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WhatsApp desktop app lets you send self-destructing photos and videos again

Published Nov 29th, 2023 2:38PM EST
WhatsApp for Android will look like iOS counterpart
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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WhatsApp tested support for “View Once” photo and video sharing for the desktop version of the app about a year ago. But the feature was scrapped. As a reminder, View Once media sharing lets you send self-destructing photos and videos. They can be viewed only once, and then they’re automatically deleted. That’s a great privacy feature to use when dealing with sensitive content you wouldn’t want the other party to save or reuse.

It looks like Meta has changed its mind. It’s bringing back support for self-destructing content on the WhatsApp desktop app.

Found by the usual source of WhatsApp scoops, WABetaInfo, the View Once feature should work again on Windows, Mac, and iPad.

If you can’t see it yet on your device when trying to share ephemeral media content, you should not send the files from the desktop version of WhatsApp. Instead, you can use the iPhone or Android app to send self-destructing photos and videos.

It’s really easy to determine whether View Once support is enabled on your computer version of WhatsApp. Try to send a regular photo that requires no privacy protections to a contact or yourself. If a “1” appears in the Caption field and you can tap it, then you can send self-destructing media content from your WhatsApp desktop app.

WhatsApp for desktop lets you share View Once photos and videos.
WhatsApp for desktop lets you share View Once photos and videos. Image source: WABetaInfo

The image WABetaInfo provided should be self-explanatory. That “1” in the Caption field is exactly what you’d see in the mobile app when trying to share View Once content.

It’s unclear when the feature will be available to all users. But if Meta has brought it back, it should make its way to all WhatsApp desktop users soon enough. From the looks of it, this is available to regular users of WhatsApp rather than beta versions. While I have the latest version of WhatsApp installed on my Mac, support for View Once photos and video sharing isn’t available yet.

Before you share ephemeral content with others via WhatsApp or other apps, you should remember there are ways to save said content. The other person can always use a secondary device to record or take photos of the View Once photos and videos. But that’s only assuming they do not open the self-destructing photo or video before being able to record it.

With View Once content, you can only view a photo or video once. WhatsApp will delete it from the conversation after that. This support document should further help you navigate the View Once functionality.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.