WhatsApp ‘View Once’ feature will delete photos and videos after a single viewing but there are obvious limitations

WhatsApp View Once Feature
View only once. Pic credit: Senado Federal/Flickr

WhatsApp for iOS and Android is now getting disappearing photos and videos feature. The ‘View Once’ feature is inspired by Snap Inc’s photo messaging app Snapchat or Vanish Mode in Instagram.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is gradually rolling out the ability to send multimedia that automatically deletes after a single viewing. Media shared with “View once” activated will show up as “opened” after the intended audience takes a look. It will instantly delete automatically afterward.

What is WhatsApp View Once feature and how useful is the same?

WhatsApp has been testing the ‘View Once’ feature via the WhatsApp Beta app on Android and iOS. The feature basically offers the ability to send photos and videos that automatically delete after a single view.

The feature works remarkably similar to Snapchat where the app autonomously deletes the media file as soon the receiver opens the same. Incidentally, the opened multimedia content does not have a timer.

The View Once is rather simple in operation. The sender merely needs to activate the ‘View Once’ feature for the photo or video before sending the same.

The notification for the multimedia message will arrive as it usually does on an Android smartphone or Apple iPhone. The receiver will also be able to open the same in the normal way.

However, after the photo or image opens and the receiver swipes to go back, the message inside the WhatsApp chat tray displays “Opened”. Needless to mention, the included photo or video will have been automatically deleted.

The multimedia content will not only vanish from the chat but also from the smartphone. This means users will not be able to head over to the phone’s gallery to access the content.

Facebook claims the View Once feature will come in handy for sharing sensitive information. Some of the examples reportedly include Wi-Fi passwords or reacting to some opportune event.

Benefits and limits of View Once feature:

WhatsApp View Once feature will ensure the receiver will not be able to archive the image or video. Users cannot forward or share the multimedia content either. As expected, the receiver cannot even “Star” the content as it will disappear immediately after the first viewing.

Interestingly, the person receiving the message cannot hold onto the photo or video for long periods of time by not opening them. The multimedia content will automatically disappear after 14 days, even if the receiver does not open the same.

WhatsApp has ensured that users can report abuse or violation of policies. WhatsApp will receive the media if a receiver decides to report a particular piece of View Once content.

All the security features will, however, not prevent the receiver from taking a screenshot. Moreover, WhatsApp, the sender, or Facebook will not know if the receiver has taken a screenshot. Hence, users must exercise caution while using the View Once feature in WhatsApp.

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