Most modern messaging clients make it easy to see when your friends were last online. It’s a helpful clue, letting you know if you should expect a quick response. Not everyone needs to know you were up until 4 AM the previous night, though. WhatsApp is about to make it a lot easier to manage who can and can’t see your profile information, including the last time you logged on.
As spotted by WABetaInfo, new privacy tools are in development to allow control over exactly who can see parts of your profile. Currently, “Last Seen,” “Profile Picture,” and “About” can either be seen by everyone, your contacts, or no one at all. There are no customizable options here, which keep things pretty strict compared to other messaging apps. Those limitations will be lifted soon, as WhatsApp is currently testing the ability to exclude specific contacts from seeing your status.
With this option, you’ll be able to hide your “Last Seen” time from a handful of people without disabling it altogether. This option will also support profile photos and bios, providing much more control over privacy than previously offered. Disabling “Last Seen” will remain a two-way street — if you hide it from a group of people in your contacts list, WhatsApp will hide their information in return.
Although the feature was spotted on iOS, it’s slated to come to all smartphones whenever it’s ready for primetime. As helpful as “Last Seen” can be, it can also open up pathways for potential abuse, so it’s great to see WhatsApp making its privacy options much more flexible.