WhatsApp Launches New 'View Once' Feature

It enables photos and videos to be deleted after opening.

WhatsApp on Wednesday launched a new “View Once” feature, which deletes sensitive photos and videos from the chat after they’ve been opened in order to give users more control over their privacy.

When sending a sensitive photo or video, users can make the media viewable only once by tapping the 1 icon located next to the send button. As soon as the recipient opens the media, it’s immediately deleted and that person will be able to see that it’s a View Once attachment. Users must select View Once each time they send a photo or video, as it currently cannot be set to automatically do that.

WhatsApp on a smartphone

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The attachment also will display “Opened” to make it clear what happened in the chat, but this only will appear if the other person has "Read Receipts" turned on.

Photos and videos sent via View Once cannot be forwarded, saved, or shared, and if the attachment isn’t opened by the recipient within two weeks, it's automatically deleted from the chat. However, these View Once attachments can be backed up and restored so long as the message is unopened.

WhatsApp recommends only sending View Once media to trusted people, as it’s still possible for someone to take a screenshot or record the screen. You won’t be notified if something like this happens, unlike in Snapchat.

It’s also worth noting that the attachments may be stored for a period of time on the WhatsApp servers, and the media can still be reported by recipients.  

Man looking a phone

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This is the latest feature rolled out by WhatsApp to give ever-increasing control to users. Users also have the option to enable disappearing messages. These sent messages will disappear after a week. Disappearing messages can be turned on or off by either recipient in a chat or by members in a group chat.

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