WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app in the world with over 1 billion monthly active users, has just announced it will be working on an update to its iOS and Android apps that will add a new feature that lets you hide your Last Seen status from certain contacts.
Last Seen status lets people know if you’ve seen their messages or not, and WhatsApp’s vision for this new feature is pretty clear: hide your Last Seen status from someone if you don’t want them to know when you’ve seen their messages.
WhatsApp to Hide Last Seen
However, one element is always visible to everyone: when was the last time you used WhatsApp? Using what’s called ‘Last Seen’ is still useful to some people – they might want to know if someone saw their message or responded, even if that response was silence.
But for many others, it just serves as an unwanted reminder of who’s reached out and hasn’t heard back yet. It seems WhatsApp agrees with that sentiment because it looks like it’s finally taking steps to help us forget about Last Seen entirely.
The latest beta version of WhatsApp (2.17.399) lets users hide their Last Seen status from all contacts except those in their Favorites group. To enable it, go to Settings > Account > Privacy > Last Seen and select Hide Last Seen at the bottom of your screen.
In addition to letting you hide your Last Seen status, WhatsApp 2.17.399 also adds support for WhatsApp Web links and fixes issues related to voice messages not being heard by recipients.
WhatsApp Web links are pretty self-explanatory – they’re URLs that can be shared via messages or chats so friends can open them up directly in their browser instead of having to download WhatsApp themselves.
New Feature Gives the Option to Hide From Certain Contacts
WhatsApp has several status features that help your contacts keep track of how often you use the app, but one, in particular, can sometimes be a source of embarrassment:
Last Seen. The timestamp lets other users know when you were last active and for some, it has become an unwanted source of social pressure. Thankfully, it looks like WhatsApp is planning to give users an option to hide their Last Seen statuses for specific contacts and only share it with people they trust.
WhatsApp’s about page reveals details about each update, so you can see what changes are coming down the pipeline. This week’s post highlights an upcoming change to WhatsApp’s status feature:
When using WhatsApp Status, we’ll soon be able to tap into your phone’s do not disturb mode so that your privacy is respected by those who may not have heard about DND or do not care about respecting it.
DND mode allows users to stop all notifications until they turn off DND mode or manually disable individual apps. However, if WhatsApp is going to make good on its promise of letting us hide our Last Seen statuses from certain contacts then there must be more than just turning off DND mode involved here.
WhatsApp Beta Update Allows You to Pick Contact
WhatsApp has pushed out a beta update for both Android and iOS, allowing users to pick which contacts can see their last seen. As spotted by WABetaInfo, users can now select last seen visibility in WhatsApp settings.
When activated, only those you choose to whitelist will be able to see your last seen status – without it being shown to everyone. You’ll find options on Android under Settings > Account > Privacy > Last Seen and on iOS under Settings > Account > Privacy.
WhatsApp is testing an option that allows users to hide their last seen status from specific contacts in private chats. The company first rolled out support for hiding last seen back in 2016, but it was limited to group chats at first.
Now WhatsApp is testing an option that allows users to hide their last seen status from specific contacts in private chats as well. A Reddit user recently discovered a new setting within WhatsApp that lets you toggle whether or not your contact sees when you were last active.
WhatsApp’s latest beta release includes a couple of notable changes. First up, WhatsApp is working on adding a new Last Seen privacy feature that would allow users to hide their online status from some of their contacts.
In addition, WhatsApp could also be working on adding more granular controls over who can send you messages while Do Not Disturb mode is enabled (via PiunikaWeb). Last month we reported that WhatsApp might soon let its users control who they want to talk with while they are in Do Not Disturb mode.
Last Seen Status Disappears from Conversation Screen
WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will hide your Last Seen Status from certain contacts so you no longer have to worry about pesky people asking when you were last online. The option appears under Settings > Account and privacy > Account settings, where users can toggle on a setting titled Last seen hidden and select who can see their online status.
There are three options: everyone, only contacts, or no one. If enabled, your last seen disappears from conversation screens and profiles, making it easy to privately log off when you need some peace.
Unfortunately, if someone manages to take a screenshot of your WhatsApp profile then they can still tell if you’re online or not even with the setting disabled. In addition to hiding your Last Seen status, WhatsApp is also adding support for Voice Calling for Android beta users. Users can access calling by tapping and holding on any chat and selecting Call.
Status Indicator Disappears from Group Chat Panel
WhatsApp has several status features that help your contacts keep track of how often you use them. One such Status Indicator is called Last Seen, with which users are informed that others have seen their last activity on WhatsApp.
This will now be hidden from some contacts if you enable an upcoming toggle in WhatsApp. Although WhatsApp hasn’t officially confirmed whether it is going to launch it, its APK has been leaked to the media which shows that there is indeed a toggle for hiding Last Seen from Group Chat Panel by default; although one can enable it or disable it.
WhatsApp Status is a new way to let people know what you’re up to. People who follow you can see when you were last active and even if they miss your replies, they’ll still see when you’ve read theirs. You don’t need to turn on Availability Stickers – just send any type of message (text, photo, video) like normal!
Status Icon No Longer Shown in Chats with Your Friends
If you use WhatsApp, you may have noticed that your friends’ online statuses are no longer shown in chats with them. But according to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is working on a new version of its app that includes an additional feature that will let users hide their online status when chatting with some specific contacts.
The idea behind it is to protect users who want to keep their online activity secret from certain people. For example, you can talk with your boss over WhatsApp but you don’t want him or her to know if and when you’re not at work – thus revealing your exact whereabouts.
You could make yourself available all day long while chatting with other colleagues but show as offline while talking to your boss. WhatsApp already has three status icons: Available, Busy, and Away. In addition to these options, there’s also a fourth one called Hidden – it lets users set their status as offline without specifying why they are unavailable for communication.
Hide Last Seen Alerts in Individual Conversations
WhatsApp already has several ways to alert you of activity in a conversation, but it appears to be working on a new one. The last seen attribute lets your contacts know when you were last active in a chat—useful if you’re supposed to be getting back to someone about something or just want people to know how responsive you are.
But what if you don’t want someone to know that? WhatsApp is testing out letting users hide that indicator for individual conversations. Currently spotted by WABetaInfo, and shared by Twitter user Terence Eden, WhatsApp seems to be testing hiding last seen indicators only within specific conversations.
In other words, while they can still see when you were last active in a group chat or voice call, they won’t see it when you reply to them individually. It’s an interesting idea—one we’ve also seen with Google Allo and Facebook Messenger—and might prevent some awkward situations where both parties are actively ignoring each other.
However, there’s no word yet on whether WhatsApp will roll out such a feature at all. It could simply have been created as part of an internal test and never make its way into production builds.