Instagram Says Active When Not (7 Reasons Why)

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Instagram Says Active When Not

The “Active Now” feature enables users to see the active status of someone they follow. A green dot next to a user’s name indicates that they are currently online and active on the Instagram app. The actual logistics behind this feature can be confusing. Users have reported instances of their accounts showing as “Active Now” with the accompanying green dot when they are currently offline.

This can be an issue for users trying to contact someone who is currently showing as “Active Now” that is actually offline. This guide will break down the cause of this error, along with ways to fix and prevent the issue.

Why Does Instagram Say Active When Not?

If you are following someone and that person follows you back, you will be able to see whether or not that person is online at that time. You’ll see a green dot next to their photo and the status “Active Now.” However, if a person doesn’t follow you or hasn’t sent you a direct message, you won’t be able to see this information. Unfortunately, the active status on Instagram is not always accurate, and here’s why.

1. Not Enough Time Has Passed

If enough time hasn’t passed for the Active status to be updated, then it may show that someone is active when they’re not. There needs to be a gap of about 10 minutes before someone’s activity status displays accurately. If someone stopped using Instagram a few minutes ago and it says they’re active when their not, you may need to give it about 10 minutes before their true active status is reflected.

2. Instagram Is Running in the Background

It is surprising how many people are unaware that Instagram is still operating in the background, even when they are not actively using it. The only way to ensure that Instagram isn’t working in the background is to completely close the program rather than simply leaving it open on your device.

When Instagram is running in the background, other users will see you as active. To ensure you are inactive on Instagram, you need to close the Instagram tabs.

3. They’re Active, and They’re Being Dishonest to You

Sometimes people lie about being offline when they are using the app. If someone appears online but tells you they are offline, they could be lying to you. While Instagram activity can be inaccurate, sometimes users lie and say they are not online.

4. The Account Was Hacked

Hackers typically change your password soon away, but you could get lucky and be able to enter into your account using a stored login if you’re fortunate enough. If someone hacks your phone, they control your Instagram activity, leaving people thinking you are active when you are not.

5. They’re on Instagram, But They’re Not Using Their Phone

If someone leaves their phone on Instagram, they will appear as if they are online. The active status on Instagram does not mean that someone is actively using the app.

When you leave your phone screen on Instagram and step away from the phone, people will think that you are online. You may not be using the app, but you will be seen as someone online because your screen is on the Instagram tab.

6. Instagram Is Glitching

A glitch is a technical word that refers to a tiny and transient fault in a system that happens due to unknown factors. When there is an Instagram glitch, users may appear as if they are online when they are not.

Luckily glitches don’t last long, and they are rectified, or an Instagram update will be released if an Instagram update is released, update the app to ensure that you don’t face the same glitch again.

7. They’re Using It on Desktop, and It’s Running on Another Tab

You can be logged in to Instagram on multiple devices. You can even open the app on various tabs on one device. If you forget to log out of one of the devices or you don’t close the Instagram tabs, other users will think you are online.

If you open Instagram on a desktop, don’t forget to close the tab when using the computer. If you leave the Instagram tab open while using the desktop, you will be online. To avoid other users thinking you are online, log out of Instagram on different devices and be sure to close the tabs when you are not using the app.

How Accurate is Instagram Active Now?

The accuracy of the “Active Now” feature on Instagram will vary by user. Generally, there will be a minimal delay between actual active status and downtime. The green dot appearing next to the names of currently active users is fairly responsive.

That being said, it is possible to encounter some significant delays between status updates. Users have reported remaining “Active Now” for up to 15 minutes after logging out. If your “Active Now” status persists for longer than this the cause might lie elsewhere.

While not completely accurate, the “Active Now” system works considerably well and can often be safely relied on to indicate the current active status of a user.

Why Does a Green Dot Appear on Inactive Instagram Users?

The green dot is the main indicator that people rely on to determine the online status of a user. It is fairly accurate and responsive to status changes but there is some room for error. If you find yourself messaging an “Active Now” user, only to be met with radio silence, their status might not have had time to update yet.

Another common cause for a persistent green dot is being logged in on another device or unknowingly running Instagram in the background. Be sure to log out on all your devices to give your status a chance to update.

What “Active Now” Actually Means on Instagram

Your “Active Now” status is only visible when using Instagram’s chat feature, Instagram Direct. Your activity status is not visible to users viewing your posts or stories. When using Instagram Direct you will be able to see a list of all your available friends and followers and their “Active Now” status. A green dot by their name indicates a currently active user.

The “Active Now” feature can help you determine who is available to chat with, in real-time. Status updates are generally reflected very quickly, keeping users up to date on the activity of their friends.

Why Is Instagram “Active Now” Status Always On?

The most common cause of a persistent “Active Now” status is inadequate time for Instagram to update the status of your account. It can take up to 15 minutes for the changes to reflect on your profile. During that time, you may appear online to your friends, even though you are not currently active.

You could also be inadvertently logged in on another device or have Instagram still running in the background. A thorough check that you are logged out on all devices can give Instagram a chance to update your profile to reflect your status changes.

It is also possible that you have encountered a bug while using Instagram Direct. If you think that the “Active Now” information is inaccurate, you could try restarting the Instagram app to help update your friends’ list to reflect any status changes.

Does “Active Now” On Instagram Mean Someone Is Chatting?

The “Active Now” status does not necessarily mean that a user is currently chatting with someone. All this status signifies is that the user has been online in the past few minutes. The only way to see if someone you follow is currently active is to engage in a chat with them and see if they respond.

The “Active Now” feature is currently only useful for determining if a user has recently been online, not if they are currently engaged in a conversation. You can still safely assume that any messages sent to someone with a green dot indication will be seen promptly, as long as they have not recently got offline.

If Instagram Is Running in The Background Does My Profile Show As “Active Now”?

If you have Instagram running in the background on your smartphone you will show up as “Active Now”, even if you are not currently using the application. When applications are sent to the background, they retain a space in memory so they can quickly be opened up again.

For your Instagram Direct status to reflect your current status activity, you must be sure to log out of Instagram completely and close the application. This gives Instagram a chance to update your profile to reflect the changes to your online status.

Why Is He/She Always “Active Now” on Instagram?

If you notice someone you follow is constantly showing as “Active Now” in Instagram Direct, this is likely due to a persistent login. Users who keep Instagram running in the background or logged in on a desktop will show as “Active Now” indefinitely. You should keep this in mind when messaging someone with a long-term persistent “Active Now” status, as they could be currently unavailable.

If this is your girlfriend or boyfriend, you can simply ask them if they’re actually active on the app or if it’s something else.

How To Fix Instagram Always “Active Now” Status

Now that you understand more about the “Active Now” status and what affects it, you can consider ways to ensure that your status always closely reflects your actual activity. A few methods to consider are listed below:

1. Always Log Out When Inactive

If having your profile reflect your status when you are away is important to you, then you should consider doing a full log-out anytime that you are done using the Instagram app. Leaving the app running in the background will lead to a persistent “Active Now” status.

2. Reestablish Your Internet Connection

If you find that your status is not reflecting your changes fast enough, you should try resetting your internet connection. A bad internet connection can lead to an inaccurate “Active Now” status. Reestablish your connection to ensure that your internet is not causing the issue. This is a good practice when experience any internet related issue.

3. Close it in the Background

Although the easy way to turn off this function is not located anywhere on Instagram, you can accomplish this through your device’s settings on iPhone and Android by blocking background data use.

When using iOS, these are the actions to take to turn off this function on Instagram on iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app from your Home screen and select General from the drop-down menu.
  2. Look for the option Background App Refresh in this section.
  3. Turn off the Instagram app for which you’d like to disable it by toggling the switch adjacent to it. When the toggle is turned off, the button will be grayed out.

If you want to stop this function on Instagram for Android, you must first disable background data use on your phone from the settings menu. Take the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the Settings menu and then Network & Internet.
  2. Select App data use from the Mobile network drop-down menu.
  3. In this section, search for Instagram, touch on it and then turn off the option for Background data.
  4. The app will not utilize mobile data in the background and will not automatically refresh as a result of this. Additionally, your mobile data will get saved.

4. Get Help from Another Instagram User

If you have a friend who notices your inaccurate “Active Now” status, you should ask them to restart their app and see if the issue is on their end. Sometimes the Instagram app needs to be refreshed to reflect any new changes. Trying this method can help pinpoint if the issue is on your end.

5. Disable The “Active Now” Feature Entirely

If the “Active Now” feature is not something that you are interested in, you can easily change your Instagram settings to hide your status from public view. To do this, simply navigate to your Instagram settings and tap into the Privacy and Security tab. There you will find the option to hide your “Active Now” status.

Keep in mind that doing so will hide the “Active Status” of all users from you as well. If you change your mind, you can always switch it back on anytime.

6. Be Patient and Give Instagram Time to Update

The easiest solution to this problem would give Instagram adequate time to update any new status changes and reflect them on your profile. More often than not, you will find that this solves any “Active Now” status issues that you might encounter while using the Instagram app.

It can take Instagram anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes for your account to update and reflect your inactivity.

Conclusion

An inaccurate “Active Now” status can lead to confusion or awkward situations between you and your friends and acquaintances. If keeping your status current and having that reflected on your profile is a priority for you, consider following some of the methods above for ensuring that your active status is always up to date.

The most common reason for an inaccurate “Active Now” status is not enough time passing between logging out. It can take up to 15 minutes for Instagram to reflect changes onto your account, though it more often happens sooner. Avoiding having your Instagram account running in the background can be your main deterrent from any “Active Now” status problems.

With this guide, you can now take control of your online presence. Instagram is an important platform for communication for people across the globe. Being able to depend on the accuracy of the “Active Now” status is important to users, so now you can be proactive in your approach towards online privacy.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

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