WhatsApp’s desktop app introduces self-destructing photos and videos

Meta is rolling out a View Once feature to WhatsApp on desktop and web allowing users to send time-sensitive content.

The update was initially discovered by WABetaInfo as the tech giant has yet to formally announce it. According to WABetaInfo’s report, it’s essentially the same feature as on mobile. WhatsApp added View Once to its smartphone app in 2022 as a new privacy tool. Pictures or videos sent using this feature cannot be saved. Once the recipient views the file, it disappears, ensuring sensitive material is not seen by unauthorized parties, shared with others, or misused. This feature was highly requested by users, and Meta has now responded, despite the delayed timeframe.

Vital details

Recipients have 14 days to open the media or it will be automatically deleted, as per WhatsApp’s Help Center. The other person cannot take screenshots of the temporary content, but only if they have the latest version of WhatsApp installed. It is possible for others to screenshot a View Once file if they’re running outdated software. Meta recommends strictly sending content to trusted individuals. Plans are in place to address the privacy gap, but no date has been provided for Meta’s action.

It’s important to note that multiple temporary images cannot be sent at once and each file must be sent individually. Additionally, as highlighted by Windows Central, temporary videos can be rewatched “as often as you’d like”, but only within the interface. Leaving the window or clicking play prematurely will result in losing access.

The update will be available to both Windows and macOS users. WABetaInfo states that the update is being released in waves, so only a select group currently has access to it. Users are advised to keep an eye out for the patch when it becomes available.

How to send View Once content

Sending a View Once photo is simple. After launching WhatsApp on desktop and selecting a chat, click the attachment icon next to the text box, then choose an image. Above the send button is a number one inside of a disappearing circle. Clicking that icon activates the View Once function. Send the picture to someone and it will delete the moment they close it. WhatsApp on web has a different layout, but the process is the same.

WhatsApp View Once on desktop

(Image credit: Future)

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