In August 2021, WhatsApp introduced a new option last year, called “View Once” to let users send photos and videos that disappear after they’re opened, similar to what you can do in apps like Snapchat and Instagram. The feature allows users to send photos and videos that can only be seen once—they self-destruct after that. It is a handy option to have, especially when sharing private and sensitive photos.
However, the Meta-owned company made a major oversight in how it implemented the feature: you could take screenshots of view once media, thereby defeating their entire purpose. That’s why the platform wants to take that feature even further by blocking screenshots and screen recordings for “View Once” images and videos. A year later, in August 2022, Mark Zuckerberg announced that screenshot blocking was soon coming to WhatsApp for self-destructing media. The feature is now showing up for some beta testers of the app.
WhatsApp has released a new version of its view once media viewer with built-in screenshot blocking for selected beta users. If someone tries to take a screenshot while viewing a “View Once” media on the latest WhatsApp beta, a toast message will appear saying, “Can’t take screenshot due to security policy.” Using a third-party app or extension to bypass this security limitation won’t work either. You will end up with a final screenshot or screen recording that will also show the alert instead of the actual content, which protects the user who sent the image or video. Similarly, you cannot record the screen while opening a view once media. How amazing is that?!
Nevertheless, unlike Snapchat, WhatsApp does not inform the sender of the media that the recipient tried to take a screenshot. It is important to note that this is not a foolproof way to safeguard the content we send. As it is always possible for the recipient to use a secondary phone to click a photo or record a video of the view once content.
For now, the latest WhatsApp beta release available on TestFlight for iPhone users blocks screenshots and screen recordings for the content sent with the “View Once” option and also for the selected Android testers running v188.8.131.52 or newer. A wider beta test should happen in the coming weeks before the feature is rolled out to the public. It’s worth noting that there’s no way to disable the new privacy option, which will become a standard for WhatsApp users once it becomes available for everyone.
Besides, more new features coming to WhatsApp – the latest beta versions of the app also add the ability to create interactive polls. Of late, WhatsApp also announced that users can now create links to invite other people to join a call – just like Zoom and FaceTime.
The company has also been working on a new macOS app based on the iPhone app thanks to Catalyst technology so that the app runs faster and uses fewer hardware resources. While the new WhatsApp app for Mac is still available as beta software, Windows users can now download the new native WhatsApp app.