Your social media accounts help you share your daily life with friends. But the mobile apps can go further than that, automatically alerting everyone when you become available online, read a message, or even visit a nearby location.
If you don’t want your nearest and dearest to know what you’re up to every minute of every day, as a general rule, try posting less frequently. Your photos, check-ins, and text updates can convey more information than you intend. Beyond that, here’s how to tweak certain key settings on your apps to leave a smaller digital footprint.
Disable activity status
Many social apps will show your friends a notification when you’re active, and even when you’re offline, they can display the last time you visited. If you’d rather not broadcast your presence, many social networks will let you turn off this display.
In WhatsApp for Android, head to the main app menu by tapping the three dots on the top right, then choose Settings. If you’re on an iOS device, you can access Settings straight from a tab on the bottom of the screen. Either way, your next step is to select Privacy. From this screen, tap Last seen and then Nobody to prevent anyone from knowing the last time you accessed WhatsApp.
Instagram also recently added an indicator of when you were last active. To turn this off, tap the Profile tab (a portrait silhouette) and then hit the menu button (on Android, it looks like three dots, and on iOS, it’s a cog icon) on the top right. Finally, turn off Show activity status. As on WhatsApp, this hides your own activity but also prevents you from seeing when anyone else was last active.
Similarly, you can hide your active status in Facebook Messenger too, but it stops you viewing who else is currently online. Hit the People icon (the two portrait shapes) at the bottom of the screen, then tap Active, and turn the slider next to your own name to off. All your messages will still come through, but no one else will know when you’re actually active in the app.