Hiding WhatsApp Last Seen Timestamp **UPDATE 11**
WhatsApp has got to be one of our favourite and most used app. However, we get this question all the time – how do I hide my WhatsApp Last Seen Timestamp? Surprisingly, this is of concern to a lot of people for privacy reasons. There was not official way of disabling it and showing your last online time became a necessary evil of using Whatsapp.
Well finally there is a way! The latest version of WhatsApp 2.8.1 gives you the power to control this setting. All you need to do is go to Setting>Chat settings>Advanced and switch Last Seen Timestamp to OFF and you’re done. It takes up to 24 hours for last seen change to take effect apparently, and you can only toggle once in a 24 hour timeframe. We haven’t tested this yet so please let us know if the 24 hour limit is really a hard limit!
This update is free of charge and is available in the AppStore.
EDIT – Seems like a lot of people have the settings confused so here are some screen shots to clarify. Note that this is a from an iPhone 4S using version 2.8.3:
EDIT2 – We have just tested this with a Samsung Galaxy S3 using Whatsapp version 2.8.1504. Contrary to what some Android users have told us, we can confirm that the ‘Last Seen Timestamp’ toggle DOES NOT currently exist in the Android version. Hopefully a future update will include this much needed feature for the Android users. In the meantime, if anyone has any news or further workarounds please keep them coming!
EDIT3 – If Blackberry users can also confirm this setting that would be great!
EDIT4 – We have done even more testing and it seems the Android Whatsapp version 2.8.1504 behaviour is actually different to the iPhone. Even though the Android version does not have the ‘Last Seen Timestamp’ toggle, it behaves similar to an iPhone with the setting turned off! It will show if a user is online and it will show the Last Seen Timestamp momentarily when the user goes offline, but after approximately 3-5 mins (the actual time varies for some reason) the Last Seen Timestamp disappears completely. This behaviour is consistent across other Android phones or the iPhone.
In summary, we understand the behaviour to be 1 of the following 5 conditions:
1. Two Android users will not see each other’s Last Seen Timestamp after several minutes of exiting Whatsapp, the Timestamp will be blank.
2. An Android user will not see an iPhone user’s Last Seen Timestamp after several minutes of exiting Whatsapp, and vice versa, the Timestamp will be blank.
3. Two iPhone users with their Last Seen Timestamp turned OFF will not see each other’s Last Seen Timestamp after several minutes of exiting Whatsapp, the Timestamp will be blank.
4. An iPhone user with their Last Seen Timestamp turned OFF messaging another iPhone user with their Last Seen Timestamp turned ON will not see each other’s Last Seen Timestamp after several minutes of exiting Whatsapp, the Timestamp will be blank.
5. Two iPhone users with their Last Seen Timestamp turned ON will always see each other’s Last Seen Timestamp.
EDIT5 01/10/2012 – There has been a number of reports from numerous users in the last several hours saying that their Last Seen Timestamp behaviour has changed without them doing anything. For most users, the Last Seen Timestamp has disappear all together even though they have not changed the Last Seen Timestamp toggle. For other, random and incorrect Last Seen Timestamps are showing for certain contacts. We confirm these reports are consistent with the behaviour on all the test devices we have. This suggests that something has changed on the WhatsApp server side. As far as we know, this ‘bug’ is affecting all WhatsApp users on all platforms, (including Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows 8 etc) and all handset manufacturers (including Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, Blackberry, Nokia etc). We are hoping this is a temporary issue and not an intentional change from WhatsApp. We are investigating this and will give you an update as soon as we have more information.
EDIT6 01/10/20 – WhatsApp seems to have fixed the bug which prevented all users from seeing the Last Seen Timestamp after close to 20 hours of outage. Please continue to report any abnormalities if you notice anything.
EDIT7 01/10/2012 – The Last Seen Timestamp is back for most people but there are still report of inaccuracies in the time for some (not all). Please let us know your findings so we can more accurately pinpoint the issue.
EDIT8 20/11/2012 – Last few days there have been reports of incorrect Last Seen Timestamps, especially when contacts leave Whatsapp for more than 30 mins. Whatsapp seems to be reverting to previous Last Seen Timestamps. For example, you have a conversation with Mary in the morning and the Last Seen Timestamp for Mary is 6:08am. Later that afternoon you continue to chat to Mary and the Last Seen Timestamp is correct and up to date all afternoon. Mary goes into a meeting for 2 hours and suddenly the Last Seen Timestamp reverts back to 6:08am. This is a current bug with Whatsapp servers and affects all platforms and devices.
EDIT9 21/11/2012 – As of this morning reports from users are that the Last Seen Timestamp is back to normal. If it still isn’t working for you still please let us know so we can look into it further! (Apparently, this issue is still affect a limited number of users as of 2:00pm GMT +10)
EDIT10 15/12/2012 – Still no Last Seen Timestamp toggle on the latest version of WhatsApp 2.8.7345 on Blackberry devices. iOS is still the only platform with the toggle.
EDIT11 16/12/2012 – There have been numerous reports from Android and Blackberry users that the Last Seen Timestamp is not working as of last night.
No reports from iOS users though. iPhone users have also reported this problem so it is at least affect some iPhone users. If this is affecting you please leave a message so we can help.