What does Last Seen mean on WhatsApp?

WHATSAPP is one of the most popular messaging apps used worldwide.

Regardless of whether you are an avid Samsung user or an iPhone warrior, WhatsApp is universal and easy to use across different phone brands.

Whatsapp is changing privacy settings so that there are more options on who can see when they are online.

Whatsapp is changing privacy settings so that there are more options on who can see when they are online.Credit: AFP

What does Last Seen mean on WhatsApp?

Gone are the days where you could see a message pop up and ignore it without the person knowing you had been in the app.

To put it simply, Last Seen is the way in which the messaging app tells you the last time someone was actively using their service.

You can see the last time your Whatsapp contacts used the app or if they are currently online with this feature.

In the privacy settings, users have the option of controlling who can see their last seen and online times.

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.

If they had 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, and also when they are online.

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

How to turn off Last Seen

If this update fills you with dread, never fear! Back in August 2022 Meta, who now owns Whatsapp, announced three more privacy-focused features they were adding to the service.

One of the changes is that users can now 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.