How to Be Invisible on Facebook

Social media doesn’t always have to be so social

A woman using a smartphone.

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Facebook is great for connecting with friends through seeing and interacting with their posts, or through using the chat function in real time. But there may be situations when you just want to browse undisturbed. At those times you can turn off the “available” notification in the chat function to make it look like you’re not online. It’s easy to do. Here’s how.

When you appear offline, your actions will still be visible when you like or comment on other people's posts.

In addition to being invisible to your Facebook friends at times, there are ways to make it impossible for certain people to find you on Facebook at all.

How to Appear Offline on Facebook Using a PC or Mac

When you turn your active status off, you’ll still receive messages, but they’ll go into your inbox to read later. 

  1. Open Facebook on your PC. 

  2. In the lower-right corner, click the Options (gear) icon. 

  3. Click Turn Off Active Status (this option may appear as Turn Off Chat).

    A Facebook dialog box is giving the option to be invisible to all friends, or just some.

    In the dialog box, select the radio button next to your selection.

    • Select Turn Off Active Status for All Contacts if you don’t want to be disturbed by anyone.
    • Pick Turn Off Active Status for All Contacts Except if you don’t want to be disturbed by most people, but want to be available to a select few. You’ll be given the option to choose who you want to be available to.
    • Choose Turn off Active Status for Only Some Contacts if there are just a few people you don’t want to know you’re on Facebook. You’ll be given the option to choose who you don’t want to be available to. 
  4. Click OK.  

Your active status will remain off until you turn it back on.

How to Appear Offline on Facebook Using an Android Device

If you want to be extra certain that you appear as inactive on Facebook, switch your active status to “off” across all the devices where you use it. 

  1. Open your Facebook app.

  2. Tap the hamburger icon (menu) in the upper-right corner.

  3. Scroll down to the Settings & Privacy Section. Tap Settings.

  4. Scroll down to the Privacy section and tap Active Status

    A Facebook app dialog box is giving the option to turn off active status.

    Tap the switch to the off position, and confirm. 

  5. Now friends can't identify you as being online.

How to Appear Offline on Facebook Using an iOS Device

The process for turning off your active status on the Facebook app is slightly different for an iOS device than for an Android one.

  1. Open your Facebook app.

  2. Tap the hamburger icon (menu) in the lower-right corner.

  3. Scroll down and tap Settings & Privacy

  4. Tap Settings

  5. Scroll down to the Privacy section and tap Active Status.

  6. Tap the slider next to Show when you're active to turn it off.

  7. You're prompted to confirm you choice, then the slider will become white. Once Active Status is disabled, others won't be able to see when you are actively using Facebook.

How to Go Offline on Facebook Messenger

If you want to make sure your contacts really don’t see you on Facebook, you’ll need to go radio silent on Messenger as well.

Go Offline on Facebook Messenger Using the Android App

  1. Open Messenger on your phone.

  2. Tap your profile picture in the upper-right corner.

  3. Within your profile, tap Active Status.

    The Facebook Messenger app is giving the option to turn off active status.

    Tap the switch to the off position, and confirm.

  4. Now your contacts will see you as offline.

You can still participate in conversations you already had going.

Go Offline on Facebook Messenger Using the iOS App

  1. Open Messenger on your iOS.

  2. Tap your profile picture in the upper-right corner.

  3. Tap Active (this may show up as Active Status).

  4. Tap the switch to the off position, and confirm if requested.

You can still send messages when the app is in this mode.