Instagram now shows when you’re on the app (and here’s how to stop it)

instagram activity
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Are you the kind of person that turns off read-receipts on messaging apps at the first available opportunity? Then here’s another “feature” you’ll want to take care of.

In a nutshell, it lets some of your Instagramming buddies know your activity status on the app, and gives you information on their activity, too. And it’s switched on by default. By “activity status” we mean how many minutes and hours since you last checked in to look at content. It’ll also say “active now” if you happen to be scrolling through your timeline when they check. (New to Instagram? Read these tips to get started.)

Viewable inside the Direct Messages section of the app, the data is only shared with users that you follow as well as anyone that you message privately. So, no, people that follow you will not be able to check your activity status — unless you’re following them, too.

Instagram describes it like this: “Allow accounts you follow and anyone you message to see when you were last active in Instagram apps. When this is turned off, you won’t be able to see the activity status of other accounts.”

Indeed, if you’d prefer not to share that kind of information on Instagram, it’s easy to stop it.

instagram activity

Simply open the app, go to your profile page, tap the gear icon for Options, and then scroll down till you see “show activity status.” Tap the button beside it and you’re done.

It’s not clear when Instagram introduced the functionality, though it may have come as part of updates rolled out for iOS on Tuesday and Android on Wednesday. With no announcement, there’s a chance it could be a test with a limited number of users, so it may even disappear as quietly as it arrived.

The Facebook-owned company is continuing to roll out updates and test potential features on a regular basis, some more significant than others. Earlier on Thursday, we reported that Instagram is currently testing “Type,” a feature that lets you add photo-free text to one of your Instagram Stories. Several fonts are offered, and the app automatically chooses a colored background for you. If you want to jazz it up a bit, you can still select one of your own images as a background, though Instagram will fade it so the text stands out. As with all testing, Instagram will evaluate the results, and possibly tweak the feature, before deciding whether to roll it out to everyone.