WhatsApp is once again taking a leaf out of Snapchat’s books. Last year, Facebook’s own chat app released its much-anticipated message disappearing feature. Snapchat users have long enjoyed these types of ephemeral messages – but WhatsApp’s version of the feature left messages hanging longer.
While most messages on Snapchat are viewed once and then disappear, WhatsApp’s disappearing messages are stuck for seven days – even after they’re viewed.
If you’ve sent something sensitive over WhatsApp and want it automatically deleted as soon as possible, it probably takes longer than you’d like the messages to stay around.
Fortunately, WhatsApp seems to solve this problem.
The latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android has added a new feature called Expiring Media.
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This allows WhatsApp users to send photos or videos, which after viewing will immediately disappear from chat after you close it.
The feature is now available to all Android beta testers, which means a release date for the general public could be imminent.
The latest beta build for WhatsApp Android has also revealed some other interesting details about the Expiring Media feature.
When you send someone a photo or video to be viewed once on WhatsApp, you will receive a notification when they open it.
You can also send Show One-Time messages to people who haven’t turned on Media Expiring, and the feature will still work for them.
One-time messages can also be sent to groups, and you can see who has them open in the Message Information section.
Be warned, however, if you’ve blocked contacts in a group that you’re sending a message to on expired media, they’ll still be able to view it.
And just because WhatsApp introduces this feature doesn’t mean users won’t be able to capture everything that is sent.
As WABetaInfo explained in an online post, WhatsApp users who are sent a view message can still take screenshots of a photo or video they have sent.
You can even videotape an Expiring Media clip pinged on them.
And if they take a screenshot or a video, you may not know because the screenshot detection is not available in WhatsApp.
So you still need to be careful about what photos or videos you send to whom – even if you are using the incoming media expiration feature.
The View Once Messages are an extension of WhatsApp’s disappearing messaging suite introduced in 2020.