WhatsApp is working on a new privacy feature it should have had years ago

WhatsApp logo on Android
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp has been spotted developing a new privacy feature that will allow you to hide your online status.
  • The feature has been tested on iOS, but it is safe to assume that it will also be available on Android when it goes live.
  • It will complement a recent update to WhatsApp's "last seen" functionality.

WhatsApp already allows you to hide your "last seen" status from people you've never chatted with, but an upcoming change could take that privacy feature a step further.

The Meta-owned messaging platform is working on a stealth mode that will allow you to limit who can see when you're online. The upcoming capability, discovered by WABetaInfo, has been spotted on WhatsApp's iOS version, but it's a safe bet it will also be available on WhatsApp for Android and the web.

As seen in the screenshot below, the upcoming feature will let you open the app without being noticed by anyone, depending on your preferences. You should be able to hide your online status from the same people you hide your last seen status from. Likewise, you may also hide it from anyone.

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

It will be a welcome addition to WhatsApp's recent tweak to its last seen feature, allowing you to prevent strangers from seeing when you last used the app. By default, your "last seen" privacy setting is set to be visible only to your contacts.

That said, you can choose to allow everyone, your contacts, or specific people to see when you were last online, as well as your profile photo, about section, or status.

There's no word on when the new option will be available on one of the best messaging apps. When it goes live, you should be able to find it in the same privacy settings section where you can find your last seen status options.

Although it is a little late, the upcoming privacy feature should prevent your nosy friends from creeping up on you when using WhatsApp.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.