Rolling out to a few beta users
WhatsApp has consistently worked to add new features and enhance existing ones, such as expanding group chat functionality, providing group admins more power, and making discussions more engaging. In August of this year, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed three privacy-focused WhatsApp features: quiet exits from group chats, banning screenshots of view-once media, and masking your online status. This was done to further its efforts and strengthen its commitment to user privacy. Recently, we’ve learned that one of these features has made some decent progress.
Following the release of WhatsApp version 18.104.22.168 for Android, beta testers claim to have obtained online status-related privacy choices. In July, it was discovered that the feature was being developed for iOS, and later that month, testing began on Android.
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You have fine-grained control over who may view your online status and the last time you used WhatsApp in the most recent beta. Under WhatsApp Settings > Account > Privacy > Last seen and online, you can pick from four options for who can see your Last seen status — everyone, my contacts, my contacts (except selected ones), and nobody.
You can utilise the Everyone option to make sure that everyone in a chat can see your online status on the app, or you can duplicate the setting for your Last seen status above. Although we appreciate WhatsApp’s consideration in separating the parameters for Last seen, we would have liked to have seen discrete, granular controls for the online status as well. In the same way that hiding your read receipts from others prevents you from receiving the blue checkmarks, WhatsApp warns you that hiding your online and Last seen status will prevent you from seeing others’ statuses.
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Of course, we leave it to you to decide whether or not it’s a smart idea to constantly browse WhatsApp in ghost mode. Put your imagination to use.
According to WABetaInfo, the beta testers will gradually begin receiving the new feature. These enhancements appear to be present in version 22.214.171.124 beta in addition to version 126.96.36.199. No word yet on whether or when they will launch the stable app globally.
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