GONE are the days where you can see a message pop up and ignore it without the person knowing you had been in the app.
WhatsApp, the most popular messenger in the UK, has a feature designed specifically for this.
In the privacy settings, users have the option of controlling who can see their last seen and online times[/caption]
What does Last Seen mean on WhatsApp?
WhatsApp’s Last Seen feature tells you the last time your contact was actively using the app.
It also has a feature that tells you if the user is online.
When you are in a one to one conversation with someone on WhatsApp, you may see underneath their name the message “last seen” and a time.
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If they opened the app within the last 24 hours you will see the exact time they used the app, or a date if they have not used WhatsApp in that time.
WhatsApp also tells you when someone is typing their message to you.
It’s important to note that you can control whether this information is public, however.
In the privacy settings, users have the option of choosing who can see their last seen and online times.
The company has said in its FAQ that people may find they cannot see a contact’s last seen, which may be for one of a few reasons:
- They might have set their privacy settings to hide this information
- You might have your privacy settings set to not show your last seen. If you do not share yours, you cannot see other people’s
- You might have been blocked
- You might not have chatted with them before
- They may not have you saved as a contact
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How to turn off Last Seen
If this feature fills you with dread, fear not.
Meta, who now owns WhatsApp, last year announced three privacy-focused features to the service – one of which sought to ease people’s concerns.
One feature now lets users pick specific people from their contact list who can see when they were ‘last seen’.
To turn off your last seen you can go into your settings in WhatsApp.
- Android: Tap more options > Settings > Privacy
- iPhone: Tap the settings icon in the bottom right corner > Account > privacy
- Desktop: Click menu > settings > privacy
Once you are inside your privacy settings you should see “Last Seen & Online”.
After selecting that option, your screen will show you the various options of who can see your last seen status – including nobody.
Depending on your selections you will be able to tweak your settings so that only your chosen contacts see when you were last using the app, or nobody can.
WhatsApp – a quick history
Here's what you need to know…
- WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
- It’s one of the most popular messaging services in the world
- Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”
- After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
- It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
- Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
- The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
- As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally