“Typing indicator” bubbles on iPhone, Gchat, Facebook Messenger: When can someone see you typing? Explained.

When Can Someone See You Typing? Explained.

When Can Someone See You Typing? Explained.

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
April 7 2015 9:02 AM

When Can Someone See You Typing? Explained.

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Have you ever felt self-conscious about how long you’re taking to compose a message? Ever gotten interrupted in the middle of a message—by a phone call or by your dog—and worried that the other person would think you were still typing?

If you’ve ever felt anxiety about the “typing indicator”—those “So-and-so is typing ...” bubbles that appear whenever you’re typing an instant message—you are not alone. But when, precisely, does it appear? And when, precisely does it go away? We conducted some side-by-side tests with iMessage, Gchat, and Facebook Messenger to find out.

Chris Wade is a New York-based video and audio producer and an occasional contributor to Brow Beat.