Does Your Status Go Idle When You Play Games on Facebook?

By Carolyn Luck

Hide behind your Facebook apps with a few extra steps.
i Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Facebook apps and games can become quite addicting, causing you to forget about other Facebook tasks like updating status, posting photos and chatting. If you find yourself neglecting friends in favor of beating the hundredth level of the latest Facebook gaming app, don’t think you can hide behind your avatar without taking added measures to do so. Your status won’t automatically go idle during game play. In fact, many apps incorporate default settings generating numerous notifications during active play, resulting in an anything but idle status.

Chat Availability

Adjusting your chat availability, or status, by turning the Chat feature on or off. You can apply these settings across the board, or on an individual or group basis, making yourself idle to everyone or just select friends. When you turn Chat off, any messages you receive go directly to your inbox and, if you use one of the Facebook Mobile apps, to your mobile device as well. Although your status is idle, some Facebook activity, such as game play and status updates, may be visible to friends. The idle status only applies to your availability to communicate directly via Facebook Chat.

Chat Icons

Chat availability status is denoted with icons appearing in your friends’ chat sidebars. When you’re available, your name appears with a green dot beside it, indicating your readiness to accept and respond to messages. This is not affected by game play. When you’re idle, your name appears with a mobile phone-shaped icon beside it if you’ve downloaded one of the Facebook Mobile apps. If you’re not a mobile app user, your idle status is denoted by your name with no icon. When you’re unavailable, across the board or to certain members, your name will not appear. This means you’ve turned Chat off for at least some friends. If you leave Chat on for some friends, those members see your name with the green dot beside it. Note that if your status goes idle, simply starting a new game will not change your icon to green. It only changes if you post a status or other Facebook activity, or if a member attempts to message you after game play has started.

Ticker & News Feed

Playing games will not result in an idle status; rather, game play has the opposite effect as your friends’ News Feeds and Tickers display updates and notifications of your gaming activity. Many apps encourage you to share your successes and invite friends to play along with you, typically in real-time during active play. For example, if you play “Candy Crush Saga,” the app displays your levels passed in your friends’ Tickers, enables you to invite them to play and share tips. To limit the visibility of your gaming activity, click the gear-shaped icon in the upper-right corner of any page and select the “Account Settings” option from the drop-down menu. Select the “Apps” link in the left side panel of the resulting page, and click the “Edit” link beside the app you wish to adjust from the “Apps You Use” list. Designate how you share information with friends about the games you play.

External Games

While Facebook applications and games can be directly linked to your idle status, external ones cannot. Playing games on external websites while logged in to your Facebook account may result in your status going idle. If you’re logged in to your Facebook account, but not interacting with apps, posting content or messaging with friends due to external game play, your status may go idle. The period of time varies based on factors like automatic refreshing intervals, switching between browser windows and other inadvertent activity.