Function of "disappearing messages" from a data-impact consideration mainly

Valued Delta-Chat team, developers and user,

my person currently ponders in regard of using the opinion “dissapearing messages” to avoid useless storage use not only in regard of “own” controlled server area, but also to avoid it for others mail-boxes. Yet thinking not understanding action from it’s use completely (foremost practical, lesser technical). So here some question maybe useful and inspiring to give a solve of doubts into it:

  • The chose of it has only impact on the particular Chat, right? Does not effect other chats, right?
  • Once it is activated, it has impact on all messages, older, even those before joining a chat, or just from the time it was set?
  • Does it’s use only effect messages send by oneself or all of this group?

(* having seen that the used Dev-Version has different time-frames, like 5 instead 4 weeks, if group-members use different DC-versions, would such matter?)

Maybe useful to edit current text-string of explaining, on the results here, as it seems not to nail down all for now: “These settings apply to all participants using Delta Chat.”

(Although searched a little, my person didn’t found a topic on it, aside of a feature-request seemingly discussing a past state of situation of developments: my it be pardoned if already good treated elsewhere or in cases my person might be to blind to see of what is usually clear to most.)

Yes that feature only affects one chat.

only those sent after the “turn on disappearing messages”-message was received.

everyone that uses delta-chat and has received “turn on disappearing messages”-message.

1 Like

Appreciation good Master Simon,

Pardon for asking on: it still makes not clear whether only ones message or all of everybody in a chat where one activates “disappearing messages”. Or asked different: If wishing to keep a chat as hole cleaned up, each participator hss to activate this option. (maybe clear if clear in regard of technical limits, this question)

…and to get it even more understood: My person assumes that the info “delete” is somehow attached to each message while this function is enabled, meaning also that it coun’t be undone for a message send under this function afterwards, right?

So “If this function is enabled, an info to delete your new send message after chosen time would be attached to your messages and execuded where ever one uses Dela-Chat in this group. Once send under this function, the ordered action can not be withdrawn. Both, on all devices and on all servers, for user of delta-chat, those messages would dissapear.”, right?

Oh, and one more question: would others of a group be informed that one has set his messages to be destroyed (like the “info” displayed fat least for oneself in certain chat, or even within particular message)?

Meanwhile set up a kind of wiki, and also found some info in the delta-chat blog, my person gave it a chapter, maybe good to use for corrections and additions.

(Feedback, at least in regard of 5weeks in dev-version to 4 in orignal-version: Info of setting for others appears in seconds)

Exactly. It’s a header with a time in seconds after which the message should get deleted.

Of course you could copy the message, forward it to yourself, or take a screenshot, or write it down on a paper. Also if you send it to someone that doesn’t use deltachat, the message wont get deleted for them.

As soon as somebody sets a disappearing message setting, everybody in the group gets a info message about this. Also the setting is synchronized for all members of this chat.


Appreciation for info, good master Jikstra.

Still one additional question. The action of delete: does it require Delta-app to be active? Or would it be delete even there is no commander (app) online at the projected time, or say, one has deinstalled the app or deactivated. Is the info in the header alone enough to be deleted from the server afterwards?

Yes. The feature is “dumb”. It only works for deltachat, what happens is following:

  1. DeltaChat receives a message with the instruction, delete 60*60 (1h) seconds after read
  2. You read the message. Currently it’s the 12.12.2020 17:30.
  3. DeltaChat adds a new job that should be executed as soon as possible after 12.12.2020 at 18:30 (17:30 + 1h).
  4. When DeltaChat is still or again running at 18:30, it will delete the message from the phone and the server.
  5. If DeltaChat isn’t running at 18:30, because the phone is turned off for example, then the message is still on the server at 18:31 and also on the phone. There’s not really another way. But as soon as you turn it on and start DeltaChat, the message will get removed. If another device of you is running, this device will delete it from itself and the mail server.

I hope this clarifies things a bit. We cannot enforce that the message is getting deleted at 18:30, but we try our best to do it as soon as possible. The whole feature is a “we try our best” and should be used as such.


Similar was thought, good master Jikstra, yet still wonder how it would work for other members server and device. Is the planned act as well stored in their app?

And if that way, it would be a possible feature to set such for a whole chat and not only for ones own messages within a chat, right? Say a “disappearing Chat” add option at initial creation or in chat settings.

Yes. As soon as one sets this setting, the setting is overwritten for all other members of this chat too (and only this chat). This way i can activate it, send you a message, and your messages will get removed too as long as we don’t disable it. Think about it this way, you want to talk with your friend about what to cook tonight for dinner, but you don’t want to keep it in your history because you want to cheat on your veganism and eat eggs. You turn on disappearing messages, set it to 1 hour and write “Hey buddy, I need to cheat tonight on my veganism, how about having something with eggs tonight. You’re in?” Your buddy replies with “Ohh fuck yes, I’m craving for eggs too. Just don’t let my veganism know.”. You reply “Easy, let’s meet at 9” and turn off disappearing messages. One hour later, all those messages will be deleted for you and your buddy. Including your own messages and the ones of your buddy, and the same for him. No trace of this communication on any device of any participant.


So my person is now again not sure: It already effects all messeges in a chat if one member activates it?

Although fine if so, since not all think on reducing datas (my person wouln’t encourage tool to support possible missconduct at all, giving notions that actions have no effect - eating! met, by the way isn’t wrong, killing and take not given is, “killing” or “stealing” truth, for instance, while wrong view (no results of deeds by thought, speech, physical) and cheating is, and one deliberately lying is one capable to do all, and to be avoided. Having such “buddies”, encourage in cheating and hidding, means having enemies in disguise of friend), the first part of the Q&A session gave “only ones own” as result.

(As importand to know: actions start by thought. If one approves wrong doing of others by thoughts, one acts like the actor, not to speek of verbal approve or giving weapons/means for such., or trading within such deeds, good master Jikstra)

While the meta here is actually of more benefit for many’s good ways and prosperity, nevertheless back to the topic’s focus for good use of this tool:

Again: Does this option only effect own send/created messages or all messages, send by any member of the grouo, within a chat?

the option affect everybody in the chat that has Delta Chat, other email apps will not delete the message, so if you want to use it to save disk space in the phone this is not good option, since you force your friends to also delete the messages in their phone, so the conclusion for you:

  • it is not 100% secure the messages will get deleted so don’t use it if you don’t trust the person you are sending the message.
  • it affects others so don’t use it if you don’t want to request everybody to delete that messages.

look it this way, when you activate that option to delete the messages after 1 hour it is the same as if you say: “hey everybody, please from now on, delete this messages after 1 hour”
and then your good friends receive the message and do as you requested, it is like that but delta chat takes care to do it automatically so your friends don’t need to be looking at the time and manually deleting :slight_smile:

to delete messages only for you, so you save disk space, there is another option in “chats and media” settings, but sadly it is global, not per chat like disappearing messages

Sadhu for care and getting into, good master adbenitez. Actually it’s all about finding out whether only ones own sended messages, or all in this chart sended, are effected. That this then work at all places is clear so far.

And in regard of use: it’s just for keeping storage clean and safe resources. My person wouldn’t see a reason why sayed should be hidden afterwards or suggesting such as way out of effects. See topic name.

In the case a chat is put as delete message after a while (4, 5 weeks) is perfect for careful use of server resources. That of which is good to keep can be saved anyway (personal publishing discussions from time to time, then)

My person is aware of it, but as good adbenitez told by “sadly”, it’s a to huge impact, some chats may require longer time to settle all messages (members might look into only after long time), some might be just chit-chat, could be deleted right after. And as it can be turned of for a chart (dis. mes.), links to published content can remain for those later looking. So great, yet still not sure whether it’s effecting just ones own messages in the group, or all, messages of others send after a setting made by one of the group.

Cleaning just for oneself, not care what others do, would be more seen differently if using the same server, resources. My person is aware that very less care about storage impact… mostly “free”, but the forest disappear either one ignores or not. Since mail causes space use on many places, not just central, there is much to consider.

A “time after having been read” would be handy, but surely hard to do, requiring possible many request and traffic.

“=> All messages in a chat, and setting here is a chat-shared”, after practical test.

Sadhu for patient.

Great, maybe for those later might make use of it, good if technical details, dev-infos… are added as well in a/the Comprehensive manual for Delta Chat [] aside of aybe inspired to prove, edit…

I have two questions: in an already existing 1:1 chat, would I get notified when my contact enables “disappearing messages”, too, or does Delta Chat only notify about that in group chats? I think it’s a no-go when someone else messes with the content of my mailbox. If Delta Chat 100% notifies me about it when a chatpartner enables “disappearing messages” it’s kinda ok-ish, but it would be totally fine if Delta Chat had an option to prevent/block the deletion request.

Second question: When Delta Chat deletes messages flagged as “disappearing messages” don’t those messages land in the recycling bin anyway or is there an IMAP-command which lets Delta Chat properly delete messages so that they are really gone from the server?

Delta Chat will notify you about it just the same as in group chats. There is no option to prevent it, but you can just switch it off and move the message to “saved messages” if it’s really necessary. The problem with introducing options to block it is that some users will randomly enable it and prevent others from using it in groups even if they are not paying attention to the chat or have muted it.

IMAP standard has no concept of “recycling bin”. Some email clients (including webmail) move the messages to trash, but Delta Chat simply deletes them. The server can keep a copy of course and it’s possible that some users will configure automatic message forwarding to places where the message will not be deleted, so disappearing messages are not totally reliable. They are designed for small groups of friends who decide not to keep messages for longer than necessary and don’t want someone from the group to accidentally misconfigure their clients.

Thanks for you explanation @link2xt!

How to switch it off then? And switching off to me sounds the same as preventing/blocking “disappearing messages”!?!

In regard of: Notification
In regard of: Disappearing messages

What I mean is “you can disable the timer again if someone enables it”