WhatsApp has introduced a number of privacy-oriented changes and features over the years. From the ability to disable your read receipts, or blue ticks, to even hiding your profile picture from certain or all contacts. However, one aspect of WhatsApp has not changed for a long time and that is the ‘Online’ indicator that pops under your name/number on others’ devices every time you open the app and use it.
Now, it seems WhatsApp is finally working on this, and may introduce a change to the app in the future that lets you turn off the ‘Online’ status indicator entirely, letting you open the app whenever you want, without letting your friends, family, colleagues or pretty much anyone finding out.
A new report by WABetaInfo, which has had a good track record of predicting WhatsApp’s upcoming features, has suggested that the platform is working on a feature that will let WhatsApp users control who can see their online status.
As seen in the screenshot shared above, WhatsApp will let you choose between two settings for your ‘Online’ indicator. You will be able to either set it to ‘Everyone’ which will let everyone see you when you’re online (unless they are blocked) and then there is the ‘Same as Last Seen’ option that will show your ‘Online’ indicator to only those who have permission to see your Last Seen indicator.
Depending on how you set your ‘Last Seen’, your ‘Online’ status will also be available to more or fewer people. For instance, if you set your ‘Last Seen’ to ‘Nobody’ and ‘Online’ status to ‘Same as Last Seen’, no one will be able to see both your ‘Last Seen’ and ‘Online’ indicators.
The report adds that while the screenshot is taken on iOS, the feature will eventually come to Android and Desktop users as well. Note that the feature is in development, so there is no telling how long it will take. The implementation will first come to beta users, and stable users should get the update after any bugs are ironed out.