An SMS destroys the conversation

Secret chats: self-destructing messages and archive function

Newly in love, you use every free second to stay in contact with your sweetheart via messenger. But what you are telling yourselves is very private and does not concern anyone else. Fortunately, almost all messenger apps offer functions that support the secrecy of chats: be it through encryption, an option to hide the conversation or through the self-destruction of messages, pictures and videos. This guide will tell you how to use these options on WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat and Telegram.

The trailblazer: Self-destructive messages on Snapchat

Snapchat was the first messenger app with a self-destruct mode, i.e. the ability to automatically disappear sent messages and photos. The special: All messages sent and received can only be viewed for a limited time. In the case of pictures or videos, the sender specifies how long the recipient can view the file within a period of one to a maximum of ten seconds. Text messages, on the other hand, remain visible until you exit the conversation or the app. That's how it's done:

  1. To set the time span when a photo or video should self-destruct, click on the clock in the file that is displayed in the lower left corner.
  2. In the next window you set how many seconds the picture or video should be visible to the recipient.
  3. You can then press the Arrow key to ship.

Secret chats at Telegram

The Telegram Messenger offers three functions in its secret chats to ensure the security of the conversation:

What is end-to-end encryption?

An encryption protocol such as end-to-end encryption ensures that the exchange of messages between people can really only be read by these users. Without encryption, the messages from the Provider or even by other people who are in the same WLAN, intercepted and read become. This also applies to SMS that can be viewed by the telephone provider. However, if the messages or conversations are encrypted, external access is only possible with considerable effort or not at all.

  • End-to-end encryption ensures that no one except the conversation partner can intercept or decrypt the message.
  • Self-destructive messages ensure that the content disappears from both the sender and recipient smartphone as soon as the recipient has read the message.
  • Secret chats do not reach the Telegram cloud. They can only be viewed from the end devices from where they were started. So you cannot continue it on a tablet or PC or on a second mobile phone. By logging out of Telegram, the chats are deleted from the mobile phone.

This is how secret chat works on Android and iOS smartphones:

  1. Open the app's Messages menu and select New secret chat out.
  2. Tap the little one in the secret chat Stopwatch in the text input field (iOS) or on the Profile picture above (Android) to enable message self-destruct.
  3. As soon as the recipient has read the messages, they will be deleted in the chat on both end devices after the selected time (the latest Telegram version must be installed on both smartphones or tablets).
With Telegram you have the choice between a new message and a new secret chat.

Archive function: hide chats on WhatsApp

Messenger competitor WhatsApp relies on an archive function to keep messages hidden. This is especially useful when Chats should be protected from prying eyes. Because when a chat is archived on WhatsApp, it no longer appears in the normal chats. The entire procedure takes just seconds for Android and iOS devices. How to archive a chat and make it visible again:

  1. Long press the chat you want to archive (Android) or swipe left (iOS) on this chat.
  2. Select the folder symbol with the down arrow in the top menu bar (Android) or tap on Archiving (iOS). The chat is no longer visible.
  3. To make an archived chat visible again, scroll down to the bottom of the chat overview (Android) or look up via the search field (iOS) and tap Archived chats.
  4. Tap and hold on the chat that you want to make visible again, then select the folder symbol with the up arrow (Android) in the bar at the top or tap Undo (iOS) to display the chat normally in the list again.

If you want, you can hide all chats at once. To do this, go to the Settings from WhatsApp and follow the path Chats > Chat history> Archive all chats.

Telegram Messenger as an alternative to WhatsApp

WhatsApp does not (yet) offer the feature with self-destructing messages (as of February 2019). To do this, you can undo messages that you have accidentally sent. However, WhatsApp is the End-to-end encryption active by default. There is also no way to switch off this encryption.

With WhatsApp you can archive one or all of the chats.

Secret conversation on Facebook Messenger

Facebook also has a feature called “Secret Entertainment” on offer. This secrecy relates on the one hand to the End-to-end encryptionwhich - unlike WhatsApp - is not automatically activated. On the other hand, you can also use the Self-destruct with a timer adjust. How to start a secret chat in Facebook Messenger:

  1. At the top, tap the name of the person you're chatting with.
  2. In the new menu, tap Call up secret conversation (Android) or Secret conversation (iOS).
  3. After a one-time confirmation, a new chat window will open in which you can start your encrypted conversation. The speech bubbles are not colored blue here, but black.
  4. If you want to add a self-destruct function to your message in the secret conversation, tap on the timer symbol to the left of the input field.
  5. Select the time for which your message or picture should remain visible to the recipient after viewing - between 5 seconds and 24 hours.

A secret conversation can be found in Facebook Messenger only on one and the same devicet lead. If you start the chat on your smartphone, it is not possible to continue it, for example on

If you tap on the name of your chat partner in Facebook Messenger, you have the option of calling up a secret conversation.

Secret chats: Partly hidden, but helpful

Almost every common messenger today offers functions that serve to keep conversations secret. Be it encryption that makes it difficult or even impossible for operators or hackers to follow your chats, or the possibility of removing the conversations from the field of view of strangers with just a few clicks. With many messengers you also have the option to automatically delete your sent messages or pictures after viewing them so that the recipient can no longer use them.

Disclaimer OTTO (GmbH & Co KG) assumes no liability for the correctness, topicality, completeness, effectiveness and harmlessness of the information and recommendations made available on It is expressly pointed out that the official manufacturer's specifications are to be observed before all other information and recommendations and only these can guarantee a safe and proper use of the respective purchased items.

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