How Can You Tell if Someone Is Actually Active on Skype?

by Andrew McClain ; Updated September 13, 2017

Just like any phone or messaging service, your contacts on Skype may not always be available for calls or text messages. Before you reach out to one of your contacts in your Contact List, you can check to see if they are available to talk or chat. Looking at the icon beside a contact's name will tell you if your friend is online, offline, busy or available to talk.

Checking Someone's Status

Skype lists all of your current contacts and shows you what status they currently have. Simply open Skype and scroll down to the person you want to contact on you Contacts List. If there is a green check mark next to your friend's name, she is available to receive a call or Skype message. This mark indicates your contact is online and logged into Skype. If you see the green cloud with a white circle in it, your contact is currently in a conversation.

Understanding Skype Status Icons

There are several different Skype Status Icons that can make things a bit confusing for those trying to see if a friend is actually online, so it's important to understand what these are and how they work. Beyond the green checkmark Online icon, there is the yellow clock Away icon, which means your contact may or may not be at their computer currently. This icon may come on automatically if the contact is inactive for a certain period of time or it can be manually set.

The red Do Not Disturb icon is manually set by your contact and means that they do not wish to be contacted currently. If you do contact them then they will receive the message, but won't be alerted with a sound.

The green icon with an arrow is the Calls forwarded icon which indicates that the contact is not presently available on Skype but that your call to them will be forwarded to their mobile device.

Contacts with a white and green cloud may either be Invisible or Offline. The Invisible status allows contacts to continue using Skype but not be disturbed by instant messages or calls from others, while the Offline icon means that the contact is not signed into Skype at all.

Finally, there is the Contact request pending question mark icon which may appear next to a contact that you've added but who has not yet accepted your request.

Changing Your Own Skype Status

Setting your own Skype status to Away, Do Not Disturb or Invisible is as easy as clicking the small icon under your name and then selecting either Online, Away, Do Not Disturb or Invisible. Remember that if you select Do Not Disturb or Invisible you will not be alerted to new messages or calls so you'll have to remember to check these manually.

Tip

  • While you can write a message to a contact in Skype while he is offline, it will be stored on your computer or mobile device. Only when both you and your friend are both online at the same time will the message be sent.

About the Author

Andrew McClain has been writing since 1994. He has written several articles for various websites and writes user guides and software manuals for several freelance clients. He has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Missouri.