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WhatsApp on iOS to get sneaky update that’s perfect for keeping tabs on your friend’s activity

WhatsApp on iOS to get sneaky update that’s perfect for keeping tabs on your friend’s activity

The app might be able to tell you who's been online recently.

The peril of being left on read might soon intensify if a WhatsApp feature that's currently in testing makes its way to all users.

The team at WABetaInfo, which looks out for new features in beta versions of WhatsApp's apps, suggests a big new change could be on the way on iOS.

It suggests that WhatsApp on iOS might soon start to display whether you've been 'recently online' on the app, below your name in people's contact lists.

SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty
SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty

This feature exists in some form on multiple other messaging apps, to give people an indication of whether you're likely to see their message fairly quickly or not.

The way this could work is that when people try to start a new message thread, and the app therefore opens their list of contacts to see who they'd like to talk to, there will be a new section at the top called 'Recently Online'.

Exactly how it'll select who appears on that list, or whether it will literally just be a list of everyone in your contacts who's been on the app in a certain time period, isn't clear at this point.

However, this might mean that there's another way for people to get a sense of whether you're deliberately ignoring their messages.

The good news on that front, though, is that this wouldn't be a mandatory feature - you'll be able to stop your own online status from being shared in the list.

WhatsApp already has another similar feature which tells people when you were 'last seen' on the app, and you can also disable that.

Well, it sounds like you'll be able to disable 'Recently Online' in exactly the same way, and having 'last seen' disabled will in fact already take care of it.

Poike / Getty
Poike / Getty

These features can be double-edged swords, after all, much like the two blue ticks of read receipts.

While these do make it way easier to know when someone has seen a message you've sent them, which can be hugely useful, you also have to deal with the fact that other people will see the same info about you.

So, if you were hoping to take some time to formulate a response without them knowing that you're doing so, this might make things a bit more awkward if you have read receipts on.

This sort of arrangement is quite common on social media platforms now - it's always been part of LinkedIn, meaning if you want to know who's looking at your profile, you have to accept that your own peeks at others won't be secret either.

For now, though, the 'Recently Online' feature is only in testing for WhatsApp and reportedly for iOS - there's no official announcement or timeline around its arrival for everyone in the app.

Featured Image Credit: NurPhoto / Contributor / Tim Robberts / Getty