Instant messaging services often offer online presence or last seen status or even read receipts. Here’s how to handle them.
Knowing when someone was last online in an app tells you whether or not they’re available to chat, and it can also let you know if they’re ignoring your messages or just haven’t had a chat yet. time to see them. But if you don’t like that status is visible to your contacts, it is possible to deactivate the option.
There is, however, often a trade-off: if you don’t want your contacts to be able to see when you’re online or when messages have been read, then you won’t be able to see their status or read read receipts either. That might be an acceptable compromise if it means people won’t be able to tell when you’re on your phone or not.
In the mobile app, tap Settings (iOS) or the three small dots in the upper right corner, then Settings (Android). Next, select Account, Privacy, and Seen. There, four options: Everyone, My contacts, My contacts except… and No one. You can choose to share your status with a number of people via the My Contacts option except…
The iMessage platform in Messages on iPhone doesn’t broadcast your online or offline status to your contacts like other instant messaging apps, but it does have read receipts. From iOS Settings, you can select Messages and then turn off Send Read Receipts. You can also do this for individual chats by tapping the screen at the very top of a chat to turn off the Send read receipts option.
Google Chat does the opposite of iMessage on this topic: there’s no setting to control read receipts, but you can let your contacts know your status. Open the mobile app, tap the three little lines in the upper left corner and select your status. Several options are available to you: Active, Automatic (based on your activity), Away or even a personalized status.
In the main list of conversations in the Facebook Messenger app on your phone, tap on your profile picture (top left) then Online Status: You then only have an option “Indicate when you are online” . This applies to all devices where you have Facebook or Facebook Messenger installed, but turning it off doesn’t affect messaging or your activity on Facebook.
Like other Facebook (now Meta) apps, Instagram shows your online status and when you were last seen online by default. To change this, tap on your profile picture in the mobile app (bottom right), then on the three small lines (top right), Settings, Privacy and finally Online Status. There, only one option “Show online status” to hide or not said status. Very similar to Facebook Messenger.
Signal does not show your contacts when you were last online and if you are currently online, to maintain user privacy. However, it does offer read receipts, which can give an indication of when the app was last opened. If you don’t want it, tap the three little dots (top right) in the app, then select Settings and Privacy. You can then turn off Read Receipts and Typing Indicators in your chats.
If you use Telegram, in the mobile app, go to Settings by tapping on the three small lines in the upper left corner of the main screen. Then choose Privacy and Security to find Last Seen and Online option. Your choices are: Everyone, Contacts, Nobody. You can also opt for the Never share with option and select those who should never see this indication.