WhatsApp will soon let you send self-destructing photos

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WhatsApp is planning a new feature that will help boost your privacy by allowing you to send photos that are automatically deleted after the recipient has seen them.

The new tool was discovered by WABetaInfo, which specializes in tearing down WhatsApp beta releases to discover unreleased features. It's not yet available for testing (even for beta users) but assets found in the app's install files suggest it's well on the way.

The feature will be similar to WhatsApp's self-destructing messages, which allow you to send a message that will be deleted automatically after a certain period of time: an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year.

The difference with Expiring Media, as it's known, is that pictures and videos will be removed after they've been opened and viewed by the recipient rather than after a set duration. Presumably this means that not only will they be deleted from the chat thread, they won't be saved to the phone either, as WhatsApp media usually is.

Burn after reading

It appears that self-destructing images will look slightly different to usual media in WhatsApp chats, with an icon to show that they will be erased after viewing. However, this may change before the feature is released.

Although you can't yet test Expiring Media for yourself, if you're interested in being the first to try it, you'll need to join WhatsApp's beta program. 

Unfortunately the program for Apple devices is currently full, though it's worth keeping an eye on the Testflight page to see if a space opens up. To join the beta program for Android, visit the WhatsApp Beta page on Google Play and enter your details. If you already have the public version of WhatsApp installed, it will be updated to the beta version automatically within a few hours.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)