WhatsApp testing View Once disappearing messages that vanish immediately

In a new privacy move, Meta is testing the View Once mode for WhatsApp texts. Messages sent this way will vanish immediately after being viewed.

Apple's iPhone displaying the home screen shortcuts menu for WhatsApp is being held in a male's hand in this featured image from Unsplash
Image: Dimitri Karastelev / Unsplash
  • What’s happening? WhatsApp is working on a more extreme version of the ephemeral messaging feature, with the ability to send view-once text messages.
  • Why care? This feature will increase your privacy in exchanges that include sensitive information. Texts sent in View Once mode automatically disappear for both the sender and the recipient after being viewed.
  • What to do? If you’re not on the beta, be patient. The ability to send text messages in View Once mode will be released in a future update to WhatsApp.

WhatsApp bringing View Once mode to text messages

WABetaInfo has spotted view-once texts in the most recent version of the WhatsApp Beta for Android with a version number of

This upcoming feature is currently unavailable in the WhatsApp Beta for iOS, but we’ll be making sure to let you know as soon as the company begins testing an iPhone version of view-once texts.

People on the Android beta have a new Send button with a padlock symbol.

Touching it will send the text message in View Once mode, making it immediately disappear after being viewed. The recipient cannot share or forward the message. In other words, a more extreme version of the disappearing messages is in the works.

WhatsApp already supports view-once media

In November 2020, WhatsApp debuted the ability to send text messages that automatically disappear after seven days. The app later picked up additional message expiry options allowing you to choose whether a text message will disappear after 24 hours, seven days or 90 days.

On top of vanishing texts, WhatsApp has made additional inroads into the ephemeral messaging space with the introduction of View Once media.

When attaching a photo or video to a WhatsApp message, hit an icon within the caption field that resembles a timer. Doing so will send the selected media in View Once mode, with the attachment self-destructing as soon as the recipient views it or dismisses the message. For further information, read our dedicated tutorial dealing with sending vanishing photos and videos using WhatsApp’s View Once mode.

And when WhatsApp finishes testing View Once texts in a few weeks, users will be able to send messages that will immediately disappear after being viewed instead of being set to vanish after 24 hours, one week or 90 days.

You may be able to screenshot view-once texts but not for long—one year after rolling out view-once photos and videos, WhatsApp began blocking screenshots and screen recordings of view-once photos and videos.