What Is Online On WhatsApp

We have all heard about the WhatsApp online status. After all, the app has been around since 2009 and has played a vital role in the emergence of Instant messaging apps as well as encryption. But how many of us have actually stopped to think what that online status actually means? Well, today we are going to set the record straight. In this article, we will cover what the online status on WhatsApp really indicates and how you can turn it off.

Where does the online status of a person appear?

Unlike Facebook or any other social media apps, WhatsApp does not have an indicator on the home page itself that lets users know who is online and who isn’t. Instead, you need to enter a person’s chat window to find out. The online status of the person is listed below their name in their chat window.

Related: How to use WhatsApp for to-do lists, notes, and a diary

Does online on WhatsApp mean they are talking to someone?

This is the most common assumption when dealing with online statuses. The online status on WhatsApp indicates that the user is currently using the app. It means that the app is running in the foreground and has an active internet connection. However, it does not necessarily mean that the user is chatting with someone.

The online status will appear even if the user has left WhatsApp on and their screen is on. Even if the user is simply on the chats page and scrolling through various chats, the user will be displayed online.

Is WhatsApp’s Online Status accurate?

WhatsApp’s online status is actually quite accurate. The app will show a user online only if they are actively using the app. If you close the app or even minimize it to open another app, you will go offline on WhatsApp.

That being said, the app does take a few seconds to reflect the change. Usually, this is in the range of 2 to 3 seconds after the person has closed the app. So they may appear online if they have just closed the app 2 to 3 seconds prior.

Can you appear online on WhatsApp when you are not?

Well, not really. As mentioned above WhatsApp takes a few seconds to reflect your status on the app. So you may appear online for a few seconds after you close the app. However, there is no way to stay online for a prolonged period of time without actively keeping the app running in the foreground.

Who can see if I’m online on WhatsApp?

While WhatsApp does let you choose the audience for your ‘Last seen’ notification, there is no way to disable your ‘Online status’ on WhatsApp. Your online status is visible to everyone that you add to your contacts. That does not just include WhatsApp contacts but your phone contacts, since WhatsApp syncs with your phone contact list.

Users that you have not added yet will not be able to view your online status unless they have messaged you. If a user messages you, and you do not block them (WhatsApp offers you an option to block a message from an unknown number), then they can view your online status on the app.

How do you know if someone stalks you on WhatsApp?

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if someone is stalking you on the app by checking your online status. WhatsApp does not notify users when someone views their online status or even their chats. If you have ‘Read receipts’ on though, you can tell if a person is currently on your conversation page because the message you send will immediately get blue ticks.

Will they know if I check their WhatsApp last seen status often?

No. There is no way for a user to find out how many times you view their last seen or even their online status. WhatsApp does not notify users when their status is being viewed. However, if you are viewing a person’s last seen status, that means you are currently on the app and will show up as ‘Online’.

How to turn off ‘Last seen’ on WhatsApp

WhatsApp lets you hide your ‘Last seen’ status on the app. However, it should be noted that when you do, you too cannot view other user’s ‘Last seen’ status.

To turn off your ‘Last seen’ on WhatsApp, launch the app on your device and tap the three dots in the top right corner. Go to ‘Settings’.

Now go to Account > Privacy and tap ‘Last seen’.

Change the setting to ‘Nobody’.

What happens when you turn off ‘Last seen’ on WhatsApp

When you turn off the ‘Last seen’ status on your account, users will no longer be able to view the ‘Last seen’ notification under your name. You, in turn, will no longer be able to view other users’ ‘Last seen’ status either.

However, this setting does not affect the user’s online status. You will still appear online each time you actively use the app. As soon as you go offline, your status will disappear.

Related: How to create a WhatsApp chat or group chat with yourself

How can I be invisible on WhatsApp?

Well, if you’re thinking that you completely hide your online status, that isn’t possible on WhatsApp. As mentioned above, there is no way to hide your online status. What you can do, however, is turn off your Read receipts as well as Last seen. Turning off your Read receipts will mean users will not be able to see blue ticks when you have read their messages. Use the guide above to set your Last seen to ‘Nobody’.

To turn off your ‘Read receipts’ on WhatsApp, launch the app on your device and tap the three dots in the top right corner. Go to ‘Settings’.

Now go to Account > Privacy and toggle ‘Read receipts’ off.

It should be noted that Read receipts cannot be turned off for Group chats on WhatsApp.

Related: WhatsApp QR code for contacts: How to add a contact easily by scanning a code

How do you know if someone is online on WhatsApp without opening the chat?

Well, there is a trick you can use if you do not want to alert the person by opening their chat. This way you can check if a person is online and even see when they were Last seen on the app.

To check someone’s online status without opening their chat, launch the WhatsApp app, and locate the chat in the list. Now long press on their chat. Tap the three dots that appear in the top right corner and select ‘View Contact’.

Under the person’s profile photo, you can see their Online status or Last seen.

Does WhatsApp show online status when in the background?

No. For WhatsApp to display your online status you must be actively using the app. The app must be running in the foreground with your screen on. You should also have an active internet connection. If you run the app in the foreground but without an internet connection, you will not show up as Online.

Even if you minimize the WhatsApp app or simply switch to another app, your online status will not be maintained.

Does WhatsApp Web keep your status online even if the mobile app is closed?

WhatsApp Web lets you access your WhatsApp messages from your PC. You can use it right in a browser, or download and use the Windows app. WhatsApp Web behaves in a very similar manner to the mobile app. When WhatsApp Web is actively running in the foreground it will display your status as Online. But as soon as you minimize the app or switch to another app in the foreground, your online status will change to Last seen.

Related: How to use WhatsApp Web

WhatsApp Web will keep your online status active even if you close the mobile app on your phone. Your Last seen will depend on which app you had opened last. WhatsApp has fixed the bug that caused WhatsApp Web to keep your status showing Online even when the Web app was minimized.

We hope this article helped. If you have any queries, feel free to reach out to us in the comments below.



  1. Hi there, small correction: the “online” status stays for 15 secs after closing app and 2-3 secs as noted.

    1. Hi there, small correction: the “online” status stays for 15 secs after closing app and not 2-3 secs as noted.

  2. Hi there, small correction: the “online” status stays for 15 secs after closing app and not 2-3 secs as noted.

  3. WhatsApp can display online when in the background, too. Try on an iphone. Switch airplane mode on>open WhatsApp>close WhatsApp off>airplane mode off>check active status on another phone it’ll show the last seen as when airplane mode was on. 🤯

  4. I really enjoy reading the info given.
    But I just want to know …if I send.someone a.message on whatsapp and it gets 1 tick. ..is it that the person is on whatsapp web…and will their online be seen on their chat on phone also.

  5. If I open WhatsApp and then close it in less that a second, will it say I was online? Like will my last seen be the time I quickly opened and closed it?

  6. This is inaccurate. My wife and I have proven time and again that the online indication is broken. We will be video chatting with family on her phone and she can click on my messages and it shows me online…but my phone is sitting on the table,screen off. Even if Whatsapp is closed, I have to swipe it away in the ‘recent apps’ screen before I no longer show online. Occasionally, I have to actually reopen Whatsapp then swipe it away in the ‘recent apps’ screen before I fully disappear from Whatsapp.

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