WhatsApp adds disappearing photos feature: How to enable it
New feature alert!— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) August 3, 2021
You can now send photos and videos that disappear after they’ve been opened via View Once on WhatsApp, giving you more control over your chats privacy! pic.twitter.com/Ig5BWbX1Ow
In a tweet announcing the feature, WhatsApp posted a video that demonstrated how to use the 'View Once' feature. To make media disappear after it has been viewed once, while sending a photo or video, the sender would need to tap on clock-like icon in the 'Add a caption' bar. Post that, the media will be deleted after the recipient views it.
Interestingly, the recipient will be shown a "one-time" label for 'View Once' media. Once viewed, the message will bear an "opened" tag. WhatsApp claims that 'View Once' media is protected by end-to-end encryption and it cannot access such content. Additionally, such media files will not be saved to the recipient's Gallery. They won't be able to forward, save, star, or share such media either.
'View Once' feature helps users torn between sending normal messages and using the recently-introduced disappearing messages feature that self-destructs messages after a week. Do note that 'View Once' messages will also self-destruct if they remain unopened by the recipient for 14 days. WhatsApp will inform the sender if 'View Once' media has been opened only if the recipient has read receipts turned on.
According to WABetaInfo, a website dedicated to tracking WhatsApp's beta features, 'View Once' was in beta for around a month before public release. In June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had confirmed that the feature would be coming although specifics were unclear at the time.
Further, in a blog post, the messaging service revealed that once opened, 'View Once' media won't be included in backups. On the flip side, senders will tediously have to choose the 'View Once' option each time they send media. WhatsApp claims that once opened, the media will be inaccessible for recipients but it may continue to live on WhatsApp servers "for a few weeks".
WhatsApp also cautions users that 'View Once' isn't exactly foolproof. The recipient may still be able to use screen recorders, screenshot tools, or even use another camera to record the device that receives the 'View Once' media and creates a copy for future reference.