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WhatsApp ‘view once’ messages are rolling out – here’s how they work

Published Jun 30th, 2021 5:12PM EDT
WhatsApp view once messages
Image: Facebook

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Every day, new threats reminds us just how risky it can be to put our personal information on the internet. For example, just last week, a massive LinkedIn data leak gave a hacker access to information from more than 90% of all accounts on the huge network. The more tools that the countless online services we use every day provide to keep us safe, the better. That is why WhatsApp ‘view once’ messages are such a welcome addition to the chat app.

As spotted by WABetaInfo, WhatsApp beta testers on Android now have access to a new ‘view once’ mode that wipes any message or piece of media you send after someone views it. You will receive a notification once the message has been viewed. After the recipient closes out of the message, it will be erased. Every Android beta tester should have access to the feature as of today.

How to use WhatsApp ‘view once’ messages

If you have WhatsApp Beta installed on your Android device, you should see a new view once button in the text entry field next to the send button. It looks like a timer, with the number “1”  in the middle surrounded by a half-solid circle. If you tap that button before you send a message, WhatsApp activates view once mode. It will then erase the message after one view.

It’s worth noting that these view once messages are different than disappearing messages. When you turn on disappearing messages, WhatsApp will delete chats within seven days. Both features address privacy concerns, but they are unique tools that can be used together or separately.

WABetaInfo notes that there are a few important caveats worth knowing before using view once mode. First, even if you disable read receipts on WhatsApp, that won’t stop others from seeing if someone has seen a view once message. The recipient can also take screenshots and recordings of the message, so make sure you’re sending them to people you trust. Finally, view once messages will still work even if the recipient doesn’t have access to the feature yet.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.