WhatsApp Privacy Update Lets You Hide 'Last Seen' Status From Specific Contacts
WhatsApp is rolling out two new privacy updates this month, including the ability to adjust the visibility of your "Last Seen" status on a contact-by-contact basis, and a way to silently leave group chats without all members of the group being notified when you do.
As regular WhatsApp users will know, the "Last Seen" status of a contact sits atop the conversation thread, informing you when that contact last opened and was active on the app.
Currently, you can disable your "Last Seen" status so that other contacts can't see when you were last online, but the setting's options are limited to "Everyone," "My Contacts," and "Nobody," and there's no way to make exceptions for individual contacts.
But that's about to change. In the Privacy settings, WhatsApp is adding the option "My Contacts Except..." which will let you select specific contacts so that they don't see when the last time was that you were active on the messaging network.
The second privacy update is coming to group chats, or more specifically when you leave them. Traditionally, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public and potentially awkward.
WhatsApp officially allows up to 256 people to join a single chat group, so these announcements can also lead to a lot of coming and going during a conversation, which can cause a distraction to other members.
To ameliorate the situation going forward, when you leave a group chat, only the administrators of the group are notified. When a group member opts out, a dialog appears that says "Only you and group admins will be notified that you left the group."
Looking ahead, another privacy feature on its way to the massively popular messaging platform is a way to block users from taking screenshots of "view once" messages. Unlike disappearing messages, view once messages don't get deleted after a specific time limit, but instead go away after the recipient has seen it once.
The idea is that by blocking screenshots, recipients won't so easily be able to save or share sensitive information with other users. WhatsApp is still testing this feature, but says it will start rolling out to users soon.