Each day our volunteer-driven support team gets several thousand requests from our users to help them hide their Last Seen time. We knew it's important, and have been working hard to get this feature right. We wanted to make sure that Telegram users would have unprecedented precision and flexibility, without the usual tradeoffs.
Starting today, you can specify exactly who will see your Last Seen time in both our iOS and Android apps. You can choose between the three basic options (“Everybody”, “My Contacts” and “Nobody”) and add any number of exceptions into the “Always Share With…” and “Never Share With…” sections.
For example, this way you can make your Last Seen time available to everybody but your boss, or to nobody with the exception of your marriage partner (or vice versa, it's up to you). If you’d like to share your Last seen time only with your contacts plus the members of some work-related group you have, you can do it in just a few taps. This makes countless combinations possible.
To make things fair, you won’t see Last Seen timestamps for people with whom you don‘t share your own. That’s why it‘s important to have granular controls — Telegram’s precision helps you avoid difficult choices. For example, you don't need to choose between hiding your Last Seen from your boss and being able to know when your best friend was online. You can have both.
Of course, the absence of a Last Seen timestamp makes it difficult to know whether the person you're about to contact is a regular user of Telegram and will be able to read your message. That is why even if the exact Last Seen time is hidden, you will still see an approximate value, like “last seen recently” (i.e. from one minute ago to about 3 days) or “last seen within a month”. This keeps stalkers away, but makes it possible to understand whether a person is reachable over Telegram.
Speaking of inactive users, we're not going to have too many of them soon. Starting today, Telegram accounts will self-destruct after 6 months of inactivity by default.
Big companies like to accumulate data about their users and keep it for an indefinite time. Telegram is not a commercial organization and we value our disk space greatly. Last year we introduced self-destructing messages, today we are adding self-destructing accounts.
From now on, if you stop using Telegram and do not login for at least 6 months, your account will be deleted along with all messages, media, contacts and every other piece of data you store in the Telegram cloud. You can change the exact period after which your inactive account will self-destruct – with options ranging from 1 month to 1 year.
These new features are already available in our iOS and Android apps. Stay tuned for more privacy-related updates.
The Telegram Team,
November 19, 2014