Whatsapp view once: new disappearing photos and videos feature explained - and when it will be available

The new feature from the messaging platform aims to give users ‘more control over their privacy’ according to WhatsApp

WhatsApp has launched a new feature called “view once” which, as the name suggests, allows users to send photos and videos that allow recipients to only see them one time.

The new service aims to give “users even more control over their privacy” according to WhatsApp.

This is what you need to know.

The new feature will allow messages to immediately expire after being opened (Photo: WhatsApp/Facebook)

What is view once?

View once is a new feature coming to WhatsApp that allows users to send photos and videos that disappear after the recipient has opened them once.

The media will not be saved to the recipients photos or gallery, and once it has been opened once, you won’t be able to open it again. View once photos and videos will also clearly be marked with a new “one-time” icon.

Recipients also cannot forward, save, star or share any videos or photos that were sent with view once enabled.

After the media has been viewed, the message will read as “opened” if you have your read receipts turned on - otherwise you will not be able to see if someone has opened the message.

If the recipient does not open the media without 14 days of being sent, it will expire from the chat.

View once media can be restored from backup if the message is unopened at the time of the back up. If the photo or video has already been opened, it will not be included in the backup and cannot be restored.

You should take care when sending photos or videos using view once, and should only send things to trusted individuals.

It is possible for someone to take a screenshot or screen recording of the media before it disappears, and you won’t be notified if that happens.

Alternatively, a recipient can take a photo or video of the media with a camera, or other device, before it disappears.

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How do I enable view once?

To send a piece of media using the view once feature, simply go into your WhatsApp messages, find the person you want to send something to and choose your desired photo or video either through the paperclip icon or camera icon.

At the stage where you would be able to add your caption, you should be able to see a small icon of the number one inside a circle on the right hand side of the message, next to the send button.

Tap that as that’s the view once feature - you’ll be met with a notification that says “photo/video set to view once”. The icon will now appear as filled in.

There is no timer for how long the photo or video can be open for, it’s simply available up until the recipient closes it.

When will view once be available?

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, said in a blog post that from Tuesday 3 August, the feature will be rolled out to users.

If you don’t currently have the new view once service on your WhatsApp, it will be making its way to your device shortly.

Ensure that you have the latest version of WhatsApp by updating the app to the latest version.

On Android, go to the Google Play Store, search for WhatsApp and if the option is there, tap Update.

On iOS, go to the App Store, search for WhatsApp and again, if the options are there, select Update.