A finger tapping a large Telegram app icon on a smartphone.
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Telegram is a popular messaging app that places an emphasis on privacy, although not as much as Signal does. By default, Telegram shows anyone and everyone the last time you were online. Here’s how to hide that.

Change How “Last Seen Online” Displays

Telegram is available for iPhone and iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. Because developers took a similar approach with each app, the instructions for changing this setting are the same.

To find this option, tap or click on the Settings cog at the bottom of the screen or window.

Telegram Settings tab on iPhone

In the menu that appears, select “Privacy and Security.”

Access Privacy and Security Settings in Telegram

Tap “Last Seen & Online” under the Privacy header.

On the next screen, you can specify exactly who can see your “Last Seen Online” time: Everybody (including users you haven’t added), My Contacts, and Nobody.

Telegram Hide "Last Seen" Time

Depending on which setting you choose, you can add exceptions to this rule.

Manage Your Telegram "Last Seen" Whitelist or Blocklist

For example, if you choose “Nobody,” you will see an “Always Share With…” option appear. Tap on this to add contacts who will always be able to see when you were last online. This is useful for close friends or family. If you pick “Everybody,” you’ll be able to add users to a block list instead.

While you’re poking around Telegram’s privacy settings, check that everything else is in order. You can specify other preferences, like who can and can’t add you to group chats, who you can receive calls from, and who can forward your messages to other accounts.

What Contacts See When You Change This Setting

By default, this setting will show the exact date you last appeared online. If less than 24 hours have passed since then, the exact time you were last online will also be included in this information. Any longer than that and only the date will be displayed.

"Last Seen Recently" Telegram Timestamp

Telegram notes that there are four possible approximate windows of time:

  • Recently: last seen over the last zero to three days.
  • Within a week: last seen between three and seven days.
  • Within a month: last seen within seven days to a month.
  • A long time ago: last seen more than a month ago.

Users who have been blocked will always see “A long time ago,” even if you were chatting with them recently.

Do More With Telegram

Telegram is one of many private messaging services that has exploded in popularity since WhatsApp updated its terms and conditions in early 2021 to share more information with parent company Facebook.

But there are some things to keep in mind if you’re new to the service, like how chats aren’t end-to-end encrypted by default.

Tim Brookes Tim Brookes
Tim Brookes is a technology writer with more than a decade of experience. He's invested in the Apple ecosystem, with experience covering Macs, iPhones, and iPads for publications like Zapier and MakeUseOf.
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