Social Media Application WhatsApp has introduced a new feature that lets you set a photo or video to disappear after it’s been viewed.
The new feature ‘View Once’ allows a sender to set the image to disappear automatically once it has been opened by the recipient, it’ll vanish from their messages, and it won’t be saved on their phone either.
This feature is WhatsApp’s attempt at giving its users more control over privacy. It suggests that you can use the feature when you’re sending photos that have a personal nature but aren’t necessarily ones that need to be saved. For instance, if you’re sending a screenshot of a document or a shot of a new outfit you’re trying on.
It’s a feature that’s been popular on other messaging services for some time, so it’s bringing WhatsApp in line with apps like Snapchat.
If you receive a View Once image, you won’t be able to see a preview of the pic and instead will simply see a ‘1’ icon.
The main functions of the new View Once feature are:
Once a photo has been opened and seen, it will disappear from the chat Sent photos won’t be instantly saved to a phone’s camera roll, even if the recipient has that setting turned on The images can’t be shared, starred, saved, or forwarded on to other users Any unopened View Once messages will expire after two weeks
How to set View Once up on WhatsApp
Using the new View Once feature is easy. First, you need to update to the latest version of WhatsApp, labelled number 2.21.150 in Android and iOS app stores.
Once you’ve got the latest version, every time you’re about to send a photo or video in a chat, you’ll notice a ‘1’ icon in the chat window, selecting this will turn your message into a View Once pic, and once your recipient has seen it it will vanish forever, it’s that simple.
However, it’s worth noting that there is a way to save these photos by quickly screenshotting the pic before it vanishes, or even using another camera to take a photo of the screen. As a result, people are being urged to only send private or sensitive media to those they trust, even with View Once switched on.
WhatsApp released a statement about the new feature: “While taking photos or videos on our phones has become such a big part of our lives, not everything we share needs to become a permanent digital record. On many phones, simply taking a photo means it will take up space in your camera roll forever.
“That’s why we’re rolling out new View Once photos and videos that disappear from the chat after they’ve been opened, giving users even more control over their privacy.
“As with all the personal messages you send on WhatsApp, View Once media is protected by end-to-end encryption so WhatsApp cannot see them. They will also be clearly marked with a new “one-time” icon.
“After the media has been viewed, the message will appear as “opened” to avoid any confusion about what was happening in the chat at the time.”
Catherine Hiley, mobiles expert here at Uswitch, said: “The race to be the dominant social media platform is very much ongoing. So it’s no surprise to see Facebook-owned WhatsApp and its biggest challenger, TikTok, adding Instagram-style vanishing content.
“First seen on Snapchat ten years ago, and added to Instagram in 2016, vanishing and see-once content that’s automatically deleted has become a popular way for people around the globe to communicate and express themselves in an immediate but transient way. It mimics the fast-paced world we live in and gives users the illusion of their content being equally as fast and not stored on the internet forever.
“However, it’s crucial that users realise that, just because their content vanishes from view quickly, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be saved elsewhere, and possibly slip into the hands of people they don’t want to have it.
“It’s more important now than ever to be safe on social media, whether you’re using it yourself or your children are. Always be vigilant and aware of the dangers of posting content of any kind online.”