TL;DR: WhatsApp is testing a new option that allows users to hide their "Last Seen" status from specific contacts. It's currently available on their latest beta versions, with no timeline for a rollout to all users.
One of the most popular messaging services in the world is rolling out a handy new privacy feature. On the latest WhatsApp beta for Android and iOS, they have introduced a feature that would allow you to exclude specific contacts from seeing your "Last Seen" status.
WhatsApp just added the feature on the iPhone/iOS beta yesterday, as their latest effort to add new privacy options for users. It's available to some beta testers who are on the current WhatsApp beta versions and will be released to users in waves.
The "Last Seen" usually appears below a user's name and shows when they last opened the app. It indicates a specific time if the person was active within the day or a date if they haven't been active in a while. WhatsApp currently lets users limit their "Last Seen" status to just their contacts or disable the feature entirely.
" WhatsApp beta for iOS 22.214.171.124: what's new?— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) April 16, 2022
WhatsApp is finally releasing advanced settings to manage your privacy settings to some beta testers!https://t.co/EbqI8M5jZg
The feature can prevent others from knowing whether you've read their messages. While WhatsApp allows its users to turn off read receipts, the "Last Seen" time can suggest that someone has opened the app recently.
This update also lets you hide your profile photo and the "About" section under your name from specific contacts. Beta testers can access this setting by going to Settings > Account > Privacy and selecting the "My Contacts Except" setting. This will bring you to a list of your contacts where you can exclude specific names.
There's no official word on when this will be introduced to the stable versions of WhatsApp. Last year, the company released a major security enhancement that closed a major loophole in their end-to-end encryption.