApp has introduced a new privacy feature that will provide users with more control to enable their messages to disappear for all new chats by default.

This will give users three options: to have their messages disappear after 24 hours, 90 days or the existing option of seven days.

In a blog post, WhatsApp says for people who choose to switch on default disappearing messages, a message will be displayed in their chats to inform users of the default they’ve selected.

However, the new feature doesn’t stop users from storing their WhatsApp messages elsewhere outside the app. It only automatically deletes the messages from WhatsApp at the end of the selected time period.

“WhatsApp users will now have the option to turn on disappearing messages by default for all new chats. When enabled, all new one-on-one chats you or another person start will be set to disappear at your chosen duration, and we've added a new option when creating a group chat that lets you turn it on for groups you create. This new feature is optional and does not change or delete any of your existing chats,” says the message service in the blog.

WhatsApp is also working on a feature that will provide users with the ability to move their WhatsApp history from iOS to Android.

This will happen without their messages being sent to WhatsApp in the process and includes voice messages, photos and videos, it says.

“One of the most requested features we’ve had is to make it possible to transfer chat history from one operating system to another when switching phones. We’ve been hard at work with operating system and device manufacturers to build it in a secure and reliable way. When you set up a new device, you’ll be provided with the option to securely transfer your chats from your old device to your new one. This process will require a USB-C to lightning cable.”

To start, this feature will be available on any Samsung device running Android 10 or higher, and will be available on more devices soon, notes WhatsApp.

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