A new SharePoint Online settings is being rolled out to let you configure the idle session timeout.

The idle session timeout setting will let you configure how long the system is waiting before notifying and then logging out an inactive user.

This setting applies only on web browser session and should not impact OneDrive for Business client.

To configure it – including enabling the setting which is disabled by default – you need to use the latest version of the SharePoint Online PowerShell module available at https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=255251 (at the time of writing this post the latest version is 16.0.7018.1200)

Once you have the latest SPO PowerShell module installed execute the following commands

  • Connect to your SharePoint Online tenant using Connect-SPOService –Url <your SPO tenant admin URL – like https://mytenant-admin.sharepoint.com>

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  • Then run the command Get-SPOBrowserIdleSignOut to check the current state; if this is the first you configure it you should have as a result the following

Enabled WarnAfter SignOutAfter
——- ——— ————
  False 00:00:00  00:00:00

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  • If you want to enable it then run the command Set-SPOBrowserIdleSignOut -Enabled $true –WarnAfter (New-TimeSpan –Seconds <seconds before notifying user>) –SignOutAfter (New-TimeSpan –Seconds <seconds before signing out>)

For the purpose of this post I set a very low timespan (respectively 10 and 15 seconds of inactivity)

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  • One applied, the setting will take place for new sessions only; currently opened session will not get the setting applied.
  • After the timespan for the notification is reached, the user will be notified he is going to be logged out because of long inactivity period

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  • Then once the timespan for log out is reached the user is automatically logged out and user will have to sign in again

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You can change the timespans by re running the command Set-SPOBrowserIdleSignOut -Enabled $true -WarnAfter (New-TimeSpan –Seconds <new value>) -SignOutAfter (New-TimeSpan –Seconds <new value>). If you do not include the –Enabled parameter you will be asked for the value ($true – or $false but as you want to change the timespan it must be true

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or disable it with Set-SPOBrowserIdleSignOut -Enabled $false

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