Classic presence controls are coming back to Microsoft’s new Skype apps

Laurent Giret

If you already tried the new Skype experience, now available on iOS and Android as well as Windows, macOS and Linux in preview, you may have noticed that the classic presence controls (“Online,” “Away,” etc.) are gone. Now, you’re either showing up as “Active” when you’re using the app, and your contacts will see you as “Last seen x hours/days ago” when you’re no longer active.

To be precise, it’s still possible to be invisible to your contacts if you go to the settings and turn off “Show my presence to others.” Additionally, turning off notifications for messages by tapping the new bell icon is an equivalent for the old “Do not disturb” status. In other words, the old presence controls are still there in the new Skype experience, but Microsoft made them quite harder to find for users

After listening to user feedback, the company has finally changed its stance and will implement an easier way to change your status in the new Skype apps. Skype Insider Program Manager Ellen Kilbourne announced the changes earlier today.

“In the introduction of the next generation of Skype, we made some big changes to how you show and manage your presence (i.e. visual online status) to others,” explained Kilbourne. “You responded loud and clear – you were not happy with the changes we made.” As a result, here are the changes that are coming today to the Insider builds on iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows Desktop:

  • Let me change my status. You can now set your presence from your avatar.
  • I want to be invisible. Added more presence options.
  • Show me my status. You can now always see the status you are showing others.
  • I cannot see who is online, make the green dot bigger! Made the presence indicators on your contacts larger.

According to Kilbourne, these improvements are coming in Skype version for iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows Desktop, and they should be available “soon” in the Windows 10 UWP app.