WhatsApp users are getting this handy embarrassment avoiding upgrade

WhatsApp's getting new features to banish boredom and avoid embarrassment

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(Image credit: WhatsApp)

If you've ever posted a WhatsApp message you immediately regretted or found yourself stuck in a group you didn't want to stay in, the latest WhatsApp features are just for you. The app is now rolling out longer undo times so you can recall that embarrassing message you accidentally sent to the wrong person, to avoid specific people and to quietly exit groups you no longer want to be part of.

The company made one of the announcements on Twitter (opens in new tab), saying "now you'll have a little over 2 days to delete your messages from your chats after you hit send." It's simple enough to use the new deletion option: tap and hold the item you want to delete, tap on Delete and then choose between Delete For Everyone or Delete For Me.

There's a catch, though: everybody who received the message needs to be on the most up-to-date version of WhatsApp in order for the message to be fully deleted, and there's no way of knowing if that's the case. So it's still better to think before you post than to post and panic.

Leave the party without anybody noticing

If you've ever snuck out of a party that had stopped being fun you'll appreciate the online equivalent: before now, if you left a group WhatsApp would announce your departure to everybody in the group, which often means private messages wanting to know why you're going. The app is now rolling out a new feature that will enable you to sneak away silently without alerting anyone. That one's coming in the next few weeks.

There are some other new features too. There are more options to hide your status – previously you were visible or invisible to all your contacts, but WhatsApp will soon enable you to set different visibilities for different contacts, for example by hiding your status from work contacts but not your friends.

One of the most interesting new features doesn't have an ETA yet: according to The Verge (opens in new tab), WhatsApp is also working on a way to block people from taking screenshots of "view once" messages so you can be confident they can't share sensitive messages or content with others. That feature's still in testing, but WhatsApp promises to release it soon.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).