WhatsApp could add self-destruct to group chats

Like disappearing messages weren’t enough

We count WhatsApp among the most popular encrypted messaging services, mostly because of parent company Meta's constant efforts to add new features. Some features like linked devices leave a lot to be desired, but other recent additions like disappearing messages work well and with little fuss. WhatsApp could soon expand its array of ephemeral messaging options to group chats which disappear after a specified duration.

Presently, self-destructing messaging options on WhatsApp include disappearing messages, view-once media, and status updates. The latest TestFlight beta update for WhatsApp on iPhone (v2.23.5.71) fixes a few bugs, but also allowed WABetaInfo to uncover a new work-in-progress feature — support for ephemeral group chats. Tentatively labeled Expiring groups, the feature dissolves a group once a pre-determined expiration date is reached.

Screenshots for the feature on iPhone reveal options to self-destruct the expiring group in a day, a week, or on a custom expiration date. An option to remove the predetermined expiration date is available as well. The prompt explains the group won't vanish, but participants will be "prompted to clean up groups on the expiration date." It's unclear what that means and exactly how Expiring groups will work, but if this feature rolls out on iPhone, we are confident it will eventually trickle down to the Android version of the app.

In theory, we see a lot of uses for ephemeral group chats. It could be a boon for event organizers, group travel plans, short-term workshop participants, and online medical consultations. A WhatsApp group is desirable in a lot of situations, but it would be amazing if the conversation vanished after serving its purpose for a specific duration. This feature could spell the end of message clutter and your lingering participation in redundant groups, which you often need to exit manually.

Self-destructing groups are still in the works on iOS, and it could be some time before we see the implementation on Android, but we will follow this feature's development closely.

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