WhatsApp adds disappearing ‘view once’ photos to its app

Unlike normal images, the 'view once' messages won't show up as previews in chats.

WhatsApp will allow users to send "view once" photos that disappear after being viewed. (WhatsApp)

WhatsApp is adding disappearing photo messages to its app. Called “view once” photos, the new feature allows users to send photos and videos in chats that can only be viewed a single time before disappearing. "View once" appeared in the beta version of WhatsApp's Android app back in June, but it's rolling out to all users this week.

The Snapchat-like feature is similar to Instagram and Messenger’s disappearing photo features. When snapping a picture in WhatsApp, users can select the timer icon to set the photo to “view once.” Unlike regular photo or video messages, the “view once” images won’t preview in the chat and can’t be downloaded to your device.

Facebook is billing the feature as one for “private moments” or for sending potentially sensitive information like Wi-Fi passwords. As always, people should be wary of just how “private” these kinds of messages really are. In a help article, the company notes that the recipient can still take a screenshot or record their screen while opening a “view once” photo and, unlike Snapchat, WhatsApp won’t let the sender know when a screenshot has been taken. The company also points out that “view once” photos that are reported will be made visible to WhatsApp.