Saving the history of a chat is useful for finding valuable information later or simply reliving a favorite conversation from the past. However, sometimes deleting chat threads is good, and even better to have them automatically deleted as soon as you see new messages. While messages have disappeared from some apps for a while (for example Snapchat), Facebook Messenger now also has this with “Vanish Mode”.
Like all optional features, Vanish mode is not turned on by default, but it’s not obvious to turn it on either. It’s likely that once Facebook completes the full rollout of the feature on both Messenger and Instagram messages, the Vanish mode will be more prominent, but for now it̵
While relatively secretive, enabling Vanish mode is quite easy. First, open a Messenger chat and pull up the thread. On iOS, you have to swipe up far enough to fill the circle outline that appears, then release to enter Vanish mode. On Android, you just need to hold until the circle outline is full, then release.
Once activated, a popup will describe the feature, including the three core pillars:
- Seen messages disappear as soon as you leave the thread. If you don’t want to lose your messages, just swipe up again or tap “Leave Vanish Mode” at the top of the chat to turn off Vanish Mode.
- If someone takes the chat screenshots, you will receive a notification.
- When someone reports the conversation, short messages are retained for up to an hour.
Vanish mode is not supported in all threads and you will know if nothing happens after you swipe up on the thread you are currently in. In some cases, you may get a notification that says, “Vanish mode is not available for [Name]. “It won’t work in group chats, voice calls, video calls, or when the other person doesn’t have Vanish mode yet.
When you enable or disable Vanish mode, it will only happen on your end. Only when you send a message, photo, video or other content in the chat will your recipient see their chat switch to Vanish mode.
So when you enter Vanish mode you have to send a message to activate the feature for your friend. On the other hand, if you turn off Vanish mode, you have to send a message to get your friend out of Vanish mode.
Of course it works both ways. If your friend is the one who sends a message in Vanish mode, or if he sends a normal message while you are still in Vanish mode, it will affect your side of the chat. Even if you disable Vanish mode on your side, a friend sending a Vanish mode message will activate Vanish mode on your side.
Pretty simple so far, right? But there are a few more things you should know about using Vanish mode:
- Vanish mode works with texts, photos, videos (but not video calls), voice messages (but not voice calls), emoji and stickers.
- If you or someone else takes screenshots or screenshots of the chat, you will get a notification and a stamp in the thread.
- You cannot copy, save or forward messages sent in Vanish mode.
- Someone you’ve never chatted with before can send you message requests in normal mode, but not in Vanish mode.
- Vanish Mode messages are end-to-end encrypted so that only the people in the chats can see them.
- Vanish Mode is coming to Instagram in the US soon and should work the same way. Until then, you can still send disappearing photos and videos.
- To turn off Vanish mode on your end, tap ‘Turn off Vanish mode’ or repeat the swiping process from the beginning.
That pretty much sums it up. Send messages to your heart’s content, but once you leave the thread in Vanish mode, any messages seen by both parties will disappear forever. Interestingly, you cannot cancel sending messages like you would in a regular Messenger chat. Of course, messages disappear as soon as you leave the thread, but they don’t leave your friend’s screen until she also leave the thread – just something to keep in mind.
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