How Accurate Is Instagram’s Active Now in 2024

When you head to your Instagram DM inbox, you will see a carousel of profile pictures along the top of…

When you head to your Instagram DM inbox, you will see a carousel of profile pictures along the top of your screen, each with a green dot overlapping their picture.

This green dot indicates that the user is ‘Active Now’ and is seemingly located in the DM inbox so that you can see which users are online at the same time as you.

Clicking onto their profile picture from within the inbox will open your direct message stream with them – with pale grey text under their username indicating that they are indeed ‘Active Now’.

But how accurate is this tag in 2024’s version of Instagram – and how long does it take for the information to be updated once the user has closed Instagram and moved onto something else?

How Accurate Is ‘Active Now’?

The ‘Active Now’ feature is popular with users who want to know which of their friends are online at the same time as them, supposedly giving them access to a pool of users who will see and thus respond to content and messages more quickly.

But this feature from Instagram isn’t perfect.

In terms of accuracy, the ‘Active Now’ function has a few challenges against it. These are:

  1. When a user is on Instagram, it can take up to 10 minutes for the ‘Active Now’ status to appear. For many users, this means that they have come and gone from the app before the feature even recognises them to be active.
  2. After leaving Instagram there is a delay which leaves you as ‘Active Now’ even when you’re not. More on that in the next section…
  3. Both users need to be following each other in order to activate the ‘Active Now’ tag and feature. So, you cannot see when a user that you follow is active, unless they are following you back.

How Long After Leaving Instagram Does The Active Status Change?

It is believed that the green ‘Active Now’ dot remains in place for up to five minutes after a user has left the app – meaning that the accuracy of the feature still leaves a lot to be desired.

What this means from a user point of view is that Instagram may show you, or another user, to be online even when you’re not.

And once Instagram catches up and recognises your account to be inactive once again, the time lapse between now and your last active time seems to be rounded up – another black mark against complete accuracy!

Suffice to say, Instagram’s ‘Active Now’ feature probably isn’t the most reliable indicator of who is online at any given time. While it can give you some insight into when your friends were last active, it is not accurate enough to use for any concrete reason.