Instagram is one of the few social networks that notifies people when you were last seen on the app. It also shows when you’re online, when you’re typing, and so on. You can see when your friends were last on Instagram and they can see when you were last there too. Depending on your security preferences, this may be a blessing or a drawback to the Instagram application.
There are several reasons you may want to see the ‘Last Active’ status on another person’s profile. It’s a feature that lets you know if someone is available for a message or likely to respond. If you’d like to claim an inactive Instagram username, this status can provide you much-needed insight into the account.
What is Last Active on Instagram?
- What is Last Active on Instagram? 
- Last Seen on Instagram 
- How to See ‘Last Seen’ on Instagram 
- Turn off Last Seen in Instagram 
- Why Can’t I See Someone’s Last Active Status? 
- Last Seen & Privacy 
- Frequently Asked Questions 
‘Last active’ falls along the lines of read receipts for privacy and ease of communication. A built-in feature; users can have insight into other’s messaging and online activities.
With the ‘last active’ status, you can see what friends are online, when they were last online and see if they uploaded anything new.
Last Seen on Instagram
You can only see the last seen status on accounts of:
- People who follow you
- People who you’ve had direct messages with
If you don’t meet these criteria, you won’t be able to see when someone was last online.
The active status will show up in a few different ways. If you see a green dot next to their username and profile: they are online at that moment. You can also use the Instagram messaging service to get information for when an account or user was last online.
Only people you are following can see this data. It’s a small distinction but an important one as it allows a semblance of control over who sees what.
How to See ‘Last Seen’ on Instagram
To see other users’ last active status follow these instructions:
Open Instagram and select the paper airplane icon in the top right to access your Inbox.
Check beside each message thread to see when the person you messaged was last on Instagram.
This status isn’t in real-time but is updated every few minutes. So if it says someone was last online 6 minutes ago, it could be anything from 5 to 10 minutes, but the time given is close.
Turn off Last Seen in Instagram
If you’d like to hide your active status on Instagram you can. Those visiting your DMs or profile will be unable to see the key indicators we’ve discussed by turning your active status off.
This seems to be a mechanism to keep you from lurking and seeing what others are up to without having to reveal anything yourself. I think this is a fair system and encourages people to be as open as they can be while still offering the opportunity to be private when necessary.
To turn off Last Seen, do this:
Open Instagram and tap on the profile icon in the lower right-hand corner
Tap the three vertical lines in the top right-hand corner
Tap on ‘Settings’ then ‘Privacy’
Tap on the option labeled ‘Activity Status’
Toggle ‘Show Activity Status’ to off.
By doing this, you’ll also turn off your ability to see others’ last active status as well. If there’s someone, in particular, you’d rather hide this information from you can use Instagram’s blocking option.
Even if you’ve had direct messages in the past, they won’t be able to see your profile information including your last seen status.
Why Can’t I See Someone’s Last Active Status?
If you’ve previously communicated with or followed someone on Instagram, yet you aren’t able to see their last seen status, there may be a few reasons.
- The person you’re interested in may not be following you – as we can only see the status for those who we’re following, the same applies to others.
- You’ve never had a private conversation with them – If you’re not followed by someone and you’ve never had a DM conversation with them, you won’t be able to see this information.
- They’ve turned their last active status off – Assuming you meet the above-listed criteria if you’re still unable to see their status, it’s likely because they have it turned off.
- The user has blocked you – This one is simple to spot because you will no longer see their Instagram profile either.
Understanding the reason behind your inability to view the last seen status of an account will provide you insight into how to fix it. You can always ask the person you’re communicating with if they’ve turned the status off.
Some users have explained issues after updates. It’s not unheard of that bugs will affect this feature. If this is the case you can always wait it out or contact Instagram support.
Last Seen & Privacy
Some Instagram users are concerned about privacy while others enjoy the feature. The status does have some benefits.
First, Instagram only shows the last seen status to people you follow or direct message, and no one else. Your random followers won’t be able to see it unless you follow them back. If you don’t want individuals to see when you’re online, don’t follow them.
Second, it allays some of the anxiety that comes with social media. Namely that of the delayed response. There are a lot of Instagram users out there who will begin to panic or become angry if you don’t respond to a DM or messages within 30 seconds. Showing them that you haven’t been online since yesterday is the ideal way to avoid this awkwardness.
Third, if you use Instagram for business or promotion, responding quickly is important there too. Having it plain to see that you haven’t been online all day will help manage the expectations of anyone who wants to talk to you without causing them to think you’re ignoring them.
There is of course a case for letting out TMI by allowing Instagram to tell the people you follow when you were online. Compared to the information we willingly release about our whereabouts and activities on social networks and the fact you can control who sees it negates a lot of this. Plus, you can disable it whenever you want a little alone time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I tell if someone turned off their activity status?
Of course, it would be a privacy violation if Instagram told you someone turned off their activity status so the company has chosen not to notify other users when someone takes advantage of the option. If you’re curious about whether someone you’re following has theirs off all you need to do is send them a message.
While it isn’t foolproof, if your friends’ status isn’t showing they’re online, go ahead and send them a message. If the ‘Seen’ option appears, they’re online. This is about the only way to know for sure if someone is unwilling to disclose their online activities.
How accurate is Instagram’s activity status?
Instagram’s activity status is similar to GPS and other online features that help you track other people’s activity. Meaning, it is flawed in a sense. For example, some users receive Snapchat’s “someone is typing” notification when their friend has only opened the message.
The reason for these irregularities on Snapchat is because the app is designed to pick up on certain characteristics and behaviors that assume you’re online. So, a friend may have opened Instagram, then switched to another app or locked their phone and put it in their pocket which means they aren’t technically active on the app.
Overall, the activity status on Instagram appears to be relatively accurate, but there is always room for error.