Mainstream electronic industries pursue long-term product reliability and durability to keep their brand reputation. Lifetime-controlled electronics, also called transient electronics, however, open a new area of application in devices with limited lifetimes that leave no residue, waste products or traces. Demonstration of the dissolubility of nanoscale silicon in days to months has advanced transient electronics by versatile application of soft/flexible Si electronics. Here we review the recent progress of transient electronics from the study of dissolution chemistry and fabrication strategy to their application in bioresorbable electronics and hardware-secure devices. Comprehensive hydrolysis kinetics have been analyzed for semiconductor, dielectric and metal materials. Modified transfer-printing technology has enabled the integration of bioresorbable materials on biodegradable metal foils and polymer substrates. Demonstration of these electronics has moved from single passive and active components to integrated circuits and sensors. A representative demonstration in the intracranial pressure monitor shows that this type of electronics can be validated under clinically relevant conditions. Finally, a strategy to control the operational lifetime by using encapsulation or triggering mechanisms offers extendibility of the system to various clinical scenarios and security devices.