The “Active Now” feature on Instagram shows you which of your friends or followers are currently online and using the app. It’s a convenient way to see who’s available for a quick chat or to view Stories in real time.
But just how accurate is the “Active Now” indicator? In this post, I did some testing to find out.
Over the past week, I monitored the “Active Now” status of several friends at different times of day. I then reached out to them to verify if they really were on Instagram when it said they were “Active Now.”
The results revealed some interesting insights into how this feature actually works. Read on to find out what I discovered about the accuracy of Instagram’s “Active Now” indicator and how it compares to real activity in the app.
What Does Active Now Mean On Instagram?
The “Active Now” feature shows users who are currently online and active in the Instagram app.
ou’ll see a green dot next to the profile names of your followers who are actively using Instagram at that moment. This could mean they are scrolling through their feed, watching Stories, commenting on posts, direct messaging, or using Instagram in any other way.
Essentially, if someone has the app open and they’ve interacted with it in the last few minutes, they will show as “Active Now” to their followers.
It’s a way to get a sense of who is live on Instagram and available for engagement in real-time.
But as we’ll explore in this post, it isn’t an exact science. The “Active Now” indicator gives you a good idea of current activity, but it isn’t flawless.
Is Active Now On Instagram Accurate?
During my testing over the past week, I found that Instagram’s “Active Now” status is reasonably accurate, but not 100% precise. There were definitely times when friends showed as “Active Now” and they really were actively using Instagram at that moment.
However, there were also a number of occasions when someone displayed as “Active Now” but they actually hadn’t opened Instagram in over an hour. It seemed to lag behind their real activity at times.
I also saw cases where friends told me they were browsing Instagram but their status didn’t say “Active Now.”
Overall, I’d say the “Active Now” indicator is generally reliable, but with some inconsistencies. It provides a good guideline for who is current active, but you can’t always take it as complete gospel.
The status seems to update on a delay at times, or occasionally gets stuck showing users as active when they’re not.
But in most cases, if someone is marked “Active Now” they likely have been using Instagram very recently. It’s just not perfectly precise to the minute.
It is safe to assume there is a 10-minute delay, after which only the Active Now status goes away in most cases.
How Long Does the Active Now Status Last on Instagram?
During my testing, I found that the “Active Now” status remains for a fairly short period after you’ve been actively using Instagram. From my observations, the green dot typically disappears around 10-15 minutes after you’ve stopped interacting with the app.
For example, if I was browsing Instagram for 20 minutes straight, my status would show “Active Now” that whole time. But if I then didn’t touch the app for 15 minutes, I would no longer display as active even though I still had Instagram open.
It seems the “Active Now” indicator is based more on your recent activity rather than whether the app is open.
You need to continually be liking, commenting, messaging, etc for the status to remain green. If you’ve been inactive for 10-15 minutes, Instagram seems to assume you’re no longer actively using it and will remove the online indicator.
Can I Disable Active Now on Instagram?
If you don’t want your activity status displayed to others, you can disable the “Active Now” feature in your Instagram settings. Here’s how to turn it off:
Go to your profile and tap the three line menu in the top right.
Go to “Settings & Privacy“.
Select “Messages and story replies“.
Select” Show Activity Status“.
Under Activity Status, switch the toggle off for “Show Activity Status”.
Once you toggle this off, you will no longer show as “Active Now” to other people when you’re on Instagram. Other users will not see when you are actively using the app.
Here’s a detailed on disabling last seen on Instagram.
This gives you more privacy and prevents followers from knowing when exactly you are online.
How does Instagram determine “Active Now” status?
Instagram uses signals like in-app activity, user interactions, and recency of app usage to determine who is “Active Now.” It’s not just whether the app is open, but if you’ve liked posts, watched Stories, etc. recently.
Is “Active Now” status always accurate?
It’s fairly accurate, but not perfect. Sometimes it lags behind and shows some users as active when they aren’t. Other times it fails to show some active users with the status. But in most cases, it gives a good indication of who is currently on.
Can someone see if I’m Active Now on Instagram?
Yes, your followers can see when you are shown as “Active Now” and know you are online. The only way to hide this is to disable it in your settings.
How do I turn off “Active Now” status?
Go to Settings > Privacy > Activity Status and toggle off “Show Activity Status”. This will stop you from being shown as active.
What happens if I turn off Active Now?
You won’t show as active to others. But you also won’t be able to see anyone else’s “Active Now” status – it works both ways.
Can I hide my Active Now status from specific people?
No, it’s either on for all your followers or off for all. You can’t select who sees your activity.
In closing, the “Active Now” feature on Instagram provides a useful, if imperfect, way to get a sense of who is currently active on the platform.
Through my testing, I found that it’s reasonably accurate in showing real-time activity, but the status can sometimes lag behind actual usage. The indicator lasts for around 10-15 minutes after you’ve stopped interacting with the app.