Embrace ephemerality with default disappearing messages

jimio on 10 Aug 2021

A message fades from conversation with disappearing messages configured.

As the norms for how people connect have changed, much of the communication that once took place through the medium of coffee shops, bars, and parks now takes place through the medium of digital devices. One side effect of this shift from analog to digital is the conjoined shift from the ephemeral to the eternal: words once transiently spoken are now – more often than not – data stored forever.

We’ve designed Signal so that your data always stays in your hands. We think there’s something special about sharing a private fleeting moment between friends, so Signal also supports disappearing messages. Now, we’ve added the ability to preconfigure all conversations you initiate with a default disappearing messages timer.

A primer on the timer

Disappearing messages provide a way to keep your message history tidy. When enabled for a conversation, messages will be deleted for the sender and recipients after the specified time. This is not for situations where your contact is your adversary — after all, if someone who receives a disappearing message really wants a record of it, they can always use another camera to take a photo of the screen before the message disappears. However, this is a nice way to automatically save storage space on your devices and limit the amount of conversation history that remains on your device if you should find yourself physically separated from it.

You can even enable disappearing message for Note To Self to create an ephemeral cross-device personal clipboard of sorts.

Disappearing by default and customized timers

Until now, disappearing messages had to be enabled on a per-conversation basis, but for those who want to take ephemerality to the fullest, Signal now supports the ability to preconfigure all conversations you initiate with a default timer.

We’ve also added the ability to set custom timer durations on your conversations, so that some content can be gone in 60 seconds and others can exist for 18 minutes or 4 weeks. Install Signal, and give it a shot today!

Customizable disappearing message settings for Signal.