WhatsApp already allows hiding the Last Seen indicator, such as for unknown contacts or manually ticked contacts. Soon, you will also be able to hide your online/offline indicator, making you ‘invisible’ to other WhatsApp users.
This kind of functionality is not exactly new, representing one of the favorite ways of “operating” for veterans who knew Yahoo Messenger, the ancestor of today’s instant messaging platforms. Once checked, only “insiders” could determine whether or not you were “on the receiving end,” using various tools that exploited the platform’s security loopholes to decipher users who had their invisible mode set. The main advantage was that you could read incoming messages without the sender automatically noticing, leaving you to decide when or if you wanted to reply.
Apparently, the same modus operandi will be possible on WhatsApp, reigniting long-forgotten intrigues about the “attitude” of users who see but don’t want to reply, or hide their activity late at night.
However, to get full “invisibility” on WhatsApp you’ll have to tick a few more options than on the old YM, starting with the group of people you want to hide the Last Seen indicator from. The good news is that the Online indicator will be able to be hidden either for everyone, or for groups of contacts already ticked to omit the Last Seen indicator. This way, you’ll be able to be both Visible and Invisible on WhatsApp, depending on the person or group of people you’re interested in.
Important to know, once you tick any of the above settings, you will also not be able to see the activity status of the contacts you are trying to hide from, as WhatsApp administrators introduced this limitation to discourage misuse. For example, without this limitation, a contact in your WhatsApp list could be set to Invisible mode and notice when you are active on the platform, without you even knowing that the person is online.
In testing since November, the option to hide the Last Seen indicator is not yet available to all WhatsApp users. It is likely that the setting will appear in the same settings menu, along with the option to hide the Online indicator, in a future version of the WhatsApp client for Android and iOS.