WhatsApp is one of the top and most used social media apps for messaging, video sharing, and calls – both audio and video.
WhatsApp gives notifications for each new message received so you get to know when your friend or group member posts.
So you get notifications for new messages, great. But what if you want to know when someone who has been offline is back online? Can you get notified of this?
Because WhatsApp prioritizes privacy, there is no direct feature that notifies users when others are online. However, there are some reliable ways to know someone’s online status.
Why would one desire notification when a user is online?
If the needed user is irregular, one may need to get notified of the time they are on because it may be hard to keep track of them.
For protection reasons; some people, especially parents, may need to track their children’s online life to make sure they are in touch with the right people and engaging in the right conversations.
Does WhatsApp notify when someone is online?
To quickly answer your question, NO.
WhatsApp values users’ privacy, and hence, there is no direct way that the app notifies you when the person is online.
However, you can rely on the WhatsApp available features such as last seen and chat notifications. Also third-party apps like WATracker, WAnalyzer, Check chat, KidGuard, and WaLastseen.
How to know when someone is online on WhatsApp
1. WhatsApp features
Although WhatsApp does not provide notifications when someone is online, it offers some features and indicators that you can use to get your target user’s online status.
The WhatsApp settings can help you tell online status through the following;
‘Last seen’ indicator
This WhatsApp feature is available for every user. When you open a user’s chat, you will be able to see at the top of the page, just below the name, the last seen status.
Now, this is not what you exactly wanted but it can help you tell if your target contact has recently been online or if they have taken a while.
However, with this feature also comes the liberty of customization. WhatsApp gives users the ability to turn the ‘last seen’ off, and when they do, you will not see when they are or were online.
WhatsApp allows you to see when someone updates their status. This can also help you know when they were online although it is not a real-time notification.
This indicator also does not mean that someone is necessarily actively chatting.
WhatsApp still allows users to set their status to private or limit who sees the update.
This means that if your target contact has set their status to private or not included you in the category of people to view their status update, then this will not help you.
WhatsApp sends you notifications for each message received if the number is not muted. A message notification from your target contact is an indicator that the person is online, or has been online.
2. Using Third-party apps (notifier/spy apps)
Privacy is important to WhatsApp and users, so these are the right ways you can keep track of a user’s online presence.
However, some apps claim to offer these notifications, but these may not be reliable and may violate WhatsApp terms and conditions so if you can, it is best to avoid them.
The WhatsApp notifier apps are available for both Android and iPhone.
Note: a lot of these are fake and may just want to access your private chats and information. It is therefore best to avoid the notifier apps. But if you must, you can go ahead and try them.
To use these apps;
Some require installation on both devices – the tracker’s and the target’s device. For these, you have to set the contact for whom you want to get a notification, then your WhatsApp account will be linked by the notifier app and you can monitor the target account.
The notifier apps will notify you or help you keep track of the target only if the person has not turned off their read receipts.
The last thing you should know, third-party apps do not offer this and other services free of charge; you will have to subscribe or purchase a plan to use them.
That said, here are some of the apps you can use, I will not dwell much on them, just a brief description to help you know what each offers. Then you can try them out and build your own experience.
1. Kids Guard for WhatsApp
kidsGuard for WhatsApp is designed as a spy tool to keep track of messages, calls, and online status.
It is used by parents to monitor their children’s online lives, and used by partners to keep an eye on suspected husbands or wives. Simply put, it is a monitoring and spying tool.
KidsGuard offers different services and pricing plans.
The WaTracker app is available for Android and iPhone. It allows you to see your contact’s online activity and indicates whether they are online or not.
When you download this app, you can add the number that you want to track in one of the provisions. After entering the details you will be able to see the online activity.
This app allows you to track just one number at a time for free, but this will last for less than an hour before it demands an upgrade.
Also, you cannot change the target number until at least an hour later. If you want to add another WhatsApp profile to track, you will need to upgrade to the premium membership.
This is another app that you can easily find in your Google Play Store. Install the app and add a number you would like to track.
Check-chat is a paid app that offers a free trial, but only after you provide your billing details.
WaLastseen is an easy-to-use app that allows you to track WhatsApp activity. You can choose either the weekly or the monthly plan, the monthly plan comes with a 3-free days trial but you will need to provide billing details.
With the above apps, you can spy on chats, online status, and other activities.
How do I hide my last seen on WhatsApp?
The last seen feature has been on WhatsApp for quite a while. It is very much appreciated by many but may also be an inconvenience to others.
If the latter represents you, then you have some options. You do not have to have your online status visible to everyone, WhatsApp also provides the ability to hide your last seen from everybody or only those that are not in your contacts.
Note that when you hide your last seen from your contacts, you will also not be in a position to see their last seen.
To hide your WhatsApp last seen;
- Open the WhatsApp application
- Go to settings by tapping the three-dot line in the top right corner of your screen….
- Go to Privacy from the list
- Select last seen and online from the list that follows. This should give you a menu with four items. Everyone, My contacts, My contacts except…, and Nobody
- Restrict as you wish by tapping your desired choice from the above menu.
If you want to restrict particular numbers from your contacts, you can choose the My contact except. This will display a list of your contacts from which you can choose the numbers you wish to restrict.
How can I hide my online status while chatting on WhatsApp?
If you do not want people to know that you are online, you can hide your online status (even when chatting), by doing one or more of the following:
- Block a user. This will work if you want to hide your online status from a particular person.
You can block this person and when you do, they will not be able to see whether or not you are online.
- Turn on airplane mode. You can turn on airplane mode from your notification panel.
When airplane mode is on, open WhatsApp and send messages that you wish to send, exit the app and turn airplane mode off.
WhatsApp then will send your chats to their destinations without showing you online
- Disable online status. You can disable your online status to appear offline even when you are chatting.
You can do this in your settings; go to the last seen and online option, then select Nobody to hide your last seen from everyone.
Online status notification is a missing feature of the WhatsApp application so you can not tell when your favorite person or target contact gets online.
This is mostly due to security and privacy reasons which WhatsApp takes seriously.
So if you badly want to get notified about your contact’s online status, you will have to try other ways like third-party apps.
It is however important to respect other people’s privacy and not keep track of them without their consent.
These apps are meant mostly for parents to keep watch on their children’s online lives for safety reasons. These should therefore NOT be used for malicious reasons, as they threaten other people’s privacy.