You’ll have a (very limited) way of hiding your online status
This year has been super busy for WhatsApp and an important one too — the messaging service is trying to bridge the gap between itself and competitor Telegram, gaining useful upgrades like the ability to send files up to 2GB in size, add up to 512 people in a group, and Communities in the last three months alone. On the privacy front, last month saw the announcement of some new controls that allow users to hide their profile pictures and last seen from certain contacts. That’s a load of feature adds, but the Meta-owned app isn’t done yet and intends to add even more granular privacy controls with another new feature.
WABetaInfo has uncovered that the company is working on shipping a new feature with a future version of WhatsApp that will allow users to hide their online status. That single shared screenshot is from iOS, but you can bet that the Android version of the app (and probably the web version) will be getting it too.
The Last Seen menu under Privacy settings will catch a new item at the bottom presenting two ways others can see you online — there’s the original option where your online status is always visible to all, or you can set it to follow your Last Seen setting — meaning you can effectively limit it to contacts, select contacts, or let no one see it at all.
We’ve been tracking WhatsApp’s Last Seen status hiding in development since last November.
Hiding online status will obviously be an attractive option for those that already keep their last seen status secret and it will finally allow them to go full stealth mode on the platform, free from nosy family members.
While this change is welcome, we do wish users could narrow down the subset of those who can see their online status from those that can see their Last Seen status. Not all close relationships are the same, after all.
That said, there’s no ETA as to when this feature can be expected to make it to the stable version of WhatsApp — it’s currently under development and is yet to even see the beta channel, so we’re guessing it’s going to take a few months .