WhatsApp is looking at rolling out a disappearing media feature. The Facebook-owned instant messaging platform has reportedly launched a self-erasing media and texts feature on iOS in the latest beta version of the app, which was only accessible to Android users thus far.
The feature is available with version 18.104.22.168 of WhatsApp beta for iOS on testflight. Users with access to the “view once” feature will see a dedicated button that resembles a timer in the caption input field, as shown in screenshots shared by WABetaInfo, a popular website that pushes regular updates around WhatsApp. It states, “WhatsApp is finally releasing, for people that joined the beta program, a new feature that allows you to send photos and videos to disappear when they are viewed the first time. If you want to discover if the feature is already available for you, just try to send a photo or video, and you should see the view once button in the chat bar.”
Clicking the button would lead a message to pop up, saying “Send photos and videos that can only be viewed once.” There is also a description, “For more privacy, your photo or video will disappear from the chat after the recipient opens it once. Remember, people can always take screenshots.”
The report further highlights that if the recipient takes a screenshot of the photos or video sent by you, you would not be notified of the same and hence, need to practice caution. The way this ‘disappearing messages’ feature works is that when you send the media, it disappears from the recipients’ mobile phone after they view it once.
The recipient gets notified when they open the photo/video as the message would read ‘opened’. Moreover, it will also show other details about the photos or videos including the person(s) who viewed the photos/videos will all be available in the message info.
There is also an option to send disappearing messages that will vanish in seven days.
The feature comes with its own set of limitations. The content of the messages will still be visible in the notifications preview even if it disappears after seven days. Messages which are quoted and replied to will also remain in the chat even if the original text disappears. The same goes for forwarded messages, they remain available even if the original text has disappeared.