WhatsApp on iOS and Android will soon tell you which of your contacts have been online recently

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WhatsApp, the popular Meta chat app, is testing a new feature with a selection of iOS beta users that could soon become available to all iOS users. The new addition, called “Recently Online”, gives you a sneak peek into which of their contacts have recently been active on the app.

Make no mistake — this feature won’t give you a real-time view of everyone who’s currently logged into WhatsApp. Instead, when you go to start a new chat or make a call, you’ll see a list of the contacts who have been on the app recently. This could be a handy way to get a sense of who might be available for a quick conversation, giving you some insight before you decide to start a chat.

According to WaBetaInfo, the website that discovered the feature in the beta version of the app, your existing privacy settings will also apply to the “Recently Online” list. So, anyone who hides their “Last Seen” or online status in WhatsApp settings won’t be visible to you in this list, ensuring your own privacy preferences still influence your experience.

“Recently Online” view in WhatsApp beta for iOS | Credit: WaBetaInfo

The potential benefit of the new feature is obviously increased user engagement. People might be more inclined to reach out if they can see that a contact has just been on the app. This subtle nudge is a common tactic used by social media platforms to keep users connected for longer periods, encouraging them to interact more frequently with others.However, keep in mind that the “Recently Online” feature is currently undergoing testing with a small group of iOS beta users. However, it appears likely that this functionality will become broadly available to all iOS WhatsApp users in the near future. It’s worth noting that a similar feature was recently rolled out for Android beta testers, indicating WhatsApp’s intent to roll this out across both platforms.


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