WhatsApp is a really popular, Facebook-owned messaging service, although most of its users are outside the US. While it’s encrypted end-to-end to protect you from spying, WhatsApp shares read receipts by default—so people can see if you’ve read their message—as well as sharing the last time you were online.
If you’re concerned about your privacy, or just want to be able to respond to messages in your own time without offending people, you should turn both of these features off.
I’m using iOS screenshots as examples but the process is the same on Android. Here’s how to do it.
Open WhatsApp and head to Settings > Account > Privacy.
To keep people from knowing you read their message, tap the Read Receipts switch to turn it off. This means you won’t be able to see whether or not they’ve read yours either, though.
To stop WhatsApp showing your last online time, tap Last Seen and then select Nobody. You also won’t be able to see other people’s last online time if you have it turned off.
WhatsApp is a great messaging app and, although it is secure, by default, it shares more information than many people like with their contacts. I personally leave read receipts and my last online time switched off; I recommend you do too.