The popular chat app WhatsApp is introducing a feature that allows users to send a photo that is marked as “view once”.
Once the photo is opened by the recieving party and closed, it will no longer be accessible on their device.
Anyone familiar with smartphone chat apps will be aware of similar features existing on other services, with the main example being Snapchat, which was initially built with this being the only way of communication on their app, or Facebook Messengers “Vanish mode” which operates in the same manner as WhatsApps new “view once”.
Features like these are being introduced in response to the publics growing interest in their internet privacy. WhatsApp, however, has always been focused on privacy, with all communications through the app being end-to-end encrypted, meaning that the message is only readable on the device, and when it is passing through WhatsApp servers it is encrypted and unreadable.
This feature has many potential uses, WhatsApp provide the example of sending the Wi-Fi password to a friend. WhatsApp themselves maintain the feature will improve quality of life for their users in terms of privacy and storage space. “not everything we share needs to become a permanent digital record” and “On many phones, simply taking a photo means it will take up space in your camera roll forever.” being quotes from their blog announcing the new feature.
The feature was planned to be rolled-out last week, so if this is a feature you’re interested in, be sure to keep your apps updated!