WhatsApp Rolling Out New ‘View Once’ Mode for Android Beta Testers

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is rolling out a new “View Once” mode for Android beta testers that wipes photos and videos as soon as you view and dismiss them. After Messenger and Instagram having these self-erasing media and texts for a while now, WhatsApp is going to have something similar.

Starting today, this feature has been made available for beta users. The company’s top executives Mark Zuckerberg and Will Cathcart confirmed to WABetaInfo that this feature was coming on WhatsApp very soon in different regions. You’ll know if you have access to the new feature if you see a dedicated button (that looks like a timer) in the caption input field, according to the experts at WABetaInfo.

This is not like the disappearing messages on WhatsApp which delete within 7 days. The photos and videos sent using ‘View Once’ mode will only be opened once and vanish after you close them. You’ll get a notification once your media has been viewed.

Though it adds some level of privacy, you must know a few things before getting started with this feature:

  • If you disable read receipts, the recipient will still see if you have opened the photo or video set to view once, but you cannot see when the recipient opens yours. In groups, you can see when other participants open expiring photos even if you have disabled read receipts.
  • The recipient might save the photo or video taking screenshots or video captures, and WhatsApp won’t notify you because there isn’t a screenshot detection: be careful!
  • You can also share photos and videos set to view once in groups, and you can see who opened them in Message Info.
  • Blocked contacts in common groups can still open those photos and videos: in fact, they cannot message or call you but they can still interact with you in groups.
  • If you send a photo using view once to people that haven’t this feature enabled, the view once feature will still work and they can only view it once.

Facebook announced this back in June in its privacy policy update. The company was forced to delay the new rules due to the backlash it faced for accessing additional user data. Facebook also later backtracked on its decision to limit WhatsApp features for those who didn’t accept the changes. The tech giant has previously emphasized on disappearing messages and media as a way to encourage more authentic and intimate conversations.