Person using WhatsApp on smartphone
© Rahul Ramachandram/

As part of its efforts to promote its privacy-first initiative, WhatsApp is rolling out disappearing photos and videos this week to all its users.

“View Once” WhatsApp Features Available This Week

On Tuesday, the Facebook-owned messaging service said it began rolling out a new “view once” privacy feature that will soon be available to all its users. The feature allows WhatsApp users to view an image or video one time only, after which the media file in the chat vanishes and reads only as “opened.” Those familiar with Instagram, Snapchat, and Telegram will be familiar with this idea.

Screenshot of the

© WhatsApp/

This kind of feature can be quite useful for sharing sensitive information like passwords or other private media. Since the photos or videos aren’t saved in any galleries or camera rolls, it can also serve as a performance booster and space saver on devices, all while protecting users’ privacy.

How to Use “View Once” Messaging

The feature is available on iPhone, Android, KaiOS, and web and desktop apps. Here’s how you access it:

Taking a photo or video

  1. Open a chat, whether individual or group.
  2. Select the camera icon to take a photo or video
  3. Next to the camera icon, tap the circular (1) icon.
  4. Press send.
  1. Open an individual or group chat.
  2. Select the attachment (+) icon.
  3. Choose a video or photo.
  4. Tap the circular (1) icon.
  5. Press send.

Privacy Features Details

As far as the fine print goes, users won’t be able to star, forward, or save disappearing messages. If a “view once” message hasn’t been opened within 14 days of being sent, it expires and can’t be accessed.

Whatsapp noted that all one-off media should only be shared with trusted individuals, as users can screenshot “view once” media or record it from another device. Senders will not be notified that a screenshot or recording has been taken.

“View once” images or videos could also be reported by users, which will send them to the company for review. Whatsapp also noted its end-to-end encryption in messaging, and that encrypted media may be saved on its servers for a few weeks.

WhatsApp Putting Privacy First

After WhatsApp’s controversial privacy policy changes at the beginning of this year, rival messaging apps saw a surge in installations. The backlash was largely due to users being required to provide their data not only to Facebook, but to Facebook’s subsidiary companies, as well.

Adding the disappearing media feature is one of the latest in WhatsApp’s efforts to promote its privacy-first initiative. In June, the company launched its first-ever advertising campaign that sought to promote WhatsApp’s—and subsequently, parent company Facebook’s—pledge to user’s privacy.

If you’re a WhatsApp user concerned about your privacy, read our full article on WhatsApp here.

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