WhatsApp is rolling out one of the best privacy features, giving you more control over who can see your information on WhatsApp. This new privacy feature hides your “last seen” status from people you don’t know or haven’t chatted with in the app.
Previously, WhatsApp set this privacy feature on “Everyone” by default, allowing anyone on WhatsApp to see your last seen status. But with this WhatsApp’s new update, the visibility of your status is limited to only the people you’ve added to the platform and sets the feature to “My Contacts” by default instead.
The “My Contacts” option for your “last seen” status was already available, but it’s never been the default on the app. It’s also worth noting that WhatsApp already has a “Nobody” option as well, preventing all users from seeing your status. Your status on WhatsApp lets other contacts know when you were online last, or if you’re currently using the app. While this may seem like a harmless way to keep track of your friends and family (and vice versa).
WABetaInfo explains the reason for the update- “Maybe you don’t know, but if you visit the App Store or the Google Play Store you can find some third-party apps that are able to exploit this feature by logging in the last seen and the online status of select contacts. People use these apps to stalk other WhatsApp users, so they know when other people were online, but this was the only information they were able to get as an app isn’t considered one of your contacts, and therefore, it won’t be able to see your status.” Therefore Turning on the “My Contacts” options prevents third-party apps from logging your online status.
Recently, the messaging app has been adding features to its app on both the desktop and web. Most of these added features are geared to secure users’ privacy like the introduction of an option to make its disappearing messaging feature default.
This isn’t the only change WhatsApp is making to its “last seen” status. In November, WABetaInfo found that the messaging app began testing an option on WhatsApp beta for Android 188.8.131.52, called “My Contacts Except … which lets users hide their status from certain contacts. WhatsApp is gradually enabling the feature for specific beta testers, and more activations will be following after installing the next updates.
Thanks to the latest improvements to protect users, WhatsApp doesn’t show up the last seen and the online status if you have never chatted with another WhatsApp account. Since those third-party apps don’t have an active chat with you, they cannot see when you are online. If you cannot see the last seen of some contacts you already chat with, it’s because they have enabled the privacy setting “My Contacts Except…”, available to some users on WhatsApp beta for Android and WhatsApp beta for iOS, excluding you to see their last seen.
This feature to hide Last Seen by Default is currently on the latest update enabled for all WhatsApp for both Android and iOS users.