Turn Chat history on or off for users

As an administrator, you can control whether to keep chat history for users in your organization. You can set the default and also let users change their history setting for each conversation. Chat history is on by default for both Google Chat and classic Hangouts.

The chat history settings for Google Chat and classic Hangouts are combined in the Google Admin console. There's now one setting to control chat history for your organization. Learn more

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using an account with super administrator privileges (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenGoogle Chat and classic Hangouts.
  3. Click Chat History.
  4. Under Organizational Units, select the domain or organizational unit you want to apply settings to.
  5. Turn history Off or On.
  6. To let users change their history setting, click the Allow users to change their history setting box.

    Note: If you don't allow users to change their history setting, and you later toggle the default history setting from On to Off (or the reverse), some users might lose the ability to chat. To learn more, refer to the Chat known issues
  7. Click Save.

History details

  • History settings apply to direct messages. History is always on in rooms.
  • If history is off, messages are deleted after 24 hours.
  • If history is forced on, people in different data regions can’t chat. If you allow users to change their history setting, history will automatically be turned off when people from different data regions chat.
  • Vault can't hold, retain, or search direct messages that are sent with history turned off. Check with a Vault admin to confirm that these history settings comply with your organization's data retention obligations.
  • Data is not reported in the Audit report (Reports > Audit > Hangouts Chat) for direct messages sent with history off.
  • History changes apply to new messages. For example, If you turn chat history on, only new messages will be saved. If you turn chat history off, old messages that were previously saved are still saved.
Even if chat history is turned off, it’s possible that a separate copy of the conversation can be saved. For example, the message might be forwarded to Gmail or saved using a 3rd-party client.

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