WhatsApp View Once deletes photos and videos after being viewed
Snapchat may have popularized the idea of self-destructing social media posts, but others have quickly caught on to make it a must-have on any messaging platform. Late last year, WhatsApp rolled out its “Disappearing Messages” that self-destruct after a given period. Unfortunately, some users might still find that too long, especially for potentially incriminating photos and videos. It seems that WhatsApp is all about ready to roll out a stricter multimedia version of that self-destructing system that you can view once and only once before it’s gone forever.
Self-destructing messages have become a common way of removing the evidence of certain discussions. It might not be because you don’t trust the other person, otherwise why send sensitive messages in the first place, but more as a guarantee should the phone fall into the wrong friend’s hands. WhatsApp’s disappearing messages, however, have a self-destruct timer that’s set to seven days, leaving plenty of room for embarrassing situations.
The upcoming expiring messages, more formally “View Once,” is an attempt to fix that but only for photos and videos. Based on WABetaInfo’s digging, the system is simple enough to use. Just tap the new View Once icon when sending a photo or video, and you will be notified if the recipient has already viewed it. Once that happens, the media is gone for good unless you send it again.
In practice, there are a few important catches that may make this feature ineffective when dealing with less trustworthy people. Just like with Disappearing Messages, View Once media can still be captured in screenshots. People you may have blocked but are still in the same group as you will also be able to view the photo or video once, which means they will also be able to take a screenshot if they’re aware that it is an ephemeral message.
WhatsApp’s View Once feature is rolling out to beta testers on Android first. One other caveat is that even if the recipient doesn’t have the feature yet, the View Once photo or video will still self-destruct for them once they’ve seen it.