8 Ways to Appear Offline on Social Media so You Can Lurk in Peace

8 Ways to Appear Offline on Social Media so You Can Lurk in Peace
Photo: panitanphoto, Shutterstock

If you don’t want to be overwhelmed by the pressure of replying to every message the second you see it, it’s best to just hide or disable your online status so people won’t see you or know when you were last online. You can appear offline in most popular social media and messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Reddit, Instagram, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.

Hide your online status or Last Seen on WhatsApp

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

On WhatsApp, the online status is linked to its Last Seen feature. This shows when you were last online, and if you’re currently online. Go to Settings > Account > Privacy > Last Seen and switch to the “Nobody” option. Once you do that, your online status and Last Seen timestamp won’t be available to anyone. Likewise, you won’t be able to see when someone was last online.

Turn off Active Status on Facebook

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

Don’t want to seem like you’re always on Facebook, even though you are? You can disable the Active Status for the messaging feature on Facebook’s website (this is different from Facebook Messenger that we’ll cover below).

Open the Facebook website, click Messenger in the top-right corner, and click the three-dotted Menu. Click “Turn off Active Status” and choose the “Turn off Active Status for all contacts” option. Then click “OK.”

The steps are different for the Facebook mobile app: Here, tap Menu in the toolbar. In the “Settings & Privacy” section, go to “Settings.” Choose “Active Status” under the Privacy section and disable “Show when you’re active.”

Turn off Active Status on Facebook Messenger

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

You can turn off Active Status directly from Facebook Messenger as well. On the Messenger website, click the three-dotted Menu button from the top toolbar and choose “Preferences.” Here, click “Turn Off Active Status.” Choose “Turn off Active Status for all contacts” and click “OK.”

In the mobile app, tap your profile picture in the top-left. Then, tap “Active Status” and use the toggle at the top to turn the “Active Status” off. From the popup, confirm the change.

Hide your online status on Instagram

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

Don’t want to be shown online on Instagram? You can disable the Online Status just like on Facebook Messenger. In fact, if you have merged your Instagram and Facebook Messenger accounts, your Online Status will be changed on both platforms together.

Open the Instagram app and go to your Profile. Tap the three-lined Menu in the top-right corner and go to “Settings.” Here, go to Privacy > Activity Status, and disable “Show Activity Status.”

Appear offline on Telegram

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

In Telegram, the Last Seen and Online status are merged together. To find the feature, go to Settings > Privacy and Security > Last Seen & Online.

Here, you can choose between the “Everybody,” “My Contacts,” and “Nobody” options. Use the “Nobody” option to hide your last seen and online status from everyone on Telegram. Choose the option, and confirm your selection from the prompt.

Hide your online status on Microsoft Teams

While it’s not exactly a social media app, there will be times when you want to appear offline in Microsoft Teams, even if it’s just to catch your breath. Open Microsoft Teams and click your Profile in the top-right corner of the app. Choose the “Available” option and switch to “Appear Offline.”

How to appear offline in Slack

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

Similarly, you can set yourself as “Away” in Slack. You’ll still get notifications and be able to use the app, but you won’t be shown online to anyone in the Slack workspace.

Open the Slack app and click your Profile icon in the top-right corner. From the drop-down, click the “Set yourself as away” button. On the mobile app, you can do this from the “You” tab.

Hide your online status on Reddit

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

Reddit calls its online status “Online Presence Indicators,” and if there’s one app where you probably don’t want people to know you’re lurking, it’s Reddit. Online status is enabled by default, but you can disable it on the Reddit desktop website by clicking on your Profile icon, and from the Online Status section, just click the toggle next to “On.” If you’re using the mobile app, you’ll find the “Online Status” button hidden in the Profile button.