You can now send disappearing voice messages on WhatsApp

WhatsApp is the messaging app of choice for millions of people in the UK thanks to its reliability and the fact it can be used whether you have an Android phone or an Apple iPhone, and it has just introduced a new feature that the company says will increase your privacy.

In the latest version of the app for Android and iOS, you now have the ability to send voice messages that the recipient can only view once, adding to the existing capability for photos and videos.

Voice messages, or voice notes as they are also known, have become incredibly popular thanks to free messaging services such as WhatsApp. Rather than a phone call, you can send a voice recording to an individual or WhatsApp group that they can listen to and then reply – think of it as a modern voicemail or answering machine.

WhatsApp says that by adding its View Once functionality to voice messages, it means you can be more confident in sending private information.

“For reading out your credit card details to a friend, or when you’re planning a surprise, you can now also share sensitive information over voice message with added peace of mind,” the Meta-owned company said in a blog post.

You might also want to send a private romantic note to a loved one or perhaps rib a mate in the group chat and then claim innocence afterwards.

WhatsApp messages are always end-to-end encrypted, meaning only the sender and receiver (or receivers) can read them – not even WhatsApp can read them, even if they tried. But the View Once function is another way to ensure your message doesn’t go beyond the person or people it was intended for.

The feature is similar to the entire original idea of rival messaging app Snapchat, where users’ photos and messages are only able to be viewed once. Adding View Once voice messages is the latest update to WhatsApp, which has traditionally barely ever added new features to its service.

To send a View Once voice note, you must tap the microphone icon, then swipe up to lock the recording. You then tap and hold while recording the voice message. When you’re done, tap the ‘1’ symbol to turn on View Once, then send.

Recently WhatsApp improved its Chat Lock feature, which can now be locked with a password rather than just being locked behind a fingerprint or Face ID on an iPhone. Many of the company’s updates are privacy-focussed, mirroring a trend seen across the tech industry.

Facebook, also owned by Meta, recently introduced end-to-end encryption for the Facebook Messenger app, while Apple has always campaigned for user privacy rights with its iMessage messaging service that is exclusive to Apple devices.


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