WhatsApp privacy change limits who gets to see your “last seen” status by default

The WhatsApp last seen feature is now set to “My Contacts” by default, preventing strangers you haven’t chatted with from seeing this information in the app.

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  • WhatsApp now hides “last seen” status from strangers by default
  • The change sets your “last seen” status to “My Contacts”
  • Before the change, it was set to “Everyone” by default

Hiding WhatsApp “last seen” status from strangers

It means your “last seen” status is no longer visible to people whose mobile number isn’t saved in the stock Contacts app or those you haven’t chatted with on WhatsApp at all.

“To improve the privacy and security of our users, we are making it harder for people you don’t know and haven’t chatted with from seeing your ‘last seen’ status and online presence on WhatsApp,” the company’s support team wrote on Twitter.

It would be even better if your friends couldn’t see that your “last seen” privacy setting has changed. WhatsApp thought about that, too. “This will not change anything between you and your friends, family and businesses who you know or have previously messaged.”

Before this change, the feature was set to “Everyone” by default which allowed all WhatsApp users to see your status—whether you had their contact information saved or have exchanged messages with them at least once in the app.

Even though WhatsApp now defaults your “last seen” status to “Everyone” by default, you can change that setting at any time. WhatsApp’s privacy settings provide the option to control who can see your “last seen” status.

How to change your WhatsApp “last seen” status

Visit the WhatsApp privacy settings to change who can see your “last seen” status.

  1. Launch WhatsApp on your iPhone
  2. Choose “Settings” in the tab area at the bottom
  3. Select “Account”
  4. Choose “Privacy” from the list
  5. Touch “Last Seen” and then choose with whom to share this information
  • Everyone: Share your “last seen” status with anyone on WhatsApp
  • My Contacts: Only share this information with those saved in Contacts
  • Nobody: Do not share your “last seen” status with anyone

For further information, read a WhatsApp support document.

Why am I not seeing a contact’s “last seen” status?

There are a few reasons why you may be unable to see a person’s “last seen” status.

If a contact has set their privacy settings to hide this information, you won’t see it. Another reason: You might have been blocked. Also, keep in mind that there’s reciprocity involved here—if you choose not to share your own “last seen” status, then you cannot see other contacts’ one. Read: How to check if a phone number is on WhatsApp