Customise data retention in Slack

By default, Slack will retain all messages, canvases, lists and files (including audio and video clips) for the lifetime of your workspace. If you’d like to, you can adjust your retention settings to automatically delete data from your workspace after a set amount of time. You can also allow members to edit message retention settings for individual channels and direct messages (DMs).

What you need to know

  • Data deletion is permanent. Be careful when adjusting these settings.
  • Deletions run once per day, so data may be deleted shortly after making a change to your retention settings.
  • Retention settings will apply to all messages, files, canvases and lists, including ones that are pinned or saved.


Adjust message retention settings

Free subscription

Pro and Business+ subscriptions

Enterprise Grid subscription

Workspace owners can choose from the following options when setting message retention for conversations:

  • Keep all messages but don't track revisions
    Slack will keep all messages but will not track message edits or deletions.
  • Delete messages after 90 days
    Slack will delete messages after 90 days.

Tip: Applying basic data retention settings allows you to automatically delete messages and files that are hidden on the Free subscription.

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to Message history, click Expand.
  4. Select your preferred retention settings from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. To confirm the change, click Confirm.

Workspace owners can choose from the following options when setting message retention for conversations:

  • Keep everything
    Slack will keep all messages and track message edits and deletions.
  • Keep all messages but don't track revisions
    Slack will keep all messages but will not track message edits or deletions.
  • Delete messages and their revisions after... 
    Slack will delete messages following the customised time frame that you choose.

Note: On the Business+ subscription, you can choose to delete messages from channels, but keep them accessible in exports if your workspace has been approved to export data from all conversations.

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to Message history, click Expand.
  4. Select your preferred retention settings from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. Tick the box to confirm the change, then click Save.

As an org owner, you can set a policy for message retention that will apply to every workspace in your org. With a policy in place, workspace owners won’t have the option to adjust message retention settings for workspaces that they manage. Org owners can also set a policy to hide messages before they are permanently deleted by message retention. You can choose from the following options when setting message retention for conversations:

  • Keep everything
    Slack will keep all messages and track message edits and deletions.
  • Keep all messages but don't track revisions
    Slack will keep all messages but will not track message edits or deletions.
  • Delete messages and their revisions after... 
    Slack will delete messages following the customised time frame that you choose.

Note: If your organisation has been approved to export data from all conversations, you can choose to delete messages from channels and DMs, but keep them accessible in JSON-based exports.

Set org-level message retention policies

To set an org policy for message retention or hiding, contact our support team. When a policy is set, Slackbot will notify the primary org owner and request approval to apply it. If approved, Slackbot will notify each workspace owner of changes to retention settings.


Review org-level message retention policies

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Organisation settings.
  3. Click Settings in the left sidebar, then select History.


Set workspace-level message retention settings

Note: If a retention policy has been set at the org level, workspace owners won’t be able to adjust message retention settings for their workspace(s).

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Workspace settings. If you manage more than one workspace, choose one from the drop-down menu.
  3. Next to Message history, click Expand.
  4. Select your preferred retention settings from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. Tick the box to confirm the change, then click Save.

Note: Bear in mind that your retention settings will impact what you see in an export file.


Allow conversation-specific retention settings

Workspace owners and org owners on paid subscriptions can allow people to override retention settings and edit message retention for individual conversations with the following options:

  • Member overrides allow members on paid subscriptions to set their own message retention period for private channels and their DM conversations. Workspace owners will be able to adjust this for public channels as well. 
  • Admin overrides allow admins on the Business+ and Enterprise Grid subscriptions to edit message retention for channels with channel management tools.

Pro and Business+ subscriptions

Enterprise Grid subscription

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to Message history, click on Expand.
  4. Tick the box next to Let workspace members override these settings.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. Tick the box to confirm the change, then click on Apply new setting.

Set message retention override policies

As an org owner, you can set a policy to allow admins or members to override retention settings and adjust message retention for individual conversations in every workspace of your Enterprise Grid org. With this policy in place, workspace owners won’t have the option to adjust message retention settings for workspaces that they manage.

Contact our support team to set this policy for your org. When a policy is set, Slackbot will notify the org primary owner with a request to apply it. If approved, Slackbot will notify each workspace owner of changes to retention settings.


Review message retention override policies

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Organisation settings.
  3. Click on Settings in the left-hand sidebar, then select Messages and file history.
  4. Review your policies next to Message history overrides.


Set workspace-level message retention override settings

Note: If a retention policy has been set at the org level, workspace owners won’t be able to adjust message retention settings for their workspace(s).

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Workspace settings. If you manage more than one workspace, choose one from the drop-down menu.
  3. Next to Message history, click on Expand.
  4. Tick the box next to Let members set their own message history in private channel.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. Tick the box to confirm the change, then click on Apply new setting.

Note: Retention does not apply to messages in deleted channels. If you delete a channel, messages and revisions will be permanently deleted, regardless of your workspace retention settings.

 

Adjust file retention settings

When configuring your file retention settings, the available options will depend on your subscription.

Free subscription

Pro and Business+ subscriptions

Enterprise Grid subscription

Workspace owners can choose from the following options when setting file retention:

  • Keep all files
    Slack will keep all shared files for the lifetime of your workspace.
  • Keep all files for 90 days only
    Slack will permanently delete files (snippetsuploaded files and those shared via third-party apps such as Dropbox or Google Drive) after 90 days.

Note: Files shared via third-party apps remain stored in the service that they originate from. Deleting them from Slack won't affect the original files.

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to File history, click Expand.
  4. Select your preferred retention settings.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. Check the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click Confirm.

Workspace owners can choose from the following options when setting file retention:

  • Keep all files
    Slack will keep all shared files for the lifetime of your workspace.
  • Keep all files, only for a set number of days
    Slack will permanently delete files (snippetsuploaded files and those shared via third-party apps such as Dropbox or Google Drive) after the number of days that you choose.
  • Keep all files, including deleted files
    Slack will keep all files for the lifetime of your workspace. Deleted files will be available via exports for all conversations and the Discovery API.
  • Keep all files, including deleted files, for a set number of days
    Slack will permanently delete files (snippetsuploaded files and those shared via third-party apps) after the number of days that you choose. Deleted files will be available via exports for all conversations and the Discovery API.

Note: Files shared via third-party apps remain stored in the service that they originate from. Deleting them from Slack won't affect the original files.

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to File history, click Expand.
  4. Select your preferred retention settings.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. Check the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click Confirm.

As an org owner, you can set a policy for file retention that applies to every workspace in your org. To do so, contact our support team. Org owners can choose from the following options when setting file retention:

  • Keep all files
    Slack will keep all shared files for the lifetime of your Enterprise Grid org.
  • Keep all files, only for a set number of days
    Slack will permanently delete files (snippetsuploaded files and those shared via third-party apps such as Dropbox or Google Drive) after the number of days that you choose.
  • Keep all files, including deleted files
    Slack will keep all files for the lifetime of your Enterprise Grid org. Deleted files will be available via exports for all conversations and the Discovery API.
  • Keep all files, including deleted files, for a set number of days
    Slack will permanently delete files (snippetsuploaded files and those shared via third-party apps) after the number of days that you choose. Deleted files will be available via exports for all conversations and the Discovery API.

When a new retention policy is applied, Slackbot will notify the Org primary owner and request their approval to apply the update.

Note: Files shared via third-party apps remain stored in the service that they originate from. Deleting them from Slack won't affect the original files.


Review file retention policies

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Organisation settings.
  3. Click Settings in the left sidebar, then select History.
  4. Review your policies next to File uploads.

Note: It’s not currently possible to set file retention settings for specific conversations.

 

Adjust retention settings for canvases and lists

When configuring retention settings for your Slack canvases and lists, the available options will depend on your subscription.

Note: When retrieving a canvas via exports, only the most recent version will be included.

Free subscription

Pro and Business+ subscriptions

Enterprise Grid subscription

Workspace owners can choose from the following options when setting retention for lists and channel canvases:

  • Keep all canvases and lists
    Slack will keep all content in channel canvases and in any list for the lifetime of your workspace.
  • Keep canvases and lists for 90 days only
    Slack will permanently delete the content in a channel canvas and in any list after 90 days.
  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to Canvas and list history, click Expand.
  4. Select your preferred retention settings.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. Check the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click Confirm.

Workspace owners can select a retention policy that will apply to all lists and canvas types from the following options:

  • Keep all canvases and lists
    Slack will keep all canvases and lists for the lifetime of your workspace. Canvases and lists that have been manually deleted will not be preserved and will not appear in an export.
  • Keep canvases and lists, but only for a set number of days
    Slack will permanently delete all canvases and lists after the number of days that you choose.
  • Keep all canvases and lists, including deleted canvases and lists
    Slack will keep all canvases and lists for the lifetime of your workspace. Deleted canvases and lists (including those that have been manually deleted) will be available via exports for all conversations and the Discovery API.
  • Keep canvases and lists, including deleted canvases and lists, but only for a set number of days
    Slack will permanently delete canvases and lists after the number of days that you choose. Deleted canvases and lists will be available via exports for all conversations and the Discovery API until the specified time has elapsed.
  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to Canvas and list history, click Expand.
  4. Select your preferred retention settings.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. Check the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click Confirm.

As an org owner, you can set a policy for canvas and list retention that applies to every workspace in your org. To do so, contact our support team. The following policy options will apply to all lists and canvas types:

  • Keep all canvases and lists
    Slack will keep all canvases and lists for the lifetime of your Enterprise Grid org. Canvases and lists that have been manually deleted will not be preserved and will not appear in an export.
  • Keep canvases and lists, but only for a set number of days
    Slack will permanently delete all canvases and lists after the number of days that you choose.
  • Keep all canvases and lists, including deleted canvases and lists
    Slack will keep all canvases and lists for the lifetime of your Enterprise Grid org. Deleted canvases and lists (including those that have been manually deleted) will be available via exports for all conversations and the Discovery API.
  • Keep canvases and lists, including deleted canvases and lists, but only for a set number of days
    Slack will permanently delete canvases and lists after the number of days that you choose. Deleted canvases and lists will be available via exports for all conversations and the Discovery API.

When a new retention policy is applied, Slackbot will notify the Org primary owner and request their approval to apply the update.


Review canvas and list retention policies

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the sidebar.
  2. Select Tools & settings from the menu, then click Organisation settings.
  3. Click Settings in the left sidebar, then select History.
  4. Review your policies next to Canvases and lists.
Who can use this feature?