In brief: WhatsApp has been experimenting with a 'Delete messages' feature that allows users to set a self-destructing timer for all of their individual chats and have them removed automatically.

Despite being one of the most popular apps out there, Facebook-owned WhatsApp likes to take its time in rolling out key features, which its rivals have either long since offered or otherwise were expected sooner than they're actually implemented.

The app received end-to-end encryption quite late in its lifetime and was among the last major social platforms to get dark mode support, a much-requested item that only arrived recently in 2020.

It seems the app could soon be getting another useful feature in the shape of self-destructing messages, something which the company had already been testing for group chats and has now expanded to cover individual/private texts as well.

WABetaInfo notes that WhatsApp beta for Android v2.20.84 includes a new 'Delete messages' feature, currently under development, which will automatically remove messages in a chat, according to a preset timer. Users with this setting turned on should also notice a small clock icon next to the message timestamp.

Although the implementation seems somewhat basic, given that the timer applies to all chats instead of giving more granular control as rival apps do, it's a welcome addition nonetheless. It's also worth noting that Facebook's own Messenger offers the same feature in a slightly different way by having users switch to 'Secret' conversations, and it remains to be seen if WhatsApp tweaks its own implementation further before rolling out this option to the public.