WhatsApp is planning to make your group chats self-destruct

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(Image credit: Meta)

The world's favourite messaging app, WhatsApp, keeps adding new features – and the next new addition could help you save some storage on your phone as well as keep your app uncluttered. According to WABetainfo, WhatsApp is currently testing self-destructing message groups in the iOS app. 

That doesn't mean the new feature will be iPhone-only; it's just that the iOS app is the one where the new feature happened to be spotted. It's apparently part of a suite of new features that also includes automatic muting of calls from unknown numbers.

There's no indication of when this feature is likely to arrive in an app update, but if it's currently in testing then clearly it's coming quite soon.

Appetite for self-destruction

The new feature is currently called Expiring Groups, and the expiration applies to the groups rather than particular threads – so for example you might create a group for a specific project, trip or event and then get shot of it completely when the project is finished, the trip is completed or the event is over.

The feature seems to be in its fairly early stages, because while the group will expire on the date you choose it you still seem to have to do the deleting manually: in the version shown by WABetaInfo, as reported by SamMobile, "Although the group will not be deleted, members will be prompted to clean up groups on the expiration date."

It's clearly a work in progress but there are obvious benefits to having such a feature: if you're involved in organising things with other people your WhatsApp can end up pretty packed and taking up a lot of storage space on your iPhone or Android phone. So anything that can help you tackle that with the minimum of fuss has got to be welcome.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).