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What is WhatsApp View Once? The disappearing picture feature explained

WhatsApp is following in the footsteps of Snapchat, offering users the chance to send photos and videos that disappear after viewing

As anyone who likes to send photos and videos over WhatsApp knows, you’re bound to end up with multiple copies of the same photo sitting in your message feeds, taking up valuable storage space and just generally getting in the way.

WhatsApp is introducing a way to get around that issue, with the View Once feature. The media sent across will disappear after it’s been viewed, meaning there won’t be any annoying copies of old videos, and you have more control over your privacy.

As with all direct messaging on WhatsApp, the media will still be protected by end-to-end encryption so even WhatsApp itself can’t see what you’re sending across.

This feature can be used for more sensitive information, such as a photo of an interview password, or a spur of the moment reaction, like sending someone a photo of something you’ve found in a store, nothing that needs to be kept forever.

WhatsApp View Once
Credit: WhatsApp

Media sent with the View Once feature will be clearly marked with a new ‘one-time’ icon, and after the message has been viewed it will appear as ‘opened’ so there’s no confusion about if the message has been received and seen. However, you will only see if someone’s opened the media if they already have their read receipts turned on.

You will also not be notified if someone takes a screenshot or a recording of the media you send, so there’s of course still some risk involved.

To send media over as View Once, you need to select View Once media each time you send over another photo or video. And if your message isn’t opened within 14 days of it being sent, the media will expire from the chat.

The feature will be rolled out this week, so keep an eye out for the new feature and make sure you try it out.

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