Update (3 Aug 2021): WhatsApp has rolled out this feature. Everyone can use it now.
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WhatsApp is testing a feature that allows users to send media (photos, videos & GIFs) that automatically disappear after the recipient has seen it.
The feature, named ‘View Once’, is optional – that means users can choose chats in which media will be deleted once the other person has seen them.
This is similar to Snapchat, where sent media will disappear from the chat once the recipient opens it and leaves the chat. Although Snapchat allows for some replays, it is not certain if WhatsApp would.
How will ‘View Once’ Work?
The screenshots below suggest that users can send disappearing media by just choosing a photo from the gallery. Once selected, users will have to tap on the ‘timer icon’ to activate the feature. The icon can be found at the bottom right of the screen, beside the send button.
Unlike with Snapchat, there is no screenshot detection for this feature, disappearing photos and videos may still be accessible via screenshots. As of now, WhatsApp does not plan to notify users if their media has been screenshotted.
As with individual chats, you’d be able to see group participants who viewed the media regardless of if they have ‘Read Receipts’ disabled.
This feature is currently only available to beta testers on Android and iOS. It is expected that there will be a public release date in the coming weeks.
Yes, you can bet that I’d be the first to tell you when this feature is available to everyone.