WhatsApp now hides your 'Last Seen' status from people you don't know

Whatsapp Message Hero
Whatsapp Message Hero (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp is preventing people from seeing whether you're online and what your status is if you aren't in a chat with them.
  • Some people use WhatsApp information to stalk others, with this move making that impossible.

The popular instant messaging platform WhatsApp has enabled a feature that will make it more difficult for people to follow others online. Now, WhatsApp prevents people from seeing your 'Last Seen' and online status from people you don't know.

According to a WABetaInfo report, users are being told that people who they haven't chatted with won't be able to see either data point anymore.

WhatsApp sent the following to a user, presumably after they asked why the information wasn't available.

To improve the privacy and security of our users, we're making it harder for people you don't know and haven't chatted with from seeing your last seen and online presence on WhatsApp. This will not change anything between you and your friends, family, and businesses who you know or have previously messaged.

The change appears to have been made "in the last few days" and it's undoubtedly a welcome one.

WhatsApp is one of the best iPhone apps available for people who want to chat with others, especially if their friends and family also happen to use an Android device. The cross-platform nature of WhatsApp makes it very appealing and it's promising to see the service making changes in the name of privacy.

Individual users can prevent anyone from seeing their 'Last Seen' and online status, should they wish. The app allows people to turn the data off entirely, allow only their contacts to see it, or even limit specific people, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.