The privacy settings for WhatsApp's "online" feature may not be updated by some users Image Credit: Shutterstock

San Francisco: The Meta-owned messaging app WhatsApp is experiencing a server-side error, making it impossible to update the privacy setting "who can see when I'm online" on iOS globally.

According to WABetaInfo, this outage is not the result of a faulty update.

It is still unclear how many users are affected by this issue and what is causing the current issue. The company has not yet released any official statement or provided any information on the reasons behind the issue.

The report also mentioned that if someone's online presence on the platform is hidden, then the current configuration is safe and nobody can see when they are online.


Issue detected: The privacy settings for WhatsApp's "online" feature may not be updated by some users

WhatsApp for iOS: We discovered that this issue is limited to the iOS platform after some testing, as reported in this tweet.

The online privacy setting is on “everyone” by default: it is only visual as this tweet reported

The issue has finally been fixed so people on iOS can update their privacy settings for “online” again


Lets's have a look at how to change whatsapp privacy settings to protect yourself

When you sign up for WhatsApp, your privacy settings are set to:

  • • Any user to see your profile photo, about information, and read receipts
  • • Your contacts to see your status updates
  • • Any users to add you to groups

Note: Users you’ve saved as a contact or who you’ve messaged before may be able to see your last seen and online.

How to change privacy settings

If you want more privacy on the app, you can change these settings at any time. Here's how to go about it:

Open the WhatsApp app>> Settings >> Privacy

Tap on the privacy setting you want to change, including ‘Last Seen, Profile Photo, About, Groups, and My Status.’

Select a group from the list of options for that setting:

• See your Last Seen and Online

• See your Profile Photo

• See your About information

• See your Status updates

• See Read Receipts

• Add you to Groups

• If you don't share your last seen or online, you won't be able to see other users’ last seen or online.

• If you turn off read receipts, you won't be able to see read receipts from other users. Read receipts are always sent for group chats.

• If a contact has turned off read receipts, you won’t be able to see if they’ve viewed your status updates.

• People online in a chat thread with you can see when you’re typing.

Here are some tips that would be helpful in making WhatsApp more secure: 

Turn off your live location in chat to ensure safety

The Live Location feature allows the user to choose whether and how long they want to share their current location. They can stop sharing their current location with other contacts at any time. Turn off live locations in chats where it is enabled if you don't want people to know where you are. The messaging platform is also working on a new 'Block' shortcut feature that will provide users a block shortcut right within the notifications.

Restrict your status updates

When it comes to who can see your status, there are two handy ways to overcome this issue. Status updates can either be viewed by everyone or only by certain contacts.

On an iPhone: Go to WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Privacy > Status and select “My Contacts,” “My Contacts Except,” or “Only Share With.” You can choose who to exclude and hide your status from.

Block people you don't wish to hear from

WhatsApp may often turn into a possible place for unwanted connections and privacy violations. Unknown contacts on WhatsApp can be blocked by adding them to your block list in the account settings. Blocking the people will stop them from being able to call or send you messages on the app.

Delete sent messages

“Rethinking your message? WhatsApp will allow users to delete a message up to two days and 12 hours after sending it. Previously, this limit was only 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 16 seconds. Meanwhile, the platform will soon release a new feature that will allow group admins the ability to delete messages for everyone.

Viewed only once

WhatsApp allows you to send photos and videos that the recipients can only view once. For added privacy, you can now send photos and videos that disappear from your WhatsApp chat after the recipient has opened them once. They will also be clearly marked with a new "one-time" icon. Change Group Message Settings. If you’re an administrator in a group chat and you’d like to restrict who can send messages in a group or who can edit the group information, you can set it to “Admins Only.”

Check chat encryption

Although all WhatsApp chats are encrypted by default, double-checking it while sharing sensitive information is still a good idea. To verify the encryption, tap on the contact's name in the chat window and then tap on Encryption.

Enable two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication provides protection by adding an extra layer of security to your account to ensure that your data isn't accessed by someone else. So if a service supports this feature then you should be using it.

Turn security notifications on

With this feature, every time a new device accesses an existing chat, a new security code is generated and a notification is sent when this security code changes.

Encrypt cloud backups

WhatsApp backups on Google Drive are not encrypted by default. Without this feature, a major gap will remain in your privacy protection.

Always check unknown links

These days, it could be difficult to determine whether certain scam messages and links are malicious. Copy the link and check it on sites like Norton Safe Web, PhishTank, and others to prevent clicking on these. By developing this habit, you will stop clicking on harmful links.