WhatsApp launches feature that disappears photos and videos after single viewing

The new feature, called View Once, will let photos and videos disappear from the chat once viewed.

Noreen Shazreen

Probably the coolest cat lady you’ll ever meet.

Published: 4 August 2021, 12:05 PM

While sharing photos and videos has become an integral part of our lives, protecting our safety and privacy on chat messaging apps is also just as important.

With this in mind, popular instant messaging app WhatsApp has introduced a new View Once feature to help users safeguard their privacy.

The feature allows users to send photos and videos which will disappear from the chat once opened – similar to Snapchat – providing users with greater control over their privacy.

Once the recipient has viewed the media, WhatsApp’s View Once feature will remove it immediately from the chat. The viewed media content will also display as “opened” to avoid confusion about what was going on during the chat. 


Unlike regular photo and video messages, View Once media content does not preview in the chat and cannot be downloaded. PHOTO CREDIT: WHATSAPP


Users who would like to send photos such as new clothes they are trying on at a store, a quick reaction to a moment in time, or sensitive information like a Wi-Fi password can use the View Once feature by tapping the “1” button to the left of the send button.

Similar to all personal messages sent through WhatsApp, View Once photos and videos are protected by end-to-end encryption and cannot be viewed by the app. In addition, View Once media content will be identified with a new “one-time” icon. 

The app has stated that it will start rolling out the feature to all users starting this week.

WhatsApp has been moving toward strengthening users’ privacy and allowing the disappearing of messages for some time. In November last year, the app introduced the disappearing messages feature to offer users peace of mind and conversations that are not permanent.

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