(Pocket-lint) - Instagram offers a number of similiarities to other social media and chat platforms, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. New features are constantly added, including options like "Show Activity Status".

If you use Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp - both owned by Facebook like Instagram - you'll know that they show when you're online and last active, or last seen in WhatsApp's case. Instagram does the same.

However, although the "Show Activity Status" option is enabled by default inside of Instagram's settings menu, you can toggle it off like you can on WhatsApp - something you can't do in Messenger.

Here's how to hide your activity status on Instagram, as well as how to tell if someone is online.

How to hide your Instagram activity or online status

Those of you who don't want people to see when you're online in real-time do have the option to turn off Instagram's Show Activity Status feature, though, if you do, you won't be able to see anyone else's activity.

To change the visibility of your activity status:

  1. Open Instagram.
  2. Tap on the Profile icon in the bottom right corner.
  3. Tap the three lines in the top right.
  4. Tap on Settings.
  5. Click on Privacy.
  6. Tap Activity Status.
  7. Tap the toggle next to Activity Status to turn off your activity status.

Note: Just like in Facebook Messenger, there's no option to disable read receipts on Instagram. Direct messages (DMs) always show as “seen” once recipients have opened them.

Who can see when you're active on Instagram?

Your followers can't see when you were most recently on Instagram. Only people you follow or have previously had direct conversations (DMs) with will see how many minutes or hours ago you were online.

This feature makes sense for Instagram users who rely on the service to chat with businesses or creative professionals and want to see whether they're online or even quickly respond.

How to tell if someone is online on Instagram

There are a few ways to see when someone's online or active:

  1. You'll see a green dot near their username and photo in your Direct inbox.
  2. You'll see a green dot near their username and photo elsewhere on Instagram.
  3. In your direct inbox, you'll see their most recent activity status.

Note: Recent activity status will show as: Active 25m ago, Active yesterday, Seen, Typing, etc.

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Want to know more?

See our Instagram guides for more tips:

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta O'Boyle.