When you use WhatsApp, your online status can reveal whether you’re available to chat. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to hide your online status while chatting on WhatsApp, so other people don’t know if you’re available or not. If you want more privacy while using WhatsApp and want to ensure others can’t see that you’re online, this post will show you how to hide WhatsApp online while chatting.
How To Hide WhatsApp Online While Chatting
- Hiding your WhatsApp status with incognito mode
WhatsApp comes with some privacy options that you can use to hide your status. You just need to make sure you’re using a browser or incognito mode. In private browsing, your web activity is not recorded on your computer and in incognito mode, it’s not recorded in your history on your device.
So when you are chatting with someone, they won’t know if you are active or currently typing a message. What they will see is that you disappeared from their chat window for several minutes and have now come back online. That gives you time to read messages without them knowing whether you were reading them.
This way, they don’t get an impression of how often you check your messages and thus how much time you spend on WhatsApp. To do so:
- Go into settings.
- Tap on account.
- Privacy settings.
- Hide my online status (Last Seen).
- Last, switch off show last seen (online) timestamp. Then click save changes at the bottom of your screen.
And Voila! No one will be able to tell whether you are active or currently typing a message.
- Disabling app notifications on Android
When someone sends you a message through WhatsApp, your Android device will typically alert you by emitting a sound or vibrating. But if you’re worried about your privacy, you can turn off notifications so that no one knows when you get new messages.
Just go into Settings, and then select Apps—there should be an entry for WhatsApp; tap it, and then find Notification Access in Settings and toggle off any entries that read Show notifications.
Note: Unfortunately, disabling notifications will also prevent other apps from sending push notifications to your phone unless you give them access manually. So after turning off all of WhatsApp’s permissions, go back into Settings > Apps > All Apps and scroll down until you see WhatsApp again.
Tap on it, and then toggle Allow Notifications on. This will allow other apps to send you notifications while still hiding your online status from WhatsApp. For example, you could use Gmail without worrying that people will know you just got a new email. You might have to do some digging in settings to figure out how to stop notifications from specific apps (like Gmail), but fortunately Google makes things pretty easy.
With these settings enabled, nobody will know when you are online or not online on WhatsApp (also known as Last Seen). You can still send and receive messages while hiding your status. And if someone sends you a message while you’re offline, they won’t get an error message saying that your account is turned off.
They will just see that they have delivered their message but no one has read it yet. This way, people won’t think that you have blocked them or that there is something wrong with your account. It also helps keep stalkers away because they won’t be able to tell if you have seen their messages.
- Going completely invisible with a VPN
For privacy, a Virtual Private Network is a must. ExpressVPN anonymizes all internet traffic by hiding your real IP address and assigning you a new one. This makes it nearly impossible for third parties, like hackers and advertisers, to snoop on your online activity.
When your connection has been secured with an encrypted protocol, all information transferred between you and those around you—financial details, business plans—are fully secure. The downside? Besides not being able to access content based on geographic location (thanks geo-blocks!), using too many VPNs at once can slow down your connection significantly.
So be selective about when you use one—and don’t forget about data caps! — but if you are looking for added security while browsing or downloading, a VPN is a great way to go. Plus, some providers offer stealth mode which disguises VPN traffic as regular HTTPS web traffic, so even more of your Internet usage remains private. With both a smartphone and computer to hide online status from prying eyes, there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel safe wherever you are.
- Turning off read receipts on Android
Read receipts are often a source of contention for couples. (What does it mean when you don’t read my text?) it’s tough to not read into them, especially if your partner is trying to communicate something more serious—like an upcoming break-up.
To switch off read receipts on Android: Open up your conversation and tap on three dots in the top right corner. Select settings then toggle off read receipts. Repeat for any other conversations that may need it. You can always add them back by revisiting each conversation separately and repeating these steps (though you’ll have to find it again under different names depending on which apps you use).
Or look at moving over to one of our secure texting apps instead! For iOS users,
- Go to Settings.
- Show Read Receipts and toggle it off.
For those who use Facebook Messenger or another app that has read receipts built in already, there isn’t an option to turn them off completely, but they can be tweaked so they’re less obvious. On Facebook Messenger open up Settings > Account Settings > Privacy > Toggle Read Receipts down so only you see them; repeat for any other messenger apps, too.
If you still want to know when someone’s seen your message but don’t want anyone else involved in a conversation seeing them either, send a double ping rather than just one notification: On Android go to Settings > Notifications > Messages and select Double Message Indicator; repeat for any other messenger apps, too.
On iPhone, go to Settings > Notifications > Messages and toggle Send Read Receipts on/off; repeat for any other messenger apps, too. This means you get notified once when someone opens your message, but won’t get a second ping, letting you know they’ve read it. It also means they won’t get notified that you’ve opened their message, which could lead to some awkward moments if both parties forget about doing it.
This article has shown you how to hide WhatsApp online while chatting. Alternatively, simply wait until later in the day before replying—there’s no way of knowing whether someone has read their messages unless they reply immediately, anyway.