WhatsApp is testing a new self-destructing voice messages feature

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WhatsApp is currently testing a View Once mode for voice messages as a “new layer of privacy” on the mobile app.

The feature functions similarly to the disappearing images and videos present on the platform. Meta is merely expanding it elsewhere. According to WABetaInfo, a new icon sporting the number one will appear in the chat bar while you record a voice note with the lock on. Tapping said icon enables the View Once mode (well it’s more like Listen Once) preventing recipients from exporting, forwarding, saving, or recording messages. Once sent over, you, the sender, cannot listen to it nor can the other person play it again after the first time. It’s gone forever.  

WhatsApp Listen Once voice messages

(Image credit: Future)

As WABetaInfo points out, this tool has the potential to effectively eliminate “the risk of your personal or sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.” Messages can’t be shared with people outside the initial chat room, greatly reducing the odds “of unauthorized access.”

This update is available for both Android and iOS. If you’re interested in trying out yourself, Android users can join the Google Play Beta Program and install version 2.23.78 of the WhatsApp beta. iPhone owners can try to join the TestFlight program for WhatsApp. However, at the time of this writing it’s no longer accepting any more entrants, although it is possible a slot could open soon.

Going quiet

As for the future of WhatsApp, things will be getting a little quiet. None of the other beta features are as impactful or noteworthy as the self-destructing voice messages. Looking through WABetaInfo’s other posts, we saw that Meta is working implementing avatar reactions plus a redesigned audio and video menu for iOS. Nothing really ground-breaking.

It’s not surprising the platform is going silent at the moment as 2023 has been quite the year for WhatsApp. It’s seen multiple major updates these past 10 months or so from several quality-of-life changes to eight-person video calls on the Windows desktop app. And recently, the company began testing an AI-powered sticker generator for chats. Perhaps Meta is keeping its projects under wraps so it can kick off 2024 in a big way.

While we have you, be sure to follow TechRadar’s official WhatsApp channel. We post our latest reviews and news stories daily on there. 

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WhatsApp’s latest security beta also prevents people from saving or sharing the temporary messages with others.