How to send automatically expired messages
Lots of mystery and spy movies are based on the premise that you can destroy messages you send yourself, but you don't have to be an international secret agent to do the same with your own texts.
Of course, the most popular chat apps now include some sort of outgoing messaging feature - which means if you do not want a permanent record of the conversation you do not have to. In fact, Signal encrypted messaging app made the messaging feature gone.
While it's useful to have chat archives to look back for sentimental and practical reasons (recipes, addresses, instructions, and more), there are other times when you may not want to save anything. Here's what you do.
There's a caveat here for all of these apps, as the people you communicate with can take screenshots of what you said - or, if a screenshot is blocked, they can take a picture taken off the screen with another device. Some promise to let you know if your messages have been removed or downloaded, but there is always a workflow. That's something to keep in mind when choosing who to talk to and how much to share.
Update, December 2021: Updated instructions for Signal, Snapchat, and Messenger (formerly Facebook Messenger.)
Signal's Disable Messaging feature is an option for all your conversations, and is now available by default or by individual conversation: You can switch between existing messages disappears and permanent messages at any time in any thread. To do this, tap on the banner above in any thread, and then select Deleting messages.
You can select anywhere from one second to four weeks for your messages to be held around after they have been viewed (or select Off to turn off the feature). You can even set a default timer - you can tell a message is gone in 60 seconds. A warning will appear in the chat when you change this setting, and anything you remove from there will follow the rules you set.
To set a default end time for messages in all your battles, open the app's main options page and select Privacy and Basic time for new chairs (fo Deleting messages). This applies to all conversations you have started since then, not all existing conversations on your phone.
WhatsApp obsolete messages only work with images and videos instead of text, for now. The recipient has 14 days to see whatever you have sent them, and it will leave as soon as it is seen.
From inside WhatsApp, open the conversation you want to send the photo or video to, tap the camera icon at the bottom, and then capture your content. You will see a small image showing a 1 in a circle, next to the add image - tap on this to make your message disappear image or video.
You can insert a caption with the image or clip, which disappears with it. Once you have added anything, you will not see it from your end: You will only see a Picture or Video in the chat thread, with the small image 1 next to it. The text will change to Open once it is viewed.
Snapchat did not create outgoing messages, but it certainly helped them become popular. Get to the Chat tab by clicking on the second icon at the bottom left of the screen. From the main screen of your chat list, you can contact any contact to start a conversation, or tap on the shape icon (bottom right) if the person you want to talk to is not on the screen.
Anything in the thread, including text and images, will disappear after being seen. Any party to a one - to - one conversation can choose to save something permanently by clicking and holding it - but you can see if this happens because it stays on the screen.