Can Wi-Fi Owners See What You Do on Your Apps, Like Twitter & Instagram?

The URLs history interface of the Asus router

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What To Know

What Wi-Fi Owners Can See:

  • Visited URLs, including websites, pages, and apps.
  • The number of devices connected to their Wi-Fi network.
  • Duration of your activity on these apps and websites.

What Wi-Fi Owners Can’t See:

  • Specific actions within the apps, like watching videos, liking photos, or your chat interactions.

This article tackles a pressing question: Can Wi-Fi owners see what you’re doing on apps like Twitter and Instagram? 

We’ll delve into what Wi-Fi owners can actually track and offer effective ways to protect your online privacy, including insights from our experiments with tools like ExpressVPN.

Let’s get started.

Can Parents Monitor Your App Activity on Their Wi-Fi?

Parents can often view the web browsing history through the family Wi-Fi router, which includes a record of the websites and apps visited. 

However, the specifics of what you do within those apps remain private

For example, while parents might see that you’ve accessed a social media platform like Twitter or Instagram, they can’t see the details of your activities, such as which videos you watched or the photos you liked.

If you’re seeking more privacy and wish to keep your online activities hidden, using a VPN like ExpressVPN can be a significant help. 

In my experiment using ExpressVPN versus not using it, the difference was clear. While connected to my Asus Router AX3000, my social media activity, including 30 minutes spent on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, wasn’t recorded in the router’s web history when I used ExpressVPN. This demonstrates a VPN’s role in safeguarding online privacy. 

Without using ExpressVPN

The URLs Facebook is tracked by history feature on Asus router

With ExpressVPN On

The iPhone 13 is using Express VPN at a specific time

The history tracking the device that accessed to multiple of the URLs by Asus router

However, if you have access to your parents’ router settings, remember you could technically clear the web history, though this should be approached cautiously and responsibly.

Before and after clearing the history on Asus router

Can Wi-Fi Owners Track Your Incognito History Browser?

Using Incognito Mode or private browsing in a web browser doesn’t record your browsing history on your device. This means no traces are left on your computer or phone regarding the websites you visited once you close the incognito window. 

However, it’s important to understand that Incognito Mode isn’t a complete privacy solution.

Despite not storing your history, Incognito Mode doesn’t fully shield your online activities from external observation. 

The Wi-Fi network owner can still potentially see your browsing activities. This is because Incognito Mode primarily prevents data from being saved on your device, not from passing through the Wi-Fi network’s router

As a result, your internet traffic, even while in Incognito Mode, can still be monitored or logged by the Wi-Fi router.

Can The Wi-Fi Owner See Who Is Connected?

Yes, Wi-Fi owners do have the ability to see who is connected to their network. 

The list of devices that are connected to Asus router via Wi-Fi connection

This visibility comes from accessing the router’s control panel. Through this panel, not only can they see the list of connected devices, but they can also monitor how many devices are currently using the network. 

Additionally, owners can assess which particular device is consuming the most data.

While Wi-Fi owners can see the overall data usage for activities like downloading or uploading, they cannot view the specific content of these data transfers. 

The data usage metrics show network activity but do not reveal the exact content being accessed or transferred by each device.

How Can Wi-Fi Owners See Your History

Wi-Fi owners have the capability to monitor which websites and apps are accessed by devices connected to their network. 

For those with administrative access to their Wi-Fi network, like myself with an Asus router, viewing this information is quite straightforward. 

Let me walk you through how Wi-Fi owners can check which specific websites and apps are being accessed:

Step 1: First, I log into my Asus router’s admin interface.

The login admin interface of the Asus router

Step 2: In the admin interface, I can see how many devices are currently connected by selecting View List.

The view list feature on Asus router admin interface

The list of devices that are connected to Asus router via Wi-Fi connection

Step 3: To review the web history of each device, I navigate to Adaptive QoS → Web History. Here, I can view the domain names of the websites visited by the devices. 

While this shows me which sites have been accessed, I cannot see specific content or activities performed on these sites, like what videos were watched or specific in-app actions.

The URLs history interface of the Asus router

For Websites That You Visit

Wi-Fi owners can see your internet activity.

To connect you to websites, the router must read your device’s IP address and the website’s URL before routing the data from the internet to your device (e.g., computer, smartphone, etc).

Additionally, certain routers keep logs of devices’ IP addresses and internet activity that can be accessed by heading to the router’s admin page. 

While this feature is useful when you’re trying to figure out if other people are secretly using your Wi-Fi, it can become troublesome if you’re trying to keep your online activity private.

For What You Do On Apps

Routers do not keep a log of the specific tasks you perform on websites or apps.

While routers do keep a log of your IP address and the websites’ IP addresses you visit, they do not store information about what you do on this website.

For instance, the Wi-Fi owners may be able to see that you visited YouTube, but they won’t be able to see that you binge-watched gaming tutorials.

So, while your boss will be able to see that you visited Facebook 11 times one day, they won’t be able to see that you were stalking your ex. Still, they will be able to see that you spent company time on social media.

How Express VPN Enhances Your Privacy Protection?

Wi-Fi owners can not see which websites you visit if you use a VPN.

Instead, they will only see that you are accessing a VPN.

VPNs hide your internet traffic by encrypting it before it leaves your computer and is sent to your router, allowing you to privately access websites without the Wi-Fi owners’ knowledge.

This information will only be decrypted once it is received by the VPN server, meaning that the router (or any third parties) won’t be able to keep a log of your activity.

However, some VPNs access your internet activity and may keep logs of it, depending on the VPN provider’s terms and conditions.

That’s why we recommend ExpressVPN for its top security features. ExpressVPN does not log user data, ensuring your privacy is maintained.


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