How To Know If Someone Is Online (Active) On Instagram

With how intuitive the Instagram app is, figuring out who’s online should be easy enough, shouldn’t it? 

Truth is, some people don’t quite get the hang of it. Especially since new updates are constantly being rolled out on our favorite social media app.

But, as they say…

The devil is in the details

If you want to easily spot when someone is online and active on the gram, you’ve got to pay attention.

In this blog post, we’ll share some eye-opening tips to help you determine when someone is active on Instagram. 

We also show you how to effectively know when someone was last active.

Also, do stick around for our key tips to staying incognito on Instagram, if you don’t want to share your online presence.

Let’s do this!

How To Tell When Someone is Online (Active) On Instagram

It’s pretty easy. Instagram come fully equipped with features that allow you to immediately tell that someone is online. 

If you’re familiar with Facebook and WhatsApp, you’ll know that these features exist on those platforms as well. And though Instagram didn’t originally come with the feature, it was eventually included.

After all, as you may be aware, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp are all controlled by the same company.

Now you can see who’s online on Instagram and who’s not.

But there’s an exception: if the person has barred you or is using a private account, you’ll not see their online status even if they’re active on Instagram.

Here are three ways to detect that someone is active on Instagram.

  • The Green Dot

This is the most obvious sign that someone is online. 

This green dot usually appears next to their username and photo column in your direct inbox. But that’s not the only place where green dots appear. They also appear on the stories section of your page when the person is having a live session on Instagram.

green dot instagram


  • Direct Inbox

Do you know In your direct inbox you can identify people’s most recent activity status? This usually shows beneath their username. For samples, you may see words like “seen,” ‘Typing…,” or “active 15m ago”. 

With this feature, even if the person is not online, you, at least, know when last they were active. 


  • Stories

This is a sneaky way of checking if someone has been online recently. But it works nonetheless. If the person has posted stories, check the time they posted their last story. If it’s recent,  they’re probably still online.


How to See Someone’s “Last Active” Status On Instagram

There are numerous reasons you may want to see the “last active” status on someone’s profile. It could be because you want to know if the person is available for a message.

It could also be because you’re about to post. And you would love people to be active so you can get many likes on your posts

Whatever the reason, there is a provision for you to get the information you need.

The last activity status displays the latest activity of your friends next to their username. It tells you when the follower is typing, when they’re online, or the last time they were active.

Keep in Mind: The activity status is turned on by default for all accounts. However, those who don’t want to be seen online can easily disable it in the settings option. 

You cannot see the active status of individuals who disabled this feature. And if you disable this feature, you can not look at others’ last active status either. 

Notice how this is very identical in operation to the last-seen feature on WhatsApp?

Criteria For Seeing Last Active Status

You can only see the last active status on;

1. Accounts you have had direct messages with

2. Accounts who follow you

3. Accounts who have their activity status turned on

4. Accounts who haven’t blocked you and satisfy all three options above


Tip: If you can’t see the last time someone was active on Instagram, you need to understand the cause first before taking any step.

You can ask the person you’re communicating with if it’s from their end. If It’s not, you may be able to resolve it in your settings.

The active status can be seen whether or not there is a green dot indicating an online presence. When an account is online you’ll see an “Active now” status as well as the traditional green dot.

However, if you’ve recently sent a message to that account, it will display “Sent” and how long since you sent the message. For example “Sent 1h ago.”

For offline accounts with no green dots on the bottom-right of the display pictures, you’ll see an “Active” and the time duration. For instance, “Active 37m ago.” 

To see other accounts “last active” status follow the instructions below;


1. Open the Instagram app

2. Go straight to the direct message option and click the icon top right of the page

3. View the last active options beneath the usernames of your direct message list


Staying Incognito On Instagram

Simply put, “Incognito” means keeping your online presence private while you surf through the Instagram app. 

Setting your account to private alone does not give you a complete Incognito status. A private account works to keep out people who do not follow you, but your online activity remains very visible to your followers.

To hide your online presence or active status on Instagram, you would have to turn off your last active status. 

When you do this, the accounts that visit your profile or direct message column will be unable to see your online activity.


This is important: The Incognito setting does not only keep others from seeing your online activity but also you from theirs.


It creates a fair system that encourages communication while still offering the opportunity to have private times when necessary.

However, when you’re incognito, doing things such as liking pictures, making comments or posting stories can easily alert someone to your presence.

To disable the last active and online status on Instagram, do the following;

  • Open Instagram and click the profile icon on the bottom-right corner.


  • Tap the icon on the top right with three vertical lines, and click on Settings

settings instagram


  • Click on privacy


privacy instagram

  • Tap the “Activity Status” option

activity status instagram

  • Set “Show Activity Status” to off.


    turn off activity status instagram

These steps completely hide your online presence on Instagram and make you Incognito. 

However, if you intend to only hide this information from someone, in particular, you can always use the Instagram blocking option.

Activity Status and Privacy On Instagram

There are many misconceptions among users about privacy when using the activity status feature on Instagram. 

First, Instagram only permits accounts you follow or send messages directly to see your online or active status. 

No one else has access to this information and your random followers won’t be able to see it unless you give them a follow back.

Second, If you are among the demographic that use Instagram for business actively depending on likes, views and comments, timely responses are essential too.  

With the activity status option, you can clearly show your customers or viewers whether you’re available for business at the moment or not.

Third, the activity status helps to deal with some of the anxiety that comes with using social media applications like Instagram. 

Anxiety can come from delayed responses or the pressure of having to continue a conversation. Some Instagram users can become angry or panic when they don’t receive responses promptly.

Tweaking your activity status can be a good way to avoid this awkwardness.

With this, the activity status option does not infringe on any privacy rights but provides control over your usage preferences.

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