How to make your WhatsApp images and videos disappear

WhatsApp View Once feature showing on an Apple iPhone X
(Image credit: TechRadar)

We’ve all had that moment when we need to quickly send a photo or a video that contains important information, and then ask the recipient to delete the media soon after.

With WhatsApp bringing in different features almost every month, their newest feature brings the ability to view an image once before disappearing completely.

It’s available right now, but we wanted to show you exactly how you can use it for your many group chats on the app, especially as we’re in the midst of the summer holidays and there’s going to be plenty of photos and videos shared that we only want some to see just once.

 How to View Once

First of all, make sure that you’ve updated to the latest version on your Android phone or iPhone, named 2.21.150. Check for an available update at the App Store or Google Play Store, and WhatsApp should show in the list of updates.

It’s very straightforward to make sure that a certain image is only viewed once to someone. When you’re about to send a photo or video, there will be a number one icon showing in the text box.

View Once feature showing on an image in WhatsApp

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Selecting it will enable the feature, with a pop-up message confirming that the media is going to show only once to the recipient before disappearing.

View Once feature confirmation on an image in WhatsApp

(Image credit: TechRadar)

And that’s it. What makes this feature even more useful is that there’s no setting to enable it - it simply shows in the same screen when you’re about to send an image with a message attached.

Using this is going to save a lot of anxiety into how sensitive data is sent in WhatsApp, so expect to see many expired photos in group chats in the coming months.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter, 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.