The latest WhatsApp beta on Android brings some major changes to the way the app’s chat archive system works. The “new archive,” as the app calls it, does the same thing as the “old” archive house your archived messages with one major exception You can now permanently archive chats you want to ignore or remove from your inbox.

Previously, archived WhatsApp conversations returned to your active chats list if a new message was received. While you could permanently mute push notifications for chats you preferred to ignore, you’d still see the unread message badge in your inbox and would have to re-archive the conversation to hide it. However, turning on WhatsApp’s new “Keep chats archived” setting prevents that from happening.

The option to keep WhatsApp chats archived should be available for all Android and iOS users in the coming weeks, but Android users can install the WhatsApp beta version 2.21.11.2 (or higher) to try it out early.

Once the option to permanently archive chats is available to you, it can be turned on in the app’s settings like so:

  1. Open WhatsApp and tap the three-dot icon in the upper right.
  2. Go to Settings > Chats.
  3. Enable “Keep chats archived” under the “Archived chats” header.
  4. To archive a conversation, long-press a chat thread in your inbox, then select the “Archive” icon from the top menu.
  5. The “Archive” tab will move to the top of the inbox screen next to the “Chats” tab, making those ignored messages easier to access.

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