How to Send Dis­ap­pear­ing Pho­tos and Videos in WhatsApp

Parth Shah

We all know how Snapchat helped to spiral the ephemeral or disappearing messages trend. Now WhatsApp has caught up with that and offers disappearing photos and videos. So if you're wondering how to use them in WhatsApp, read on.

How to send disappering photos on whatsapp

The feature is currently limited to a few Android users rolled in the WhatsApp beta program. But it gives us a good idea of how WhatsApp is planning to implement disappearing media in the app.

WhatsApp is calling it View Once, and as the name suggests, it will allow the recipient to view the received media once, and after that, WhatsApp will delete the media file from the chat. Here are the current requirements to use the disappearing photos and videos on WhatsApp.

Download the Compatible WhatsApp Version

As we mentioned above, WhatsApp is yet to roll out the View once feature worldwide. If the latest version isn’t available in your region, you can download the APK file from the source below and install it on your Android phone.

How to Send Disappearing Photos and Videos in WhatsApp

Once you have installed the relevant APK file on WhatsApp, the feature should go live in the app. Here’s how to use it.

Step 1: Open WhatsApp on your Android phone.

Step 2: Open the conversation in which you want to send disappearing photos and videos.

Step 3: Tap on the attach icon in WhatsApp and select Gallery.

Tap on attach in whatsapp
Go to gallery in whatsapp

Step 4: Select the photo that you want to send.

Step 5: In the WhatsApp photo editing interface, you will notice 1 written in a circle in the Add a caption menu.

Enabled view once in whatsapp
Photo set to view once in whatsapp

Step 6: Tap on a little circle and the photo is set to view for once.

When you send the photo, you and the recipient won’t see any image thumbnail in the chat.

Similarly, you can select a video from the Gallery app and set it as view for once in WhatsApp.

The receiver will only see the Photo mention in the chat with the media size. When the receiver taps on it, WhatsApp will download the photo and open it.

Photo received via view once
View once photo opened

There is no limit on how long you want to keep the photo open on WhatsApp. Once you tap on the Back button, the photo will disappear from the chat, and you will only see Opened status in the conversation.

View once photo disappeared

The sender will also notice the similar Opened status in the chat.

Disappearing Messages vs View Once

WhatsApp already has something called disappearing messages in the app. So how does View Once differ from Disappearing messages in the app?

The real difference lies with the duration and overall implementation. With the Disappearing messages, the chat gets automatically deleted after seven days. Whether you view the messages or not, the chat will disappear after a week.

With View Once, the media disappears only after you view it. Even if you open the photo for the first time after six months, it stays in the chat.

Disappearing messages in Whats App

Another difference is the export option. Using Disappearing messages, the recipient can always export the chat at the end of the week to keep the data stored somewhere.

With View once, you don’t have an option to save the image to the gallery. You can’t forward the image to another person either.

Disappearing messages will delete the entire chat including messages and media. The View once is only limited to sending photos and videos only. You can't share password, OTP, or any other text as View Once in WhatsApp.

What About Security

Here’s where apps like Snapchat and Signal march ahead with better implementation. Let us explain how. With View once, the sender won’t be notified if the receiver takes the screenshot of the photo or record the entire video using a screen recorder tool.

Security in whatsapp

That’s a huge limitation and something you should keep in mind before sharing sensitive media over WhatsApp.

How Does View Once Work in WhatsApp Groups

The View once feature works as expected in WhatsApp groups as well. Simply enable the View once toggle before sending any media in the group and you are safe.

Once again, let us remind you that anyone in the group can take a screenshot or record the sent media using a screen recorder tool and share it further.

In our experience, the View once features are most useful in personal WhatsApp chat.

Send Self-Destructing Media on WhatsApp

WhatsApp's View once is a step in the right direction. However, we feel the social giant should include text messages as View once in the final version. It can be useful when sharing a password or other sensitive information as text. Also, the security loophole can affect the feature adoption further.

It will be interesting to see how WhatsApp further improves the View once function in future updates.

Next up: Do your newly added contacts not showing up on WhatsApp? Read the post below to learn why it's happening and how to fix the issue.


The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

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Parth Shah

Written By

Parth Shah

Parth previously worked at EOTO.tech covering tech news. He is currently freelancing at Guiding Tech writing about apps comparison, tutorials, software tips and tricks and diving deep into iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows platforms.