Social norms on WhatsApp are complicated. You’re probably afraid that someone knows that they saw you ‘checking them out’. Don’t worry, you’re in the safe zone.
If you check the ‘Last seen’ status of someone on WhatsApp, the WhatsApp contact is not able to see that. The other person will only be able to see when you were last seen online on WhatsApp yourself.
If you would like to hide your own ‘Last seen’ status on Whatsapp, change the privacy settings on your app. Please note: this will also remove the ‘Last seen’ status for all of your contacts.
How The ‘Last Seen’ Status On WhatsApp Works
The main purpose of the ‘Last seen’ function is to know how long ago a WhatsApp contact was online on the app. If your friend, colleague, or a family member hasn’t been using the chat app for a while, the ‘Last seen’ status will gradually change:
- Today at [time]
- Yesterday at [time]
- Tuesday at [time]
- November 11, at [time]
The longer someone has not logged into WhatsApp, the further back the ‘Last seen’ status will be pushed. The ‘Last seen’ status will be reset as soon as someone goes ‘Online’ again.
The ‘Online’ status will indicate when a person last opened their WhatsApp account. Even if it was just for split second. If they haven’t hidden their last seen online status, you’ll be able to check when they last used their chat app.
Will Someone Know I Checked Them Out On WhatsApp?
It’s not possible for WhatsApp contacts to know when you last viewed a conversation. So you’re free to check out the previous chat messages as much as you want, without the other person knowing.
The only thing that will be visible to the other person, is when you yourself were ‘Last seen’ on WhatsApp.
If your WhatsApp contact has been online recently but hasn’t read your message (no blue checkmarks visible next to your last messages), they haven’t opened your chat screen yet.
However, they might have read the push notification already, and ignored the messages thus far. Make sure to give the other person some time to respond. They might be busy with something (or someone) else.
Last Seen Status Not Showing
It’s possible that the ‘Last seen’ status is no longer showing up. Don’t panic, there can be multiple reasons why the status has been removed:
- Your WhatsApp contact has activated their ‘Privacy’ settings to hide their ‘Online’ status;
- You have activated your own ‘Privacy’ settings to hide your ‘Online’ status;
- Your Wi-Fi or mobile data connection is currently not working;
- WhatsApp servers are currently unresponsive;
- You have been blocked.
If someone has decided to delete their WhatsApp account or has turned off their phone, the ‘Last seen’ status will generally remain visible. However, any messages sent will no longer deliver successfully. In this case, only one checkmark will show next to your messages.
If messages do not send, the person can also have WiFi or mobile data problems, or you might have been blocked. Give it some time, and don’t stress it!
Explore The WhatsApp Privacy Settings
If you’d like to explore the Privacy options that WhatsApp has to offer, feel free to dive into the settings. To do this, tap on the three vertical dots in the top right, and choose ‘Settings’ > ‘Account’ > ‘Privacy’.
This is also the place where you can change your own ‘Last seen’ status. As explained, activating this setting for yourself will hide when you were last ‘Online’, but it will also hide it for all your other contacts.
However, there are a lot of other privacy settings you might find interesting. If you’re concerned about other people knowing what you’re doing on WhatsApp, this could be quite helpful. For example, you’d be able to change the following privacy settings:
- Who can see your ‘Profile photo’
- Who can see your ‘About’ description
- Who can see your ‘Status’
- Turn off your read receipts (blue checkmarks) for one-on-one conversations
- Who can add you to ‘Group chats’
- Turn off your ‘Live location’
Can You Be Spied On Through WhatsApp?
According to WhatsApp, the app “secures your conversations with end-to-end encryption. This means your messages, calls, and status updates stay between you and the people you choose. Not even WhatsApp can read or listen to them“.
It’s highly unlikely your WhatsApp account information will ever fall into the wrong hands. Someone would need to physically steal your phone to access your messages. And yes, that includes the FBI and even Facebook.
Want to learn more about the end-to-end encryption security measures that have been taken? Check out the official WhatsApp security page here. And feel free to share your personal experiences with WhatsApp privacy in the discussion below this article. Talk to you there!