How to Know Whether Someone is Connected to WhatsApp

How to Know Whether Someone is Connected to WhatsApp

WhatsApp is an instant messaging service for smartphones which relies on an internet connection to send texts, voice messages and even make calls. One of the elements of WhatsApp which initially made it stand out, is the ease with which you can see if people have received or read your message. If you have sent an important message for professional or personal reasons, you might want to make sure it has been received. This could be due to impatience, anticipation or even because you want to delete the WhatsApp message before it has been seen. oneHOWTO shows you how to know whether someone is connected to WhatsApp on both iPhone and Android. We'll also show you why this may not be as easy as it used to be.

Steps to follow:

If you want to know how to know if someone is online on WhatsApp, first we can tell you that it works essentially the same for Android phones as it does for iOS on iPhone. The considerations you make are the same and the settings are more important than the device you use. The only real differences are the standard operational and design discrepancies.

Open your WhatsApp application and click or tap on the icon "Chats". On iPhone this is on the bottom of your screen and on Android it is at the top. Select the person with whom you'd like to talk from your message list or tap. Click on his or her name and you'll see your conversation appear. You can also tap the ‘write message’ icon and you can search for their name. You will also be able to see the chat history if you have previously spoken to that person.


To know if a contact is connected to Whatsapp or not, you only need to take a look at the top part of the screen under the contact's name. Right beneath there's another line of text that reads "online" if the contact is connected at that precise moment.

If at that moment your contact is sending you something, you'll see that the text reads "typing" or "recording audio".


However, if the person is not currently using WhatsApp, you will read "last seen today at..." followed by a time. This indicates the last time your contact used WhatsApp and that they are currently not connected. This does not necessarily mean a person has read your message, rather it indicates the last time that person was connected to WhatsApp.


You can also just go into your "Chats" section and you will see the list of your recent chats. You won't be able to see if they are currently online, but there is some helpful information. If you were the last person to send a message, you will see one of a number of possible symbols in the message list. These are known as ‘Read Recipts’:

  • a clock symbol: this means that the message has not yet been sent to the WhatsApp servers. This is likely to be because you are not currently connected to the internet.
  • 1 grey tick: this means that the message has been sent to the WhatsApp servers, but not yet received by the contact to whom you sent the message. This is likely because the recipient has not been connected to the internet since the message had been sent.
  • 2 grey ticks: this means that the message has been received by the recipient, but not yet opened/read.
  • 2 blue ticks: this means the recipient has received and opened the message. If they opened the message, it is probably to read it, but not definitely the case.

With smartphones, there are often push notifications which show you the text of a message without entering the app. It's possible a contact has read your message on their phone without actually opening it (and therefore not displaying the 2 blue ticks).


I can't see any online status on WhatsApp

WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted which means the messages should be safe from third parties. However, WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and there are growing concerns over safety on WhatsApp in general. This has not been helped by events such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Beyond these concerns, there are general safety concerns over allowing people to know when you are connected. Safety isn't always the issue as some people simply don't want others to know they have read a message so they can get on with other things.

This is likely why WhatsApp has changed its privacy settings. You are able to hide your last connection or your online status in the settings. This is in the top right hand menu of the Android version and the bottom right ‘cog’ symbol on the iPhone version. In here you will be able to change the privacy settings so that the ‘Last Seen’ option can be toggled off. To do this you need to:

  • Open the ‘Account’ menu
  • Continue to the ‘Privacy’ menu
  • Select the ‘Last Seen’ option
  • Choose from ‘Everyone’, ‘My Contacts’ or ‘Nobody’

If you click ‘Everyone’ this means that anyone who adds you to WhatsApp (even if you have not added them) will be able to see your connection status. ‘My Contacts’ limits this to only people you have added and ‘Nobody’ means that your online status will be visible to no one.

If someone else has changed their privacy settings like this, then you will not be able to see the last time they were on WhatsApp, but you can see those who haven't. However, WhatsApp seems to have added a fairness element to the settings. If you have it so that your privacy settings don't show your connection status, you will also be unable to see other people's.


Similar settings are applicable to Read Receipts. If you go back into the Privacy settings, you will see at the bottom there is an option to turn off Read Receipts. This means others will be unable to see if you have read a message. However, you will also be unable to see if they have read the message either. When it goes through the server, it will simply appear with two grey ticks regardless if it has been read.

If you want to know more about using WhatsApp, you can take a look at our article on how to use WhatsApp on your PC. Particularly useful if you are having problems with your smartphone.

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