WhatsApp messages could soon disappear as soon as they're read

WhatsApp on smartphone
(Image credit: Anton/Pexels)

WhatsApp continues to work on disappearing messaging with its most extreme version yet: View Once messages à la Snapchat.

Now instead of having to choose from 24 hours to 90 days for a message to disappear forever, these texts will immediately delete themselves after opening. These texts also can’t be forwarded to another user or copied onto a device. And according to WABetaInfo, which found the upcoming feature, there will be a slightly different icon for these messages: an arrow with a lock on it. At this point, it’s unknown what the update will do for taking screenshots of View Once messages. WABetaInfo can’t confirm if screenshotting is blocked or not as the feature is still in beta, but considering this is a part of WhatsApp owner Meta’s efforts to support user privacy, there’s a pretty good chance this will be a function.

If any of this sounds familiar, that’s because WhatsApp added the same function for images and videos earlier this year. It’s worth noting you can actually screenshot and screen record this particular type of View Once media, and on top of that, you won’t be notified if the recipient does this.

View Once messages are part of the WhatsApp beta for Android version, which you can download through the Google Play Beta Program. All you have to do is sign up for the program (be aware it may take a few hours before you’re allowed to download the app). Don’t get too attached to the current design because beta designs are often subject to change.

Regarding WhatsApp on iOS getting View Once messages, there’s no mention of an App Store beta, but we can’t imagine a scenario where iPhone users don’t get this feature at some point.

Beyond the base function

The View Once messages fall in line with the current theme of WhatApp’s recent updates: taking one feature and making it bigger by expanding it beyond the base function.

For starters, you and a thousand of your friends can come together in the new Communities feature (an expansion of WhatsApp Groups) allowing users to join multiple groups under a specific topic like what university you attended. Plus it’s a helpful way to keep up to date with current events in your local area. Another noteworthy update is the new and improved self-messaging feature – now more streamlined as you won’t have to open a new chat room.

Meta has been taking strides in improving WhatsApp security and encryption, but it never hurts to double up. A few weeks ago, TechRadar updated its best authenticator apps for 2022 so you can add a second layer of protection for your accounts.

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.