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WhatsApp's View Once messages feature is finally live: Here's how to use it
- A new WhatsApp feature is now rolling out to all users.
- Dubbed View Once, the feature restricts a recipient from opening a sent image or video more than once.
- It initially rolled out to beta users in July 2021.
Update: August 4, 2021 (1:47 AM ET): After a brief stint as a beta-only feature, WhatsApp is now officially rolling out its new View Once messages feature. The feature doesn’t see many changes since its initial test in July. Nevertheless, it’ll still restrict recipients from opening these messages more than once.
WhatsApp believes the feature will benefit users sending sensitive or personal info like a “Wi-Fi password,” or “new clothes you’re trying on.” However, the feature doesn’t restrict recipients from screenshotting the message.
The feature will begin rolling out this week, so be ready to update your app if you want to try the feature.
Original article: July 1, 2021 (4:23 AM ET): WhatsApp is now gaining a new feature that gives senders more control over their photos and videos. Called View Once, the feature restricts a recipient from opening an image more than once.
Initially teased by WhatsApp and Facebook big wigs, WABetaInfo notes that the feature is now rolling out to beta testers on the platform running version 126.96.36.199. We can confirm the version of the app does sport the feature, too. Those using older WhatsApp versions can still receive View Once messages, but they cannot use the feature to send messages. Additionally, the feature will work across private and group chats. You can view who has opened the image in a group by heading to the Message Info option.
How to send a View Once message on WhatsApp
So how do I know if I have View Once enabled? Well, it’ll be pretty apparent as the option will appear when sending media to others.
To use the feature:
- Open a private or group chat.
- Tap the paperclip icon to attach/record an image/video.
- Once you’ve selected an image/video or captured new media, tap the 1 icon next to the Send button.
- A message saying “Photo/video set to view once” will appear.
- You can now send the media. The recipient will be allowed to view it only once.
View Once: What you should know
While the feature will restrict users from viewing images or videos multiple times, it’s not entirely secure. For one, WhatsApp won’t notify you if a recipient screenshots an image. More importantly, if you share a View Once image or video in a group containing blocked contacts, these contacts can still view the media. So realistically, View Once isn’t a sure-shot way of ensuring that an image or clip isn’t preserved or shared by others.
More reading: Master WhatsApp with these essential tips and tricks
While View Once is only available in the app’s beta channel now, privacy advocates will hope WhatsApp addresses these issues before the feature arrives in a stable version. Nevertheless, you should always be mindful of what you send to others, even if more privacy features make their way to messaging apps.
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