You'll never be able to ignore a text again! WhatsApp update tells contacts if you've recently opened the app

a person in silhouette holds a smartphone with the whatsapp logo on screen

WhatsApp will reveal to your friends and family if you've recently launched the app on your iPhone, Android, Mac, or Windows

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 03/05/2024

- 04:31

WhatsApp is testing a new "recently online" section

  • WhatsApp beta reveals new "Recently Online" category
  • It'll inform friends and family who opened the app at a glance

WhatsApp is trialling a new feature that'll inform friends and family if you've recently opened the chat app.

screenshot of new menu in the contacts app with recently online section for contacts

WhatsApp is trialling a new feature that'll tell friends and family whether you were recently online — removing the ability to open the app to reply to some messages ...but not all


Contacts will be categorised under a new "Recently Online" banner if they've had the messaging platform open on their iPhone, Android, Windows, or Mac in the last few minutes.

Highlighting people who have recently been active means you could be more likely to get a timely response, which WhatsApp clearly hopes will encourage more conversations.

The feature isn't yet available globally, but it is being tested in early beta versions of the messaging service on iOS and Android. The tweak was spotted by the eagle-eyed team at WABetaInfo, which reports on incoming features found in beta versions of the chat app.

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app on the planet, with over 2.5 billion users worldwide.

The new "Recently Online" section in the Contacts menu isn't the only new tweak being tested by WhatsApp to facilitate new conversations. WhatsApp will suggest starting a conversation with someone from your contacts that you have not chatted with, code scoured by WABetaInfo suggests.

WhatsApp has long shown users when a contact was last connected to the internet — or if they're currently active on the platform, this appears within individual conversations with the status "online" or "last seen" underneath the name of the person.

In its support documentation, WhatsApp describes the feature: "Last seen and online tells you if a contact is online and the last time they used WhatsApp. If a contact is online, they have WhatsApp open on their device and are connected to the Internet. However, this doesn’t mean the contact has read your message."

It's possible to disable this feature by heading to Settings > Privacy, then tap Last Seen And Online, then choose from the options of who can see this information — Everyone, My Contacts, My Contacts Except…, or Nobody.


According to the team at WABetaInfo, if you've disabled Last Seen And Online, you automatically will not appear in the "Recently Online" section in WhatsApp.

Of course, there's no guarantee that WhatsApp will launch this feature globally. The company, which is owned by Meta — the same parent company behind Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, regularly trials new features and functionality in beta releases that never make it into the final version of the app.

It comes as WhatsApp rolled out the ability to protect conversations with a passkey — a secure alternative to a password, which is also now available in X, formerly Twitter.

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