Have you ever wanted to send images and videos that you’d rather not keep in the WhatsApp chat window? If so, WhatsApp will soon add what you are looking for. After recently confirming the feature in an interview, WhatsApp has started rolling out the option to send disappearing photos and videos to beta testers on Android. This new feature is called “Show Once” and here’s how you can use it to send self-destructing photos and videos once they are displayed in WhatsApp.
Send Disappearing Photos and Videos in WhatsApp (2021)
Before we get started, it’s worth mentioning that the “View Once” mode is only available to beta testers at the time of this writing. Therefore, you may not immediately see the feature on your device. However, we could expect WhatsApp to roll out the feature to all users in the coming weeks.
What is “View Once” mode in WhatsApp?
View Once is a new WhatsApp feature that allows users to exchange images and videos privately. Media sent using View Once mode will disappear once the recipient views it. From my tests, you can see if the recipient opened the image even if you turned off read receipts. However, there are a few caveats you should keep in mind before using the feature. View-once mode is not as private as one might assume.
Although the pictures or videos disappear once the recipient closes them, the recipient can still take screenshots. In addition, WhatsApp won’t notify you if the recipient takes screenshots. In fact, WhatsApp openly admits this limitation and clarifies it in a pop-up window when you use View-once mode for the first time, hinting that the messaging giant has no plans to implement a capture detection mechanism. screens in the future. Therefore, if you are planning to send private pictures through this new feature, you’d better use other secure messaging apps or Snapchat.
Once you send an image or video in View Once mode, you (the sender) cannot open it from the chat page. However, if you send an image by accident, you can delete the message for everyone before the recipient manages to open it.
Disappearing Messages vs Show Once Mode in WhatsApp
You might be wondering now that WhatsApp already has an option to send disappearing messages. And yes, it does. So what makes the new Show Once feature different from disappearing messages? This is what we will explore in this section.
The main difference between Disappearing Messages and Show Once is the duration. While messages sent through Vanishing Messages mode in WhatsApp will expire after 7 days, photos and videos marked as Show Once will disappear once the recipient opens the media file. Another difference between the new feature and Vanishing Messages is in its scope. Disappearing messages affect all text and media files in the conversation, while View Once is limited to images and videos.
Steps to Send “View Once” Photos/Videos in WhatsApp
Now that you have an idea of the new Show Once feature and how it works, here’s how to use it in personal chats and groups:
1. Open a WhatsApp chat and choose an image or a video from the media picker UI, as you usually do for sending photos and videos in the messaging app.
2. When you are on the page that allows you to write a caption before sending the photo or video, tap the new “View once” button present in the lower right corner of the chatbox. The icon will turn green once you activate it.
3. As mentioned before, you cannot see the picture you sent in the chat window. Instead, you’ll see text that says “Photo” and a clock icon next to it. This is how an image sent using View Once mode appears to the sender and receiver.
4. When the recipient opens the media file, the text “Photo” automatically changes to “Open” to reflect the current status. This happens regardless of the read receipt privacy setting. I disabled read receipts on both devices and was able to see when the image was open. You can long press the “Open” chat bubble and press the “i” button to view the detailed message information of the photo/video.
Send self-destructing photos and videos in WhatsApp
This is how you use the new View Once feature to send expiring photos and videos on WhatsApp. Since the feature doesn’t have a screenshot blocking or detection mechanism, I wouldn’t recommend using it to swap private images or videos. However, it might be useful for other images that are not sensitive in nature. To learn more about these cool WhatsApp features, browse our articles on how to turn off archived chats forever on WhatsApp and top up your Jio number using WhatsApp.