Khamosh Pathak

Don’t want your messages sent through Signal to remain on someone’s phone? You can use the Disappearing Messages feature to automatically delete all messages in a chat after a set time. Here’s how to send disappearing messages in Signal.

The Disappearing Messages feature works on a per-chat basis. It works for both one-on-one chats and groups. You can choose between one-second and one-week time frames (This is something you can’t do on WhatsApp.). The app shows a visual timer next to disappearing messages.

Disappearing messages are not a fool-proof privacy feature. Users can still forward messages, take screenshots, and even save the shared media to their camera roll before it’s deleted.

Signal does have a special feature for sending self-destructive photos and videos. They can’t be saved, and disappear after they have been viewed once (like Snapchat).

RELATED: What Is Signal, and Why Is Everyone Using It?

Enable and Use Disappearing Messages on Signal

The Disappearing Messages feature needs to be enabled separately for each chat. The steps are different for iPhone and Android.

If you’re using an Android smartphone, open the conversation that you want to enable the disappearing messages feature for, then tap the three-dot menu icon from the top toolbar.

Here, select the “Disappearing Messages” feature.

Select the time frame and tap the “Done” button.

You will see the timer details in the top toolbar itself.

If you’re using an iPhone, tap the contact’s profile name from the conversation view.

Next, tap the toggle next to the “Disappearing Messages” feature.

You’ll see a slider below the feature name. You can swipe left and right on it to increase or decrease the timer.

With the feature activated, any message that you send (including photos and videos) will disappear from the chat after the timer is done. Each message will show its own timer in the chat.

Signal Disappearing Message Delivered

If you want to disable the Disappearing Messages feature, tap the contact profile from the top of the conversation and toggle off the “Disappearing Messages” feature.

Send Disappearing Photos and Videos on Signal

Signal has a separate feature that lets you send disappearing photos and videos to anyone on the app. This can be in any conversation or group, even if you don’t have the Disappearing Messages feature enabled.

To use this, open a conversation in Signal and tap the “+” button (On Android, you’ll find it on the right side of the toolbar.).

From here, you can use the camera to snap a photo, or you can choose one from the library.

Tap the infinity icon from the bottom-left corner.

This will turn into a “1X” icon. This means that the photo or video can only be viewed once (and you can only send one piece of media in this mode). Finally, tap the send button.

The media will show up in the chat without a preview. The recipient can tap the media to view it. Once they close it, the media will be gone forever.


Just switched over to Signal? Here are a couple of things you should know.

RELATED: How to Protect Signal Messages With a Passcode

Khamosh Pathak Khamosh Pathak
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has seven years of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
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