Your message will self-destruct

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA

Q: Is it possible to send quick messages that automatically disappear from the recipient’s phone after they have been read?

A: Yes, sort of. A free app called Snapchat allows you to send messages and pictures that evaporate from your recipient’s Android phone or iPhone after one to 10 seconds—a time period that you specify. To use this solution, visit the appropriate app store from your Android phone or iPhone and search for and install Snapchat. Next, indicate which users you want to communicate with using Snapchat, as follows.

Upon launching Snapchat, the app will ask permission to search your contacts for existing users and will then display them. Select the users you want to communicate with using Snapchat by placing a check mark next to their names. Snapchat also displays a list of your contacts who are not current Snapchat users, and you can place check marks next to their names to send them an invitation to join. These contacts must accept your invitation, after which the Snapchat app installs on their Android phone or iPhone. They must also sign into Snapchat and set up a user account, which involves adding their email address and birthday, and then setting up a username and password.

Thereafter, you can use Snapchat to send pictures to one another that will display momentarily and then disappear permanently. If you tap the picture before sending, you can also add a brief message to the photo. Keep in mind that the recipient can see the image and message for a maximum of 10 seconds before it permanently disappears. ( Note: A quick-fingered recipient can capture the screen image by pressing the power and volume buttons simultaneously on Android phones, or pressing the menu and power buttons simultaneously on iPhones, thus preserving the message before it disappears.) To learn more about Snapchat, visit snapchat.com.

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