Customise message and file retention

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

What you need to know

  • Message and file deletion is permanent. Be careful when adjusting these settings.
  • On the free subscription, your options for data retention are limited. You can choose to keep messages and files or delete them after 90 days.
  • 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 and files, including ones that are pinned or saved.

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 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.

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

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

  1. From your desktop, click on your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to Message history, click on 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 on Apply new setting.

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

  1. From your desktop, click on your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to Message history, click on 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 on Apply new setting.

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

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 on your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click on Organisation settings.
  3. Click on Settings in the left-hand sidebar, then select Message and file 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 on your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to Message history, click on 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 on Apply new setting.

Note: If your workspace has been approved to export data from all conversations, you can choose to delete messages but keep them accessible in exports. This setting applies to channels (Business+ subscription) or channels and DMs (Enterprise Grid subscription).


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:

Pro and Business+ subscriptions

Enterprise Grid subscription

  1. From your desktop, click on your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click on 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 on your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click on 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 on your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click on Workspace settings.
  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.

 

Adjust file retention settings

When configuring your file retention settings, you have the following options depending 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 (snippetsposts, uploaded files and those shared via third-party apps like 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 on your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to File history, click on Expand.
  4. Select your preferred retention settings.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Tick the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click Confirm settings.

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

  • 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 (snippetsposts, uploaded 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 (snippets, posts, uploaded 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 on your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Next to File history, click on Expand.
  4. Select your preferred retention settings.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Tick the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click Confirm settings.

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. When a policy is set, Slackbot will notify the primary org owner and request approval to apply it. Org owners can choose from the following options when setting file retention for conversations:

  • 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 (snippetsposts, uploaded 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 (snippets, posts, uploaded 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.


Review file retention policies

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

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

Who can use this feature?