In a bid to boost user privacy, WhatsApp has expanded its “View Once” feature to voice messages, following the initial rollout for photos and videos in August 2021. The new feature allows users to send voice messages that self-destruct after a single listen, offering an added layer of confidentiality for sensitive conversations.
Global Rollout and User Guide
WhatsApp has announced that the View Once feature for voice messages will be gradually introduced globally over the next few days. Users can activate this feature by following a simple set of steps:
- Open a chat (Group or Individual).
- Look for microphone option at bottom.
- Swipe up to lock the recording.
- Tap and hold to record.
- Activate the “View Once” icon
- Finally, tap the send button to dispatch the self-destructing voice message.
The feature is designed for situations where users may want to share sensitive information, such as reading out personal moments or planning surprises, with the assurance that the content won’t be accessible after the first listen.
Markings, Encryption, and Limitations
Similar to the View Once feature for photos and videos, voice messages employing this feature will be visibly marked with a “one-time” icon. All messages, including View Once voice messages, benefit from default end-to-end encryption, ensuring the highest level of security.
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WhatsApp has implemented certain limitations to maintain the ephemeral nature of View Once media. Recipients are unable to forward, save, star, or share these time-sensitive messages. Additionally, screenshots of View Once media, including voice messages, are strictly prohibited.
User Caution and Considerations
While the feature enhances privacy, WhatsApp advises users to exercise caution, especially when sharing sensitive information. Recipients might find alternative means to save View Once media, such as taking photos or videos with other devices. Android users, in particular, should be aware that View Once voice messages can be recorded using the native screen recorder.
Expiration and Restoration
View Once media, whether photos, videos, or voice messages, must be opened within 14 days of being sent. After this period, the content will automatically expire from the chat. Users should note that there are limitations on restoring View Once media from backups, and media may be stored on WhatsApp servers for a few weeks.
As WhatsApp continues to innovate in privacy features, the introduction of ViewOnce for voice messages is anticipated to provide users with a heightened level of control over their digital communication. The company encourages users to share feedback as the feature becomes available globally in the coming days.