First, there were phone calls. Then we switched to texting, and stopped talking to each other for a while. Still, there was something missing: Phone calls take too long, while texting isn’t convenient for lengthy thoughts. And thus, the voice message was born—a simple way to share your message off the cuff without having to commit to an entire call or endlessly type away on your touch screen.
But as with all forms of messaging, there may be times you don’t want these voice notes saved in perpetuity. Perhaps you got something wrong in the memo, and you don’t want it lasting beyond the one listen, or maybe you have some juicy gossip you want to share without worrying about the evidence left behind.
That’s where the “view once” feature usually kicks in. You can use it to send messages, photos, and videos for one-time viewing only, before the app erases it for good. Think Snapchat, but within a WhatsApp thread. However, voice messages have been exempt from “view once” since their inception on the app: If you send one of these voice messages, it’s going to go through as normal. That is, until now.
WhatsApp is now testing the ability to send voice messages using “view once,” so as soon as the recipient listens to it, it disappears. It’s similar to how voice messages work on iOS: By default, unless the recipient taps “Keep,” voice messages delete two minutes after listening.
The issue is, this feature isn’t available to the public yet. In order to try it out, you need to be on the WhatsApp beta. If you aren’t already enrolled in the beta on iOS, you’re out of luck as the program is full. However, the Android beta is wide open, so anyone on that platform can try it out right now. According to WABetaInfo, the feature is rolling out to WhatsApp beta for Android 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11, as well as WhatsApp beta for iOS 18.104.22.168.
How to send disappearing voice messages in WhatsApp
Once running the beta, open a WhatsApp chat you want to send a voice message to. Hold down on the microphone button to begin a recording, then pull up to put the recorder into hands-free mode. Once here, you’ll see a new (1) icon: Tap it, and your voice note will send in “view once” mode.
You won’t be able to listen to your voice message once you send it this way, so it might be best to review it once before tapping (1). Likewise, once the other user listens to it or dismisses it, the message will disappear.
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