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What does the "Last Active" time stand for on Facebook Messenger mobile app?

What does Facebook Messenger iphone app "Last Active" online status time refer to on the mobile app? Is the time shown next to a friends name mean the last time they were logged into the Facebook Messenger app or the last time they sent a message using the facebook messenger app?  Or does the time also show the last time they logged in using the regular Facebook mobile iphone app?

138 Answers

In Facebook Messengers listing of friends, you might see a time listed next to some of your friends name such as: 5m, 1h, or 2d (to the left of the mobile phone icon, either in the Favorites listing or when you do a Search). This time seems to correspond to when a person was last active on the Facebook Messenger app (and also currently includes the main Facebook iphone app, but does not include the Facebook website).  Essentially, this time only seems to be an active time for when they were logged into the Facebook / Messenger mobile apps (or Facebook Messeger desktop app) and using it in some form or fashion (but not necessarily needing to send messages).

In other words, the time that is shown in the Facebook Messenger listings does not refer to when a person was just checking out facebook website, because you can notice friends who will go online using Chat with the green dot, but once they go offline you will not see a time listed next to their name in the Facebook Messenger list in the mobile app.

With that said however, if you click on a friends name in the Facebook Messenger list, it may actually display the last time that a person was logged into Facebook and interacted with the site in some manner, which could simply be clicking around on the site or app (this active time will include the iPhone app, online website, or on facebook Chat). It might give a minute or hour time or say "active now" just below the persons name.  But once the person has logged out or closed out of facebook you will no longer see anything below this persons name, if they are not using the Facebook Messenger app. 

So essentially, it seems as though, only Friends who are using the Facebook Messenger mobile app, will actually retain a time value (such as "active 1h ago" or "active 2d ago") in the Favorites or search listing or when you click on their name.

Lastly it appears that after about 4 days this time value is removed from the list if they have not logged into the Facebook mobile apps.
No, unfortunately, I have friends who have only uploaded the FB mobile app, NOT the FB Messenger, and their time stamp remains next to their name in the Chat side window when it's inactive (but not logged off). However, their time stamp under their name in an open message window will reflect a different time - showing when they were last active on the FB website or desktop version. I keep wondering how/why their are two dif. time stamps for some friends. Sometimes the chat window time stops & the message window stays "active", and other times, the message window time stamp stands still and the chat window time stays constantly at "1 m" as if they are active. I guess having chat & messenges merged & people on multiple devices is really messing with FB's ability to spy on us, huh? LOL –  JC  Nov 20th, 2012 at 6:11 PM
@ John:

Could you explain how someone could have just read a message ( "seen by" pops up under read message) but neither the phone icon/time stamp in sidebar OR time stamp under name in messages is visible? –  JC  Nov 26th, 2012 at 12:27 PM

I have 2 cell phones and fb accounts and checked this thing. "Last Active X time ago" indicates when a person simply opened the fb app or fb messenger app. (Also when they send a msg through the app or messenger or do any kind of activity in these apps. Simply opening the apps will do the job though. Meaning that the stamp will update simply by opening the fb or messenger app.)

Unlike what happens with the apps, the stamp does NOT update when a user simply logs into fb from a computer or a smartphone browser, without going online on the chat.

What I cannot understand is why on earth I can see the stamp for some fb friends and not for others. I can see the "Last Active X time ago" stamp for 5-6 out of my 200 friends. Why is that? I know that the majority of my friends have iPhones or android smartphones and use the fb and/or fb messenger app. How come the stamp is there for only a few of them? And how can I hide my stamp and prevent it from showing my fb friends the last time I was active? It kinda raises privacy concerns. First the "seen at time X" on the private messages, now that. I'm frustrated.
(This is just a guess) But the friends using the FB app or FB messenger app on iPhones (or Android) that don't have a "Last Active" time showing up, may be using an older version of the Facebook app. So this may be the reason why the Last Active time is not showing up, as it may not be recorded/tracked properly in the older version of the FB apps. –  Answers  Oct 20th, 2012 at 7:29 AM

Is there any way to shut this off????
There may be, try the following:

1) On Facebook, click on the top left drop down menu (right next to "Home") and then select "Privacy Settings".
2) Now go to the section "Ads, Apps & Websites" section and click on "Edit Settings".
3) Next go to the section "How people bring your info to apps they use" and click on "Edit Settings".
4) In the pop-up box, uncheck the box that says "If I'm online", then click "Save Changes" button.

Note: I'm still not sure yet if changing this will actually turn off the time stamp, or if this setting is only used for FB Chat. –  Answers  Nov 20th, 2012 at 2:54 PM
I tried the solution above and checked with my best friend. Sadly the stamp is still there and still updated. It doesn't go away. –  randomname  Nov 25th, 2012 at 7:28 AM
Q: "What is my status in Facebook chat if I'm logged in on mobile?
A: If you're logged in on mobile, your friends will see a mobile icon . If you've downloaded Messenger, they'll see the icon. At this time, you cannot change this mobile icon your friends see unless you log out of the app."

using two iPhones, i was able to determine that logging out of the app and/or turning off chat does not change the mobile icon or remove the time stamp next to the mobile icon

i have also determined that the timestamps are not always accurate. my brother (on an Android) would track me correctly, then the next day the time stamp would display one day (1d) when I had been on FBook all day, that day, as well as the previous –  PhilipJensen  Nov 27th, 2012 at 8:21 PM

if i am only checking fb messanger and when i log out of the messenger with out sending any message.will it show my active time? Because i asked my friend to check this thing and she said i cant see any time next to ur name once i logged out of both things? em lil confused now
Yes, it will record your time if you login and then logout of FB Messenger app without sending a message. However, certain peoples phones don't seem to record a time (most likely due to the version of the Facebook app or Facebook Messenger app installed on their phone.

As far as I can tell, most users with iPhones will have a time show up (iPhone 3gs, 4, 5). However, I'm still not sure if there is a privacy setting that will hide the last active time? –  Answers  Nov 5th, 2012 at 6:40 PM

If facebook messenger is not installed on your phone, will it still show last active time on other phones when you log into the regular facebook app?
Yes it will. Whether you open the facebook app or the messenger app, the stamp will still update. Even if you just open the app and not actually do any activity. This is the case whether you have the fb app ONLY, the messenger app ONLY or both. –  randomname  Nov 11th, 2012 at 7:31 PM

So if I understand this, the phone icon will ONLY show for those who have uploaded the mobile app AND they are still logged in? Meaning if they log out of FB messenger or the FB mobile app, the phone icon and the time stamp goes away?
I'm asking this because a friend I message often still shows up in the chat or messenger list with the phone icon. So when I go to send JUST a message (not chat) late at night, it tells me the message will go to that person's phone, NOT their FB inbox. So I've stopped sending messages now after work thinking it's going to send an alert or something. Is there any way the phone icon stays showing for some versions of the apps or certain mobile apps? –  JC  Nov 7th, 2012 at 12:19 PM
If a person has installed the fb and/or fb messenger app, the phone will be next to their name whether they are logged in or not. It's there always. Also, when fb says "person X will receive the message in their phone" , that person will ALSO get the message in their inbox when they visit fb from their computer. –  randomname  Nov 11th, 2012 at 7:34 PM
Q: @ randomname - I have a friend who's mobile phone icon DOES go away at times... no mobile phone or time stamp in the chat window and now time under name in message center. But then a day or so later, their phone/time suddenly appears (with 18h or 2d etc.) and then the time stamp becomes active. How are they turning off their mobile phone icon? (and how can I?) –  JC  Nov 26th, 2012 at 2:28 AM

The phone icon seems to be ALWAYS there with people who regulary log in with a smartphone, ipod, ipad. Even if they are not on, the icon still is there. I tested this with myself an various friends. Very confusing of Facebook. Why dont they give a green dot to the phone icon, which appears, when smartphone users are on.
You are correct. Though now, for all the users who have the updated fb or msngr app, you get the time stamp indicating when they last logged in. Also, at the time they're logged in the stamp reads "Online now", so this stamp is pretty much the green dot. –  randomname  Nov 11th, 2012 at 7:37 PM

i have a friend who passed away on may 26 and her name and the mobile icon are always on my chat list and i don't understand why...
Probably you used to interact a lot with that person before she passed away. I've noticed that fb takes into account the overall interaction and thhe interaction relevant to that you have with the rest of your friends. Also, I've noticed that it's TOOOOO slow in updating the data for these features. In other words, if you and friend X have been close friends overall, fb will have them appear in your chat, 6-friends/8-friends boxes etc, even if months go by with NO interaction whatsoever. (I'm talking from personal experience) –  randomname  Nov 18th, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Well I have a question.. Why am i not seeing timestamp for some of my friends but I see for some? Also after I got a new phone, some of my friends that I could see their time I can't see it anymore. Does anyone know why? Please help.
I've noticed the same thing. It's probably because it's a new feature, so it's still not perfect. –  randomname  Nov 18th, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Time stamp and mobile icon.

Why does time stamp under my friends name appear and it doesn't appear on some others?
And why the mobile icon doesn't appear next to my friends name even if I know they are using the fb messenger app via iPhone? Please help. Is there a secret button or sth in settings through which I can activate the time stamp. Please help me.

I also have the same issue. My mobile icon on messenger and FB isn't visible for my profile and a few of my friends anymore. The rest of my friends are still there and displaying their "Last Active" time. I have updated my phone to the latest software and apps. Not sure why this is like that. I can't find an answer anywhere.

* * * My suggestion to all is to please submit feedback to the FB team thru your messenger app. If you have the latest update for messenger (Version 2.0.2) its under settings and "Give Feedback". FB can you hear me?? (LOL)

If anyone has any answers to this, please let us know here.
I found the answer/solution on another thread!!

"Go to your account drop-down menu & go to "Privacy Settings". Then go down to "Ads, Apps & Websites" and click on 'Edit Settings". Next go into "How people bring your info to apps they use" and click on "Edit Settings".

Make sure you have 'If I'm Online" CHECKED! Otherwise, friends on FB Chat won't be able to see you or vice versa. –  YG  Nov 21st, 2012 at 12:40 AM

Can u deactivate this to where people can no longer see when you were last active?

Is there ANY possibilty of getting an older FB-App-Version back on my iPhone, even if i already installed the new app? This new feature is pretty much annoying....!!! :-/

The last active feature is too much.. I'm really thinking about closing my account.. They need to remove it or give an option to opt in / out..
I think it's joke that they just slipped it in without me knowing unroll one of my friends said.. It's a breach of my privacy.. Sort it out Facebook if you want to keep users ..!
EXACTLY! I completely stopped using my fb and msngr app and I only log into fb using my mobile browser when I want to log in from my phone ONLY because of this stamp.

Also, since the "seen at" feature was introduced for messages, I often do not read some people's messages, even though I can see they've mesgd me, so I can answer whenever I feel like it, without them thinking I'm ignoring them.

The "seen at" and "last active" features have raised too many privacy concerns for me. If one more similar feature is introduced I'll probably stop using my fb completely, like I did with the apps. –  randomname  Nov 18th, 2012 at 8:44 AM

What does "on moblie" on timestamp in fb message mean?

I also would like to figure out why the time stamp was just there for some friends yesterday and gone today. I have looked into how to turn this back on or off but I can't find it anywhere. Hmmm

OK - here's another wierd one. I have both and android and an Iphone. On the android I can see the last active time (4 hrs, 1 day, etc) for every one, But on the Iphone app there is no last activity date for one or two people. why is this happening? I would like to see the last activity date for everyone on the iphone app.

I deleted a friend last night, but they still show up in my favorites and shows a timestamp of last active 20h. Would this be accurate or not, considering i deleted them?

Question: how come some of my friend on my chat list will say they were active "1d ago" but I can see "active now" with the green button up..then I guess when they close fb window or whatever it goes back to showing "1d ago" does "1d ago" mean the last time they logged onto fb from computer or what? An the green dot is where there mobile?

If I receive a push message to my phone will that show on Facebook as me being active? I think it may do as the app becomes active but not by me

some of my friends active 1 hr ago dissapeared?? now when i click on them it doesnt pop up at all and I dont understand why but on my friends phone it will show them when they were last active but for me it shows nothing any one can help me out on this ? thank you so much !!

I believe the answer to your question as to why the mobile icon disappeared is that once someone deletes the app (either FB or Messenger app), they no longer appear as using the mobile app. This seemed to work for me when I tested it out.

Regarding the mobile phone icon with the time stamps (4h next to the icon) .....
Last night, with this "friend" I could click on their name and under it, it did say "active 5m ago". I saw a green dot right away and then it changed to the mobile icon with the time stamp (right as I was looking at the would indicate they were in fact Chatting, right? vs...roaming around on the main FB app??)
Today, however, when I click on the same persons name (4h next to the mobile icon) there is no "active X time stamp" under the name. Does this mean that they have logged out of Facebook Messenger? This person only access' FB via an iPhone. 2 times today the minutes and hours have changed, so it would appear they were using FB messenger/chat and the time next to their name got reset each time (but now the last login was 4 hrs ago). I am so confused! Or, does the time stamp next to their name indicate they were using FB ONLY and not messenger/ chat app. I checked other friends with a green dot who are active on FB and they do NOT have the mobile icon with a time stamp.
How does one turn off the "Active 5m ago" under your name? I thought you could not do this but, I am wrong it seems!

A person said they were asleep but it showed they were active '5hours ago'
Are they lying or does facebook sometimes decide to say you were active when you're not?!
They're lying –  petal  Jul 21st, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I have a problem. My bf thinks im on the chat because it says "5 min ago" oe w.e and assumes im chatting with ppl when im not!! Im just browsing thru fb. Does this happen when u click on the chat button or could it be slimply wen i log on fb??

Does anyone actually know how to turn off the active time on Facebook messages?

i have a new question; if i stop using my iphone fb app and start simply typing 'facebook' into google on safari on my iphone and use the website on my mobile will that make my active stamp go away??
Yes. The stamp is updated only when you use the fb app or fb messenger app. When you log into facebook from you mobile browser, the stamp will NOT be updated. –  randomname  Jan 2nd, 2013 at 7:49 PM

So I messaged a friend yesterday at like 1.00pm or something and now today they still haven't seen it yet their last active keeps changing indicating they've been on facebook. Are they ignoring my message?
There is a good chance they would have seen your facebook message via email, and just haven't clicked on the message within facebook yet. So in all likelihood they've seen your message, but have not wanted to respond right away. Many people take a day or sometimes much longer to respond to messages, so just because they haven't responded to your message within a few hours or a day, doesn't necessarily mean they are ignoring your message. –  Answers  Jan 4th, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Weird question but i was wondering what effect going offline to someone would have on their ability to see your timestamp. You know how you can click on someone's name on chat and go offline to them indefinitely so you don't pop up with a green light to them? Can they still see when you were most recently on? Because that, I think, would kind of defeat the purpose. I just split up with someone and I really don't want to defriend them because I hope to stay amicable, but I have reason to worry about how closely they are keeping tabs on me. If the guy with 2 phones and 2 facebooks could check that would be particularly smashing. Thanks, all!

So on my ipod touch 4th gen, on the fb app it used to show a mobile icon next to my name when i look myself up on the chat but now there's nothing there?? Is the mobile icon suppose to show up if i also have the messenger app?

What about Facebook desktop - what defines you as being "active" and available to chat when you have the desktop version open? I open fb in the morning and keep the tab up all day at work, although the window is minimised and I'm not actually doing anything on fb, it's just open in a tab amongst many others.

Assuming I haven't applied any fancy settings to tell it to do otherwise, does this situation mean that to my friends list I am online all day, always appearing with a green dot next to my name?

You fools just turn off you chat and u guys will appear offline without any time stamp.. While messaging slide the screen to the left in the fb app, then go to settings and turn off chat. Easy!! So much mumbleling i see for such a dumb thing my 5 years old can do.
My 5 years old kid

That last one is not correct, your 5 year old is wrong, My friend is logged off the chat on their phone chat, but still has the time stamp.
And another friend is logged on, shows a green dot, and has the time stamp.

it shows when ever the person in question last interacted with Facebook in ANY WAY whether they loged in, checked there messenger app or... well you get the picture :P

"You fools just turn off you chat and u guys will appear offline without any time stamp.. "
It does not work. Not even close. Please refrain from stupid comments like that when you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Poor 5 year old having to live and be parented by an idiot.

Ok guys please answer this. Is there anyway that a person is not active but i am seeing him as active because he has push notifications on? I mean he does not open the android f/b app but i am seeing him active and then not. He says for the last 5 hours has not opened the f/b app so is there a possibbility that f/b shows his timestamp cause he receives push notifications in his phone and that for f/b is active? Please someone respond me this.

Hello! I am using an iPod touch 4th G. I have one question...
How come when others are on Facebook mobile, a mobile icon appears next to their name saying how long ago they were active? Other friends with iPods are shown that they are available on mobile, and it shows how long ago they were active on Facebook, with a mobile icon beside their name? For me it just says I'm either online with a green dot, and when I'm offline, there's nothing beside my name..

I have had this problem for over a month now.. Is it possible for me to get the mobile icon next to my name for my iPod touch, just like my friends? Thank you for any feedback/help!

I have an iPhone and mine is always either a green dot when I'm online or nothing beside my name..
I would rather have the last active thing and just curious if anyone knows how to make mine like everyone else's lol

I have a Samsung 3 and hated having people know when I was active. Husband showed me that you turn it off by pressing the settings ( bottom left ) press the setting and fb settings come up it says chat availability un tick and walla no one can see when u was last online :)

i have an Android and when i check my facebook messenger app.. i can see the timestamp next to my girlfriends name saying 1min... i checked it periodically and it goes from 5m to 1min.. sometimes stays at a constant 1min... does this mean she is going only on facebook? or is she using the facebook messenger? i read a few of the above answers and it says.. either or? so i guess i will never know if she is messaging or only browsing through facebook huh? DAM YOU FACEBOOK! your killing me inside
the stamp is updated whether you use the messenger APP or the simple facebook APP. ANY of the 2 apps make the time stamp change. –  randomname  Feb 1st, 2013 at 9:18 PM

I have the mobile app and some of my messages are marked as not read. Sometimes when I go on it says the person is active and then when I go on 5 minutes later it says they have not been active for 20 hours? confused....

If you have the phone to sync contacts with facebook every hour it will show you as on at the most 1hr ago all day and night.

Uninstalled FB iPhone app today. Really despise the last active time stamp.

Does the time stamp update if they open the app but have chat turned off
Yes, it will still update the Last Active time stamp even if chat is turned off. –  Answers  Jan 21st, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Anyone know why I don't have this time stamp? I have and iPhone and ipad, which only shows when I'm online (green dot) but when I'm not online it shows nothing, not even a mobile icon.. Does anyone know how I get the time stamp? Tanks

Hi There

So I did some testing...

Apparently if you're logged in with any devices such as /Iphone / Tablet / Android / Mobile / Facebook App / Facebook Messenger whatever the case may be ... YOU WILL BE SHOWN as available with a green dot next to your name in chat.

To disable the last active time stamp, this has been mentioned before in an earlier post:
"Go to your account drop-down menu & go to "Privacy Settings". Then go down to "Ads, Apps & Websites" and click on 'Edit Settings". Next go into "How people bring your info to apps they use" and click on "Edit Settings".

The time you last logged in will not be displayed anymore at least if you are logging in via Mobile Facebook Messenger, or via PC Browser Facebook login or Facebook App Login.
(Please note you can stop any other sessions in the "security Panel"

I came here with one question... "How come, some users do not have any kind of Mobile icon or last seen timestamp next t otheir name in the chat box"

The answer to the timestamp resolved but the Icon was still showing so .... the only thing I did was "TURN OFF CHAT" and voilla!! White space ;)

All messages get sent to your inbox in any case.

Hope this helps >_> or if not...whatever :D but thanks!

I have an iphone 4s and the girl im dating has an android operating system phone. This is what I have come up with for all the people who are wanting to know what this time stamp thing means. I tested this extensively with my phone and another friends phone which is an android.

The bottom line is, the messenger app is NOT ACCURATE as far as the time stamps go. Dont trust the time stamps on messenger at all.

If you notice, when you message someone on the messenger app, that same message with show up in the fb app under the messages button at the top of your screen. If you are wanting to keep tabs on a wife, girlfriend, child or whoever (for instance you texted them - they dont answer but you see they are all over their facebook - so they are just ignoring you) the best way to see the last time they were active on facebook is to open the your messages in the actual fb app. This is damn near 100 percent accurate. The messenger app IS NOT.

my hours next to my facebook chat have disappeared. I had the time stamp next to my contacts but now its no longer there. Really confused. Is my chat playing up or have facebook decided to retract the time stamp?!

Natasha (a user up there who commented) is a good test case because she claims she's just logging in and this updates her time stamp.

My guess is that either a) It indicates your activity on facebook or b) her chat is being refreshed when she logs in and is not aware of it.

I'm guessing it indicates activity on facebook. Especially since none of us are really 100% sure of what chat's doing when we access the site from our phones

How do I get the "last active" on my desktop Facebook? It shows when I check my phone but not when I'm on my laptop.

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