WhatsApp's disappearing messages come to iOS

Media you share can only be viewed a single time before vanishing.

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Steve Dent
July 12th, 2021
The logo of the messenger app WhatsApp is seen on the screen of a smartphone in New Delhi, India on May 27, 2021. WhatsApp has filed a legal complaint in Delhi against the government seeking to block regulations coming into force from Wednesday that experts say would compel the California-based Facebook unit to break privacy protections, according to Reuters sources. (Photo by Mayank Makhija/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

After releasing the feature on Android last month, Facebook is debuting WhatsApp self-erasing media and texts on iOS via a new beta release, according to WhatsApp info site WABetaInfo. If you sign up for the beta version 2.21.140.9 on Testflight, you'll be able to send photos and videos that self-destruct as soon as they're viewed and dismissed. Users with access to the "view once" feature will see a dedicated button resembling a timer in the caption input field, as shown in the WABetaInfo screen capture below. 

WhatsApp self-erasing media
WABetaInfo

Unlike WhatsApp's disappearing messages, which delete after seven days, photos and videos sent using view once mode will vanish immediately after you close them. The sender will be notified when their media has been viewed. 

As WABetaInfo notes, there's nothing stopping users from taking screenshots of media and you won't be notified if a recipient has done so. As a recipient, you can't block the sender from being notified after opening the message, either. 

WhatsApp has promoted the feature as a way to encourage more authentic and intimate conversations. Parent Facebook previously said that select features would be blocked from users who didn't accept its divisive new privacy policy, but it later backtracked on that decision. 

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