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How to send view once messages on WhatsApp

View Once brings a Snapchat element to WhatsApp. Just be aware of its limitations.

Published onDecember 18, 2023

WhatsApp rolled out its View Once messages feature in mid-2021, providing users with the ability to send disappearing media to others on the platform. WhatsApp believes the feature will benefit users when sending sensitive or personal information, such as a ‘Wi-Fi password’ or ‘new clothes you’re trying on,’ by enhancing privacy alongside the end-to-end encryption feature. But how do you use WhatsApp’s View Once messages feature? Find out more below.


In a private or group chat, tap the paperclip icon to add media. Press the 1 icon to set the media as view once message, then tap the send button.


How to send a view once message on WhatsApp

  • Open the private, group chat or a conversation that you want to send the message to.
  • In the chat, tap on the paperclip icon to bring up the attachment box.
  • Select Gallery, to attach an existing image or video, or Camera to snap a new photo or record a new video. WhatsApp will only allow videos up to 16MB.
  • Choose the image you want to send.
  • In the image editing screen, tap the 1 icon located at the right within the Add a caption… box. It should resemble a 1 within a circle with half a solid line and half a dotted line.
  • Upon tapping this icon, its background will switch to solid color. You’ll also get a confirmation on screen that the media is now set as view once.
  • Tap the send button.
  • The recipient will be made aware that the content can only be viewed once.
  • After they view the media, WhatsApp will change the message status to Opened in the chat (but only if they have read receipts switched on).

What you should know about WhatsApp View Once messages feature

While the feature will restrict users from viewing images or videos multiple times after they’ve been opened, it’s not as snoop-proof as we’d like. WhatsApp won’t store media on the recipient’s phone, but the app won’t notify you if a recipient screenshots an image. And yes, recipients can screenshot images. However, they won’t be able to use any WhatsApp recovery methods to see them once they’re gone, so that’s nice.

Before using WhatsApp’s View Once feature, be aware of its limitations, including the inability to notify you of a recipient’s screenshot. Overall though, it’s a welcome inclusion in WhatsApp’s feature list. If you don’t yet have the chat app on your Android phone, grab it using the button below.

Yes, if the view once media is not opened within 14 days, it will automatically expire from the chat, as mentioned in the WhatsApp Help Center.

View once photos and videos won’t be saved in the recipient’s Photos or Gallery, and forwarding is not possible.

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