How to hide your online status on WhatsApp for more privacy

WhatsApp logo on iPhone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You might be wondering how to hide your online status on WhatsApp if you’re looking to bump up your privacy settings on the app (and perhaps keep any nosy contacts at bay).

WhatsApp online status enables users to see the last time their contacts were active on the app and whether they are currently using it. If you’re a regular user of the platform, you’ve likely already spotted the login status next to the names of some of your contacts.

By default, WhatsApp makes your online status visible to everyone. In fact, you can appear online when you open up the app for only a second or two. 

For various reasons, however, you might not like the idea of people knowing exactly when you’re active. Particularly if you’re not available to chat or you want to protect your privacy by staying ‘invisible’.

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to sort this.

If you don’t fancy your WhatsApp contacts knowing when you last saw a message or whether you’re online or not, you can hide your status from everyone, make it available to only your own contacts or exclude specific contacts from seeing it.

It’s worth noting though that if you choose not to share your Last Seen and Online status on WhatsApp, you won’t be able to see other people’s either.

The steps to hiding your online status are simple. And once you’ve mastered this, you might also want to learn how to turn off read receipts on WhatsApp to be even more incognito.

How to hide your online status on WhatsApp

  1. Open WhatsApp > Settings
  2. Go to Privacy > Last Seen & Online
  3. Choose how you want to hide your Last Seen status
  4. Choose how you want to hide your Online status

Read on to see more detailed instructions for each step.

1. Open WhatsApp > Settings

(Image: © Future)

Open WhatsApp and tap Settings on the bottom right-hand side.

2. Go to Privacy > Last Seen & Online

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tap Privacy then click Last Seen & Online.

3. Choose how you want to hide your Last Seen Status

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tick Nobody or My Contacts or My Contacts Except... followed by selecting the specific contact(s) you’d like to hide your status from. Note that the settings you enable in this section will also mirror who can see your Online status on WhatsApp too (as per the next step).

4. Choose how you want to hide your Online status

(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tick Same as Last Seen.

There you go – now you know how to hide your online status on WhatsApp, as well as your Last Seen status, too.

Speaking of WhatsApp privacy, if you’re looking to get back in touch and reconnect with one of your contacts after blocking them, learn how to unblock in WhatsApp using our guide. If you’re particularly curious, you can check to see if you’ve been blocked by someone as well. Find out by reading how to tell if you’ve been blocked on WhatsApp. We also have guides on how to use WhatsApp group video calling, how to use WhatsApp on Apple Watch and how to make Voice Calls on WhatsApp.

From Telegram to Google Messages, there are also a number of brilliant WhatsApp alternatives which can offer you a welcome change of scenery. Check out the best WhatsApp alternatives for 2023 to find out more.

Elle Redman

Elle is a freelance journalist specialising in tech, lifestyle, travel, wellbeing, and social change. In 2022, she moved from Wales to sunny Provence, France, to join the team at Voyage Privé as UK Content Editor, where she writes and edits luxury travel content and oversees the business’ social media platforms for the UK market. As a writer, her work has been published in various titles including Culture Trip, Breathe, Happiful, Planet Mindful, The Mirror, Western Mail and WalesOnline amongst others. Outside of work, you’ll usually find her travelling around, drinking copious cups of tea, and taking photos on her trusty old film camera.