The mobile WhatsApp app shall begin blocking screenshots of disappearing photos and videos to protect the privacy of view-once media in chats. Here’s what to know.

  • What’s happening? WhatsApp is now testing preventing screenshots of view-once media with beta users ahead of public launch next month.
  • Why care? Two reasons. First, increased privacy of your disappearing photos and videos. And second, you won’t be able to send or receive view-once media via WhatsApp Desktop and Web after this change.
  • What to do? If you’re on the WhatsApp Beta (available on TestFlight for iPhone users), tell a friend to send you a view-once photo and try to screenshot it.

WhatsApp to start blocking view-once media screenshots

Soon, it won’t be possible to take a screenshot or screen recording of view-once media before it disappears. Before this change, nothing was stopping the recipient from screenshotting your view-once photos and videos, so this is a privacy change for the better. 

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The feature has no settings interface—it “just works,” whether you like it or not. Unfortunately, blocking screenshots won’t prevent the recipient from resorting to sneaky tactics to keep a copy of view-once media, like snap[ing an image of disappearing media using another phone or recording device.

View-once screenshot blocking is available in WhatsApp Beta version (build number 405622068), according to WABetaInfo. Once the feature launches to all users, the privacy of view-once media will be significantly improved.

WhatsApp recently began rolling out other privacy-focused features, including the ability to control who sees your last seen and online status.

The change goes into effect November 1, 2022

According to WhatsApp Help, this feature has been long in the making. As a result of this change, WhatsApp’s web interface and desktop apps won’t be able to send or receive view-once photos and videos beginning November 1.

“Starting 1 November 2022, WhatsApp web and desktop users won’t be able to send or receive view once media,” it reads. “This change is to support the rollout of screenshot blocking for view once messages.“

In other words, you’ll need to use the mobile WhatsApp app for iOS [App Store link] and Android to send or receive view-once media from November 1.

Introduced in August 2021 as WhatsApp’s answer to the popularity of ephemeral messaging, the feature permits you to send a photo or video that will disappear after the recipient has opened it on their device.

How to send view-once media via WhatsApp

To send a view-once photo or video, select an existing photo or video from your Photos gallery. On the next screen, touch “1” on the rightmost side of the caption field and then hit the blue Send button.

and exited the media viewer. Once they exit the media viewer, the media will no longer be visible in that chat and they can’t view it again. View once photos and videos won’t be saved to the recipient’s Photos gallery.

They also cannot forward view-once media or report it to WhatsApp.