Instagram Will Show Your Followers If You're Online Now — Here's How To Turn It Off

Carl Court/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Instagram first began as purely a platform to share photographs, but nowadays it offers far more than food pics. If you are looking to do more than ask your friends semi-anonymous questions, you are in luck. The photo-sharing app is introducing a new feature called Activity Status to let you know when your friends are online and able to DM with you. While it might have you waxing poetic about the days of AIM, it's also good to know how to turn off Activity Status on Instagram — because while it can certainly come in handy, you may not always want your friends to know when you're on your phone. If you crave the freedom of taking a quick peek at your feed without the risk of being roped into a conversation, take comfort in the knowledge you can easily opt out of this update.

First, a bit about how this new feature, which Instagram started testing in January and is rolling out this week. When your friends are active on Instagram, a green dot will appear next to their profile picture on both the DM inbox, and on your friend list. A “friend” is classified as anyone with whom you are mutual followers, and anyone with whom you have had a DM conversation.

But again, if you don’t want to be seen, you can easily hide your own status and turn off the ability to see when your friends are active in your settings.

Here's how to do it:

1. Go To Your Profile

Screenshot/Callie Tansill-Suddath

When you open Instagram, first go to your personal profile. You access this by pressing the icon with your profile picture at the bottom right of the screen.

2. Go To Settings

Screenshot/Callie Tansill-Suddath

Next to the button that reads "Edit Profile" you will see a small box with the image of a gear inside. By pressing on that button, you will be taken to your Instagram account's settings.

3. Turn Off Activity Status

Screenshot/Callie Tansill-Suddath

When you scroll down towards the bottom of the page under "settings," you will see an option for a page called "Activity Status." Pressing on the button will reveal a switch you can turn off. The page reads: "Allow accounts you follow and anyone you message to see when you were last active on Instagram apps. When this is turned off, you won't be able to see the activity status of other accounts." To make it so other users cannot see when you are active on Instagram, just make sure that switch is flipped to the left.

As with most app updates, installing this one is not just going to magically appear on your phone; you have to follow a few steps to get your Instagram up-to-date. If you don't see Activity Status popping up on your app, log into your app store and check for available updates. If you don't see the update, that means it's not available to you just yet. But, in the event you do see the update available for download, go ahead and update the app. Once it is up to date, you should be able to open the app and see who is active on your Instagram feed.

Knowing what your friends are doing at any given moment because of social media is a blessing and a curse. There's nothing wrong with setting boundaries, so be sure to know how to turn it off and on depending on what suits you best.